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Managing emotions

Introduction to Managing Emotions section

The aim of this section is to introduce ways you can help to support your emotions, and to signpost you to further online resources and organisations who can help. Talking to others is an important part of dealing with your emotions, and this includes talking to your family members and friends, professionals and volunteers outside your family and also meeting other patients for peer support.

Our message is to include a plan to look after your emotions as you go through your cancer journey and to be aware of your emotions and how they change.

How can you take care of your emotional wellbeing?

There are various techniques you can try to take care of your emotional wellbeing. Below are some suggestions for you, which can be adapted as you go through your cancer journey:

Breathing/relaxation exercises

You can try some relaxation and breathing exercises such as these from the Kirklees Wellness Service or from NHS Scotland.

Focus on the present moment and try Mindfulness –a technique to manage thoughts and feeling

Here are some mindfulness videos by one of our Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust Hospital Mindfulness practitioner, Prasadu Prasadu.

Introduction to mindfulness

Mindfulness of breathing

Mindfulness of physical sensations

Mindfulness of the mind

Nourishing/depleting activities

Make a list of those things in your life that you enjoy doing, things which nourish and enrich you, and a list of things that deplete you. Try to add an extra nourishing activity into your day and reduce the depleting things you do.

Goals and expectations

Set small and obtainable goals for yourself such as going out for a walk. Think about manageable tasks, which can be achieved now rather than complex goals  for the future.

Talking to others

Talking is a very important part of managing your emotions and includes talking to family and friends but also those outside of your immediate situation. Many cancer patients and relatives say they wish they had talked to people sooner, rather than letting their emotions build up.

Show self-care; self-compassion; think about what would a compassionate friend say to you now. 

Pace yourself – think about planning some rest amidst your busyness.

Try to find things to be grateful for – gratitude can help your wellbeing. 

Resources to manage your emotions

Below are some links to resources which may be helpful to you as you think about supporting and managing your emotions.

Resources and tips to manage your emotions on the Macmillan website

Top Tips to improve your mental wellbeing from ‘NHS One You: Every Mind Matters’

This also includes information about sleep, stress, anxiety and low mood. Click here to sign up to receive your own mental wellbeing plan.

The website MIND has lots of useful information about coping with staying at home and looking after your mental health during the coronavirus to access click here

You can also download some apps and read books which help with relaxation, breathing, meditation etc. Some of these are free and some have a cost:

You could try the Daylight NHS App (developed by Big Health) click here to access.

Daylight is a smartphone-based app that provides help to people experiencing symptoms of worry and anxiety, using evidence-based cognitive behavioural techniques, voice and animation.

Images of various apps to use to manage emotions

People and Services to Support Your Emotions

Macmillan Information Service –provides a listening ear and emotional support for patients and carers/family members 

CNS support – your clinical nurse specialist is trained to provide emotional support

Support groups through the Macmillan Information Service providing peer support through the  Macmillan Coffee Time/Singing Group/Walking Groups.

Other local and regional support groups provide key peer support. e.g. bowel/blood cancer/upper GI support groups.

If you do notice difficulties, especially if it affects your ability to carry out normal activities - you may want to consider a referral for talking therapies. The cancer psychology service offers short or longer term psychological support according to what you may need. If you’re unsure, speak to a staff member, they can advise and refer if they think this service would be helpful for you.


If you have have a question for the First Steps team please submit it on the form below

Please note, if your question needs an urgent response you should contact your clinical team directly.


Question for First Steps Team

The First Steps team aim to respond to your question within a few days. Please bear in mind the information team's working days are Monday to Friday. Any questions submitted may be used anonymously as part of the frequently asked question section of the First Steps website.