It’s estimated over 95% of people worldwide have some form of health problem. From both mental and physical illness, it’s almost guaranteed you or someone you know will be affected by some form of health concern at least once during your lifetime.

However, whilst the majority of health problems are relatively minor and can be easily managed with the right care and medication, there are plenty that are considered to be major crises. For example, it’s estimated over 1.6 million people in the US alone were diagnosed with cancer last year, with almost half of them expected to die from the disease.

Whilst many cases of cancer (and other major health concerns) are diagnosed early, there are millions of cases in which it comes completely out of the blue. Without warning, your life could be catapulted into a state of health crisis, and it can be extremely difficult to handle it if you’re not prepared.

So, if you’ve suddenly received a major health diagnosis or simply want to learn some coping mechanisms to be prepared for anything that may arise in the future, here are some top tips to handle serious health problems and stay as positive as possible!

Health Crisis - be positive

Realize you’re not alone

When faced with a sudden health diagnosis that has the potential to turn your life upside down, it’s very easy to feel isolated and alone, thinking absolutely no one in the entire world will understand what you’re going through.

Whilst every individual case will be different, it’s crucial to remember that there will be thousands, if not millions, of people worldwide going through the same health crisis as you, and it’s likely they’ll be a great support system to help you cope.

Getting online is a great way to connect with other like-minded people in a similar situation to you. Not only will you get to speak to others who really understand what you’re experiencing, you’ll also likely receive tips and methods to help manage your disease or condition in the most appropriate way. In fact, you may even make some new friends which is a definite bonus!

To emphasize the power and support online groups can provide, take a look at these breast cancer stories written by real people simply to share their experience with others.

Keep a journal

Whilst this may not immediately come to mind as a coping mechanism, writing a journal whilst going through a health crisis is a simple yet extremely effective method of tracking your thoughts and emotions.

In addition to physical symptoms, health problems will inevitably have an effect on your emotions too. So, in order to cope with them and understand exactly how you’re processing the diagnosis, keeping a daily journal will significantly help you come to terms with how you’re feeling both physically and mentally.

It’s also a great way to keep track of your symptoms too, vital for detailing the progress of your disease and monitoring how your body is responding to any treatments you may be receiving.

Take care of yourself

A health crisis will often involve multiple trips to the hospital for tests and examination. Whilst this is crucial for the management of virtually any health problem, it’s important to take yourself away from the hospital mindset and have some ‘me time’.

If at any point you feel things are getting too overwhelming and intense on the medical side, arranging something like a spa day is ideal for winding down and giving your body and mind some much-needed TLC. But, if this isn’t possible, simply having a bubble bath with candles and relaxing music is a simple way to pamper yourself whilst keeping close to home and your loved ones.

Stay positive

After receiving a life-changing diagnosis, it’s completely natural to feel like your life may be coming to an end. Whilst it’s normal to feel this way, this kind of negativity won’t help in the long-run.

Staying upbeat and keeping a positive mindset is often much easier said than done. But, if you sit back and appreciate everything you’ve done in your life and the little every-day things we so often take for granted, gratitude will follow and you’ll soon find your initial negativity melting away and being replaced by wanting to enjoy your life to the full whilst you still can.

Handling a major health crisis is tough, and anyone who thinks otherwise is probably kidding themselves. But, whilst it will be challenging, there’s no reason you can’t manage and handle it with positivity and continue to love both your life and yourself.

Melissa Sakow is the Communications Director at SHARE Cancer Support, a non-profit organization founded in 1976 that is dedicated to building a network and community for women affected by breast and ovarian cancer.

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