Skip to content

Heart Failure Health Center

Font Size

Heart Failure - Coping With Your Feelings

Heart failure brings big changes to your life. You may struggle with sadness and worry. You may wonder if you'll still be able to enjoy your life. Coping with your feelings and seeking help when you need it can help you live better with heart failure.

Depression and anxiety

Heart failure can be hard on your emotions. You may feel depressed that you can't do some of the things you used to do. You may worry about your future. And symptoms of heart failure, such as shortness of breath, can make this anxiety worse.

These feelings are common. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of depression or are worried a lot. Depression and anxiety can be treated with counseling and medicine.

You also can help yourself feel better by changing your "self-talk." Those are the things you tell yourself about how you're coping. Negative thoughts can make you feel bad. Changing the way you think can change the way you feel.

actionset.gif Anxiety: Stop Negative Thoughts
actionset.gif Depression: Stop Negative Thoughts
actionset.gif Stop Negative Thoughts: Getting Started


One Woman's Story:

Joan, 54

"I would sit at my kitchen table and feel I was in this cloud of dread. I didn't feel like me. I felt like, 'I'm never going to be me again.' "—Joan

Read about how Joan got help for depression and anxiety.

For more information, see:


The challenges of living with heart failure can increase your stress. And stress can make living with heart failure even harder. Stress also can disturb your sleep and make depression and anxiety worse. Explore ways to relax and manage stress to help your body, mind, and spirit.

actionset.gif Stress Management: Doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation
actionset.gif Stress Management: Managing Your Time
actionset.gif Stress Management: Reducing Stress by Being Assertive
actionset.gif Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation
actionset.gif Stress Management: Doing Guided Imagery to Relax
actionset.gif Stress Management: Doing Meditation
actionset.gif Stress Management: Practicing Yoga to Relax

Getting support

Emotional support from friends and family can help you cope with the struggles of heart failure. You might want to think about joining a heart failure support group. Ask your doctor about the types of support that are available where you live.

Meeting other people with the same problems can help you know you're not alone. If you're shy or aren't a joiner, you can look at an online support group. Even though people online aren't talking face-to-face, they're sharing their feelings and creating a community.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Compressed heart
    Salt Shockers
    Inside A Heart Attack
    lowering blood pressure

    Mechanical Heart
    Omega 3 Overview Slideshow
    Atrial Fibrillation Guide
    Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol

    Compressed heart
    FAQ Heart Failure
    Cholesterol Confusion
    Health Check
    Resolved To Quit Smoking

    WebMD Special Sections