Emotions and feelings

Your emotions, thoughts and behaviours affect your heart condition and the success of your treatment. Managing them  is an important part of your recovery.

Learning to manage your emotions, thoughts and behaviours

Reacting to a diagnosis

It is normal to have feelings like shock, denial, guilt, anger and sadness. Learn what to expect and get useful tips to help you manage.



Sudden intense stress increases the short-term risk of heart attack. Too much stress over a long time can also increase the risk of coronary artery disease.


Anger and hostility

If you experience too much anger it can damage your cardiac health. It is important to strike a balance — to manage your anger and express it in a healthy way, so that you don’t hurt your arteries and heart.


Recognizing and dealing with depression

People with coronary artery disease are at greater risk for having clinical depression. Depression increases the risk of developing heart disease and can even make heart disease worse. Know if you are depressed and get the right treatment.



There appears to be a moderate level of anxiety that is healthy. Anxiety levels that are too low or too high appear to worsen your heart disease.


Sleep problems

Not getting enough sleep can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Many things, including medical conditions, pain and anxiety, can make it difficult to get enough sleep.


When to ask for help

Talk to your healthcare team about any psychological problems. They can help to get you the right mental health services. Asking for help is a sign of courage!


Related information

Karen Narraway’s heart disease was labelled as anxiety and depression slowed her recovery. Read her story.

The Beat: Heart disease, stroke and your mental health (podcast)


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Looking for support?

Find useful services and connect with others living with heart disease or stroke. 
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