When faced with a cancer diagnosis, it can seem sometimes that we don't have any control over what we think or how we feel. But there are a few simple things you can do to help.



One of the best websites we’ve found is provided by the UK charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

The website is called Teen Info on Cancer - check it out.

It’s set up especially for mātātahi (young people) with cancer and has a lot of really useful information and ways for you to connect with others who are going through cancer too. Even though it’s based in the UK, and some treatment plans may vary, the experience of going through cancer is one that we can all understand, no matter where we live. 

Stretch it out

Exercise is not only good for your physical health, but also your mental health.

Scientists have discovered that exercise makes your brain release feel good chemicals- the same ones used to treat depression.

What does this mean? Quite simply, exercise is as good as antidepressants in managing and treating mild depression. So if you are feeling well enough, it is good to get moving.



Good food is good for your mood. There is increasing evidence that what we eat affects our mood and is known as the ‘food – mood’ connection. When you are going through treatment for cancer yourself, it can be really hard to eat, so try and nourish yourself as best you can.

Doing Good Feels Good

Doing good feels good. Scientists have shown that helping other people makes us happy. Research suggests that people who volunteer for causes they care about tend to be happier and healthier.

Helping others does not have to take up much of your time. It can be as simple as sharing your tips and experiences with others who are having a hard time on our online community or volunteering for a cause close to your heart.

Believe in Yourself

Self-esteem is how you think about yourself and the opinion you have of yourself.

Self-esteem can just be down to your own temperament, but sometimes life experiences can have an impact too.

Low self-esteem can be the cause of quite a few problems. You feel bad about yourself, so you get depressed, which makes you feel even worse about yourself, so you get more depressed and it can be difficult to break that cycle. It is important to tackle low self-esteem to boost positive thinking and positive mental wellbeing.

Believe in yourself

A guide to Selfesteem

To change your beliefs, you have to understand your negative thoughts. Think about what your negative beliefs are and when you started to feel like this.

Once you have identified the negative beliefs

Gather evidence to challenge this and write them down so you have a list as evidence when you are feeling down. For example, if you feel you are unattractive, note it down when you receive a compliment from someone that says you look pretty or they like your new haircut.

Positive thinking exercises

Write down the things you like about yourself. Think about your best feature; things you have achieved; nice things you have done for other people; skills and talents that you or others have noticed and write all these positive things down. This is good to look back on when you are having a bad day or when you are nervous about something.

Friends and family

Look at the people you have around you and think about how they make you feel. If you are spending a lot of time with someone who makes you feel rubbish, then spend a bit less time with them and more time with people who make you feel good about yourself.

Take up a hobby

Set yourself a goal or challenge, such as a charity walk or run