Hearing bad news -- a loved one has died, you have a disease, you’ve lost your job, etc. -- can feel like getting hit by a truck: the wind gets knocked out of you, you’re completely dismayed, your life has been changed and the whole world now looks different.

Not surprisingly, a study published in the journal Cancer found that all newly diagnosed breast cancer patients experience distress. But more serious than that, close to half of them were so distraught they met criteria for a significant psychiatric disorder, such as major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Clearly, getting really bad news is never easy. Still, you’ve got to go on, you have kids to support, and a life that’s waiting. But how?

Though it may seem impossible, there are steps you can remind yourself of now that, should you ever hear bad news, you can use to help yourself cope and gain a new start in life.

Get Support

It’s easy to feel isolated and alone after hearing bad news, or to get caught up in the details so much so that you stop doing enjoyable things in your life. Make an effort to talk with positive people around you, join support groups, and keep doing the things in life that you enjoy (while canceling those things you do not).

Get Informed

In the case of an illness diagnosis or other similar situation, empower yourself with information. Search the Internet for information about the disease, read stories of survivors, do some research at the library or browse through message boards of others going through a similar tragedy. Feeling like you are doing something is often helpful to soothe anxiety and fears.

Don't Judge Your Feelings

While you may hear well-meaning friends and loved ones telling you to “pick your head up” and “stay strong,” it’s important not to feel bad about any feelings you may be having. It’s completely normal and OK to feel afraid, distraught or alone. As you begin to work through the bad news and its impact on your life, allow yourself to feel every emotion freely and without judgment.

Give Yourself a Break

During tough times, don’t expect to stay perfectly organized or keep up your previous pace. Ask for help when you need it, cancel any obligations that you find to be draining and take care of yourself by eating well, sleeping and exercising. And above all else, don’t be hard on yourself.

Release Negative Emotions and Move Toward Acceptance

No matter what type of emotional trauma you may be facing, such as grief or fear of what’s to come, there are a series of stages most people go through. You may first deny the event or try to ignore it, willing back the life you used to know. Secondly, you may get angry or start to resent the situation, asking “Why me?” You then may start to question things and want to “bargain” your way out of the tough times, and finally end up feeling depressed or abandoned in some way.

While these stages are completely normal, they also keep you from accepting what has happened. Acceptance is emotionally difficult, but it is necessary to allow yourself to move on. When you have accepted the event, you can view it with a sense of calm resignation, rather than the fear, anger or sadness that used to be there.

The scientifically proven Sedona Method is an excellent tool to help you gain acceptance and, even beyond that, move forward with your life. It works by teaching you to release the negative patterns of thought and behavior that often cause us to get stuck in one difficult stage or another. Once you free yourself of these negativities, you will feel more alive and cared for, even in situations that used to remind you of your trauma.
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