If you are diagnosed with a chronic illness, be it Diabetes or Cancer, a lot of questions start running through your head. You slip into crisis mode. Depending on the condition, your life can come to a standstill. You yearn for freedom from the unexpected and unwelcomed news. No matter how hard you try to convince yourself, you are preoccupied with the challenges that the new-found illness might throw at you.

Here are the top five things that will help you navigate through the diagnosis of an illness and get the best results possible.

1. Interact

From the moment you are told or diagnosed with a chronic illness, your mind is overwhelmed with fear and uncertainty. The result – withdrawing into your own cocoon or even worse, self-pity. “Why me?” For those who are diagnosed with cancer, the first thing that hits them is their imminent mortality that is constantly lurking in the background. Even though we all know that mortality is imminent, we all live by mostly ignoring it as if we are immune to our imminent passing. But those diagnosed with cancer feel their mortality looming around the corner all the time. And those diagnosed with other chronic conditions like Diabetes, Kidney disease, Dialysis patients, Heart disease, Crohns disease also feel overwhelmed. The best way to deal with a diagnosis is to realize that you are not alone.

In the day of Twitter and Facebook, you can find support groups or associations. You will realize that there are so many people who go through many chronic illnesses. Sign up with trusted organizations or professional support groups with structured programs.  They can be empowering and inspiring. But if you become too dependent on the internet for support or incessantly follow forums, then you risk slipping into self-doubt and uncertainty from a lot of negative stories on internet.

2. Education

Learn at least a few basics about your illness. Ignorance breeds fear. Talk to your healthcare provider, doctor, nurse or support staff to learn more about your illness. There are professional organizations you can sign up and receive newsletters or updates to your email that will help educate you about your illness.

3. Regain Control

One of the first things that happen when you learn you have a chronic illness is a sense of loss of control on your life. You feel that you are at the mercy of time and you might begin to slip into depression. To bring back control of your own life, you have to discipline yourself by planning your day-to-day life style. Prioritizing applies to seemingly simple things like organizing your room, house, office. It also includes modifying your physical activity levels, eating habits.

 4. Be mindful

Don’t let your mind takeover your body by over analyzing the condition. The last thing you want to develop is another chronic illness. You don’t want to develop insomnia (sleeplessness) because you are losing sleep from your newly diagnosed diabetes. Understand that no matter what your chronic illness is, having a healthy lifestyle is of paramount importance.

 5. Reach Out and Help

There are plenty of people out there who are struggling to make ends meet. Contribute to those who are in need. Sign up with a charity or community event to lend a helping hand. This will take the focus from endlessly thinking about yourself to helping others who are in a worse situation than you are.

Regardless of the chronic illness, following these five suggestions will maximize your chance of regaining control of your life and rebuilt confidence.