Easing Your Nerves Through Exploration and Change
Learn how to decrease your stress of visiting a doctor or clinic.
You can watch the video or keep reading.
Sometimes we get tired of going to the same clinic and the same hospital and seeing the same facilities and the same medical staff.
In fact, some people never really get used to it – it brings up, what we call, a conditioned response – they will nearly always feel a little anxious when they enter the premises of the hospital, waiting area, and / or treatment area.
Perhaps they associate it with illness, pain, further tests or unpredictable results.
Once again, you have learned that this is because the brain is alerting you to possible danger.
For these reasons, we know that your brain is doing a good job – it is trying to protect you … but the problem is that we can’t always escape or fight our medical appointments and tests.
At these times, we need to bring together all the techniques we have used so far. It can always seem a little harder when you are in the environment directly, but it is worth practicing – try focusing on your breathing, noticing, labelling, being curious and interested right from when you come near the vicinity of the clinic or hospital.
You will be teaching your brain that you are okay; that it is safe to proceed. Your brain will learn from you!
If you are attending for dialysis, aim to choose a small task during the session; hopefully something that brings you calm, peace, reassurance or meaning.
After the task, note down what you did and how it made you feel afterwards.
Sometimes challenging our brain in different ways on each visit to the hospital can reduce the amount of stress that we feel.
One day you might like to do some reading; on another visit, watch something funny; on the next do a puzzle. You are then showing your brain different, comfortable perspectives of the environment you are in.
Here are some examples of things other people like to do when near or at the hospital:
- Listen to something calming, interesting or funny
- Learn something – read something online or from a book
- Create – perhaps draw, write, or work on a hobby
- Connect with others – catch up on messages, write small letters, sit with others
- Relax – sit back and practice all your breathing and calming strategies
- Recite – recitation of religious passages may bring you great comfort
What feels like the most difficult part of going to the hospital for you?
Try doing something at the hospital that you have never done before – note down what it is and then how you feel afterwards.