Are you one of the millions of people with iatrophobia? If you don’t know what iatrophobia is, it’s a fear of doctors and going to the doctor. You stress when you have to make an appointment. Maybe you even cancel the appointment, and then have to call back a few days or a week later to reschedule. This fear is common, but you can master it. Here are a few tips to help you calm down before your next visit to the doctor.
Meditation is a great way to relax your body. By tuning out the rest of the world, and just focusing on yourself, you can center your mind and your body. Find someplace quiet and comfortable, and close your eyes so you have fewer distractions. Then concentrate on your breathing. You don’t have to meditate for a long period of time—a few minutes will suffice—but when you’re done, you’ll feel calmer and more relaxed. Make sure that you find a relaxation technique that is right for you.
Visualize the Positive
It can be difficult to think positively when you have an impending doctor’s visit. After all, you don’t know how it will turn out. But negative thinking will add to your stress, making you panic even more. So stop thinking about all the things that could go dreadfully wrong during your appointment, and envision positive things. If your mind wanders off to a vision of being wheeled away by an ambulance, bring it back to something positive—like that ambulance is an undercover way of bringing you to the mayor’s office where you have a million dollar check waiting for you (improbable scenario, but the point is to be positive).
Stop Drinking Water Before
It’s a little-known fact that water affects your blood pressure, causing it to rise. It’s not a large increase—water, after all, is the healthiest thing you can ingest—but it does increase your blood pressure. When you’re about to visit a doctor, you want to do whatever you can do naturally lower your blood pressure, because the stress and worry associated with doctor’s appointments are already making your blood pressure rise. So stop drinking water temporarily, just a few hours before your appointment. It’ll help lower your blood pressure, and every little bit helps.
Focus on a Task
When you’re in the waiting room, the worst thing for your stress level is to just sit there, waiting for your name to be called. Bring something to distract you. It could be a good book, or maybe it’s a crossword puzzle. If you like Sudoku’s, you could bring a book of puzzles. Whatever you bring, make sure it is something you can focus all of your attention on, because then the time in the waiting room will fly by. Before you know it, your name will be called, and you won’t have spent all that time panicking.
Having a fear of doctor’s offices is a common phobia, but don’t let that fear conquer you. By using these tips, you can make your next doctor’s appointment pass without hitting high stress levels.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. He occasionally consults for medical businesses like NovaRad, and his interests range all over the medical field, from diabetes research to radiology pacs. Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch.
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