When my son was fighting cancer, it took all of my self-management skills to stay focused, calm and reasonable in how I dealt with the experience. 

Anxiety is normal

Anxiety is a natural response to uncertainty and potential danger. It can help us prepare for challenging situations and cope with stress. However, sometimes anxiety can become overwhelming and interfere with our daily functioning. This can happen when we face a real threat, such as an upcoming medical procedure.

If you are feeling anxious about a medical procedure, you are not alone. Many people experience fear and worry before undergoing surgery, tests, or treatments.

This is normal and understandable, as you may have concerns about the outcome, the risks, the pain, or the recovery.

However, excessive anxiety can also have negative effects on your health and well-being. It can impair your immune system, increase your blood pressure, affect your sleep quality, and reduce your ability to cope.

Therefore, it is important to manage your anxiety and find ways to calm yourself before and during the procedure.

Feel in Control

One of the key factors that can help you reduce your anxiety is to feel in control. Research has shown that having a sense of control can empower people during challenging or traumatic times.

It can also enhance their resilience and recovery.

To gain a sense of control, you need to reframe the experience as your own choice. In fact, you could refuse to undergo the procedure and face the consequences. But it’s your choice to go on with it. You have weighed the pros and cons, and you have decided that the benefits outweigh the costs.

You have chosen to take care of your health and improve your quality of life.

So, every time you feel anxious, remind yourself why you’ve chosen to undergo the procedure. Think of the positive outcomes that you expect, such as relief, healing, or prevention.

Focus on the reasons that motivate you, such as your family, your goals, or your values.

Relaxation Techniques

Another way to manage your anxiety is to use relaxation techniques. These are simple and effective methods that can help you lower your stress levels and calm your nervous system. Some of the most common relaxation techniques are:

  • Deep breathing: This involves taking slow and deep breaths, filling your lungs with air and exhaling slowly. You can do this anytime and anywhere, especially when you feel tense or nervous. Deep breathing can help you relax your muscles, lower your heart rate, and clear your mind.
  • Exercise: This involves engaging in physical activity that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat. Exercise can help you release endorphins, which are natural chemicals that make you feel good. It can also distract you from your worries and improve your mood. If possible, choose an aerobic exercise, such as running, cycling, or swimming, as these can have more benefits for your anxiety.
  • Distraction: This involves diverting your attention from your anxious thoughts and focusing on something else. You can distract yourself by getting busy with a task, a hobby, or a game. You can also listen to music, watch a movie, or read a book. Distraction can help you break the cycle of negative thinking and reduce your anxiety.

These are some of the ways that you can cope with your anxiety over a real situation, such as a medical procedure.

Remember that anxiety is normal and manageable, and that you have the power to control your response.

By reframing the experience, using relaxation techniques, and seeking support, you can overcome your anxiety and face the procedure with confidence and courage.

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