Surgery is one of those things that can be incredibly terrifying for some folks. Our minds tend to lead us down a path of every possible bad scenario we could go down. Throw in the fact that some surgeries are needed to save a life and the anxiety goes right through the roof. To make things easier, there are ways for you to mentally prepare for your surgery.
One way to combat negative thoughts is to challenge them with new beliefs. Whenever you start to go down the scary road of worst-case scenarios, take a deep breath. Envision yourself on the operating table underneath a circle of knowledgeable and capable doctors and nurses surrounded by bright surgical lights helping guide them through the surgery. The mood is calm and focused. The more that you focus on creating a scenario that is easier for you to handle, you can go into anesthesia relaxing a little more than you would have without the practice. As a matter of fact, using visualization all the way up until you are receiving anesthesia is a fantastic idea to keep your anxiety managed. Practicing ahead of time, at every chance you get, is an excellent way to train your brain into making it a habit.
Talk It Out
Another fabulous way to combat anxiety is by talking about your fears. This could be with your doctor, a family member, or close friend. Be careful and choose someone who can listen to what you are saying and remain calm themselves. Sometimes close family (think spouse, parent, or children) can react badly to hearing of your own fears and are unable to be supportive at that moment. If that is happening to you, consider reaching out to a therapist to help you process how you are feeling. Anxiety can build up when we don’t talk about our fears and vocalizing them is the beginning of developing a healthy habit of ridding ourselves of anxiety.
Whenever anxiety sets in, our bodies tend to tense up and lead us into a panic attack. Regardless if you have been having panic attacks or not, now is a great time to practice breathing exercises to stave off panic attacks. Whenever a dark thought about the surgery enters your mind, taking the time to focus on slow and rhythmic breathing keeps the thought from embedding into the brain and moves on. Meanwhile, you keep your composure and acknowledge the thought as nothing more than a thought. Practicing outside of anxious moments help make it easier to handle actual anxious moments when they pop up.
When we first learn about the impending surgery, we tend to react with a lot of emotions and may miss some key points about the procedure. That is a normal human response. The best thing you can do is sit down with the doctor at a later time and ask questions about the surgery. Make a list of what you want to know and take it with you. The more that you learn, the more you can combat negative beliefs that you may have about the surgery.
Focus On Something Else
Sometimes you can do all the above and you are still faced with intense stress about the impending surgery. This is a great time to redirect yourself and focus on something else. You can plan for your recovery and set up visitation hours, who is going to make meals, and who is going to walk the dog. Or get lost in a hobby for a little bit.
Surgeries have come a long way and tend to be more successful than they were in the past, but naturally, we worry about our own survival. By using the tricks above, it will help you be fully prepared and ready to go come time for the surgery.
Have you or a loved one had surgery?
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