For far too many people appointments with a doctor and high level anxiety too often go hand in hand. Anxiety about an upcoming doctor’s appointment can begin weeks even months ahead of the actual date of the doctor’s appointment. The anxiety over a doctor’s appointment can begin as a mildly unpleasant thought or feeling you experience when you call to make an appointment.Initially you may be successful in pushing anxiety over a doctor’s appointment to the back reaches of your mind. But the anxiety builds as the doctor’s appointment draws near and reaches a powerful crescendo as you consider your fate in the waiting room or the examining room and the anxiety becomes almost overwhelming. Short of medication there fortunately are a number of steps you can take to reduce common anxiety experienced prior to a doctor’s appointment.
No matter how worked up you may be about an upcoming doctor’s appointment the first and maybe the best thing you can do to reduce your overall anxiety is to keep your appointment . Common sense tells you that eventually you are going to have to see your physician. While the idea of canceling out of a much dreaded appointment may be extremely tempting and may give you an emotional rush and immediate sense of freedom from fear, the relief is decidedly temporary. Within a few days you will be right back to your anxiety nightmare. In fact your worries are likely to be compounded by the fact that now you will have to worry about calling back to reschedule and will also begin to fear that additional medical issues may arise during the extended time without an appointment. By seeing your doctor at your regularly scheduled appointment time, unless there is a serious and legitimate reason to cancel, you actually can reduce your total worry time and you give yourself a little boost by recognizing that you are fearlessly taking responsibility for you own well being by stepping up for that appointment.
The appointment that you keep will be less anxiety producing if you have been conscientious about the lifestyle you have been observing since your last appointment. If you have been overindulging in rich, salty, sweet, high calorie, fatty foods, ignored your doctors advice about regular exercise, burned the candle at both ends with too much stress and not enough sleep then you have set yourself up for a lot of pre-appointment anxiety. Knowing that there is a strong likelihood that your appointment will not go smoothly and that the bumps in the road are clearly your fault is likely to stampede you into some heavy duty guilt coupled with the very predictable anxiety. This kind of anxiety is easily avoided simply by sticking to the regimen your doctor has suggested for your optimum health. Sure there will be some slips along the way, but if you have committed yourself to improving or maintaining sound health, you will find that not only will you have the physical benefits that a healthy lifestyle can produce, you will also feel much more at ease when that next doctor’s appointment rolls around.
Your relationship with your doctor may also effect your level of pre-appointment anxiety. Certainly a cordial, friendly, longterm relationship will produce greater feelings of comfort than a relationship that is rigid, distant, overly professional and non-communicative. Do you see your doctor as some kind of vague parent figure who is likely to evaluate you, pass judgment on you and somehow punish you for your physical shortcomings? Or worse still do you see your doctor as some type of health-Nazi who is going to confine you to certain kinds of behaviors and totally upend your life? Or perhaps you view your doctor as some type of tool of the pharmaceutical industry who just can’t wait to schedule you for a test or visit a new medication upon you. Maybe you see your doctor as a medical genius who knows so much more about everything than you do that you feel powerless and intimidated. Such counterproductive images of your physician will certainly go a long way to raising your pre-appointment anxiety level.
You can reduce your fear and trepidation about your upcoming appointment by willfully reconstructing your current image of doctors in general or at least your doctor in particular. A good way to begin is to respectfully recognize the real expertise that your doctor does command and then immediately to put that know how in proper perspective. Your medically accomplished physician is someone you have chosen to work for you, In exchange for applying his or her medical skills to your medical needs this trained professional will be paid and paid rather handsomely by you and your insurance company to do a good job. Like your plummer, your electrician, or your grocer your doctor is retained to provide a specific service and you have the right to expect that you will well served and that your needs will be courteously met.
In fact, when you go to see a doctor you have put a good deal of pressure on the doctor. It is his responsibility to help you, serve you, advise you and in general do what it takes to enhance your life. To the degree that the pressure of the appointment is on him the anxiety should be lifted from you. Seeing the doctor as a professional helper who is working with you in a joint effort to keep you healthy can significantly reduce the threatening aura that may surround a doctor’s appointment and reduce the accompanying anxiety that you experience.
You can really take the emotional roller coaster out of an upcoming doctors appointment if you work at putting the appointment in proper perspective. After all you are just one of the many people who will have a doctor’s exam today. Like everyone else the chances are pretty good that you will walk in and in about 30-45 minutes you will walk out. The day will go on, the week will go on, your life will go on. Tomorrow someone else will have an appointment in the same room you are in today, with the same doctor and you will be doing something else. As important as your doctor’s appointment may seem ,putting it in perspective allows you to realize that as a piece of your total life the appointment is very small indeed.
A second way to put your appointment in perspective is to try to see your little appointment in a worldwide context. Of the people in the world today who are facing catastrophic, life threatening situations you are most likely not one. You in fact are not experiencing chronic homelessness, drought, famine or civil war. In fact there are a lot of really good parts of your life, parts that will only be temporarily suspended during your exam. Compared to millions of human beings your life is really quite comfortable and you are quite privileged.
Finally give your anxiety a real run for its money by acknowledging that you really should be very grateful that you have an appointment, that you have a doctor, that you have connection to medical assistance, that efforts will be made by a trained professional to maximize your chances to live a long and healthy life. Now, isn’t that a prospect you can live with?