Looking after your emotional wellbeing is very important. Anxiety around surgery is understandable as no-one knows what the outcome will be from their operations. There are ways to manage anxiety and stress so that you feel better. I personally have found the worry in the run up to an operation is worse than the recovery.
If you are feeling stressed, have a read of the top tips below.
Pick one or two to explore further and put into practice. You may find that a combination of different strategies works best.
Be Kind To Yourself!
It is acceptable to say to your worries that they have a point – that you are going through a stressful time. Practice acceptance. It might be helpful to talk to a friend about your worries and concerns. Sometimes setting a time limit for worrying can be helpful way to move forward. Don’t resist having a cry if you feel like it, it is your bodies way of releasing all your emotions.
Write down your concerns and questions and find out the answers. Talk to your surgeon, read the information sheets on the website or ask other patient experts for their thoughts. Read patient stories on the website. If you have a plan for the worst outcome you will feel prepared. At the same time understand that the serious complications are rare.
Have an Emotional Plan
A practical plan is all well and good, but sometimes we forget to look after our wellbeing. Make a list of activities you could do to nurture yourself such as preparing a healthy meal, or having an early night. For an excellent guide to emotional planning take a look at the website from Advanced Life Skills.
Although distraction can be useful, the worries will return if you haven’t managed them. However for a short reprieve from your worries find something to fully engage yourself such as a good book or Sudoku puzzle.
How we breathe affects how we feel. We often breathe in a shallow way when we are stressed. To make your breathing longer, concentrate on getting your breathe out as long as you can to the point that there is absolutely no air left in your lungs. This will force a nice big in breathe. People report feeling calming and more in control once they have control over their breathing. To improve your breathing have a look at this article from Anxiety Coach.
It is well known that the mind and body are connected. When we are worried that often manifests itself in our bodies. We tense up which makes us feel worse. Find details of simple relaxation techniques from self massage to visualisation, as well as progressive muscle relaxation techniques.
Mindfulness is a simple technique to be in the current moment, rather than worrying about the future or thinking about the past. Although it is simple it is extremely powerful and can help you to feel calmer and happier. Get Self Help have produced a simple guide to mindfulness.
This is now an accepted way of controlling your mind. It is easy and effective and is as simple as breathing with awareness. If you want to learn more about meditation, download a free audio guide, sit back and enjoy.
Emotional Freedom Technique
This is an incredibly simple technique which almost defies belief. The act of tapping on your body dissipates the emotions you are feeling and leaves you feeling centered and in control. It is an evidence based technique that is now being used by some mental health services in the UK. For a you-tube video you can follow along with click here.
Getting your body moving and doing something you enjoy are great ways of releasing natural feel good endorphins into our bodies. Doing your favourite sport, or trying something new, works as a distraction to your problems and will also make you feel better for a longer period of time. What are you waiting for? Put on those trainers and have some free endorphins.
It is important to look after yourself, but sometimes we forget this with our over flowing “to do” lists. Pick a number between 1 and 103 and visit the website from Kate Swift to find some inspiration and fantastic advice.
The practice of being grateful has been shown to change our mindset and make us feel better about our current situation. Some people find a daily practice of being grateful to be most beneficial. If you can’t find five things you are grateful for right now, lower your expectations until you can find a sense of gratitude. Unstuck.com have come up with 9 tips to unblock your gratitude.
Seek Medical Help
If you feel your anxiety is getting out of control speak to you doctor for advice.
Download a free emotional resilience toolkit from a UK mental health organisation.