Fresh Living

No_worries_spare.jpgLast week I wrote about how to prepare for scary medical tests as I personally ramped up for my annual CT scan that makes sure I am still free and clear of the cancer stuff. But now that I’m in the foot-tapping, knee-jiggling, and nail-flicking stage, I realized I left out a crucial part of getting tests–waiting for the results!

The stress, the nerves, the disaster scenarios playing in iMax 3D in my head, You know the drill, whether the tests are your own or someone else’s. Even though the last time I saw him, my doctor lovingly said, “You’ve become boring to me” (no more calming words can you hear from your oncologist), still, I am an expert worrier.

Here are a few quick thoughts (in my state I am not capable of many more–thanks to Holly for her fine assistance) on how you and I might calm ourselves while waiting for potentially life-altering (but probably fine) test results:

 1) Press ‘Pause’

When you catch yourself visualizing the worst, say “Stop” or picture a giant red “stop” sign. Or literally see yourself holding a remote and hit “pause,” freezing the screen and moving on to the next thoughts. 

2) Schedule Worry Time

Your fretting needs an outlet, though. So make a 10-minute appointment with yourself and let yourself worry away. Think the negative thoughts. But then when your timer goes off (and set one), you’re done with those bad loops until the next apointment.

3) Talk About It with a Good Listener

Say, “I’m worried” to a friend who will not brush off your concerns with an “It’ll be fine.” My ex was great at this. He’d just say, “I know,” and squeeze my hand. Tell people this is what you need.

4)  Avoid Online ‘Research’

Right now the Internet is not your friend and you–or your beloveds–are not statistics. Those numbers measure averages of large groups of people, not individuals. Statistics do not factor in your genetics, your lifestyle, your body. So leave them alone at least until you have more information.

5) Find an Outlet

Get rid of that nervous energy somehow, preferably with something physical–jog, journal, crochet, clean.

6) Visualize the Ideal

Close your eyes and see the dotor smiling and telling you everything is OK. You will flood your body with calming chemicals–to our brains mentally seeing something and actually seeing something has an almost identical neurological and physicological effect.

7) Distract Yourself

It’s not very yogic of me to say, but sometimes consciously deciding not to be 100 percent present is what’s most helpful. Not self-distraction by completely numbing out with food or alcohol, but by really getting into American Idol, planning a vacation, working on a home project–or, um, blogging about how not to worry….

8) Be Nice

Give yourself a little extra wiggle room. Right before a result you may not be producing at top speed, or you might be a little forgetful, or not getting back to friends right away. It’s ok. All good in the hood.

9) Bring a Talisman to Your Appointment  

 I have a mini stuffed animal who travels with me to these things (er, I mean a cool-ass rock…ok, fine, a mini stuffed animal), but you could have a rock or a crystal or a medallion, anything you can focus on that gives you loving energy.

Now, go, and good luck!

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