Surgery is an extraordinary and potentially stressful event for which you need to mentally prepare yourself. After all, any surgical intervention almost always involves a certain degree of nervousness. This varies, depending on the type of operation, the risks, the situation, or the coping strategies in place.
Unsurprisingly, most people experience anxiety before any intervention of this type. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate anxiety, it’s possible to significantly reduce it and better cope with it. That’s why it’s so important to prepare yourself mentally for surgery.
Actually, you don’t have to do anything elaborate. It’s enough to adopt some healthy routines before the surgery and make use of certain relaxation techniques which can be really useful. So let’s find out how to mentally prepare yourself for surgery.
“Only the doctor and the playwright enjoy the rare privilege of collecting the discomfort they give us.”
-Santiago Ramon y Cajal-
Your body first
Together, mind and body make up an indivisible unit. In talking about preparing you mentally for surgery, we’re going to start with your body. If your doctor allows it, don’t give up physical activity in the days before your surgery. The fact that your body is used to responding to certain physical stress can really help in your recovery.
For the same reasons, you should also try to take extra care of your diet. Eliminate fats and reduce flour and sugar. Focus your diet on proteins, fruits, and vegetables. Increase your intake of foods that contain iron, such as liver, legumes, meat, and tofu. Also, makes sure you consume a great deal of vitamin C by drinking natural juices. Ideally, you should have a nutritionist help you.
Mentally preparing for surgery: emotions
One essential aspect in preparing for surgery is clearing up any doubts you might have with your doctor. Try not to leave any questions out, and don’t settle for answers that are vague or that you don’t understand. Being well-informed about the procedure will help you increase your feelings of control.
This is also a good time to practice some relaxation techniques. You can start with basic breath control, practice yoga, or just take a leisurely walk. Also, visit green spaces, as they’re really calming.
The most relaxing song in the world
Music plays a determining role in our emotional well-being and relaxation, as many studies have indicated. More particularly, regarding surgery, an investigation was conducted by the University of Pennsylvania (USA) and published in the BMJ Journal.
157 patients were given the option of receiving the sedative midazolam or listening to the song, Weightless, by the British band Marconi Union, while a part of their body was anesthetized. In both cases, their levels of anxiety were reduced in the same proportions, with the advantage that those who listened to the song didn’t have to take medication.
Three healthy practices
Another way to prepare yourself mentally for surgery is to do three simple relaxation practices. They can be used before, during, or after surgery. The first of these is breathing meditation. It consists of taking deep breaths in and out, keeping the mind focused only on the flow of air.
The second is the body scan. It consists of reviewing the body, or an area of it, focusing exclusively on detecting the sensations that occur there. There’s no need to judge them or try to interpret them, but simply to detect and perceive them.
The third is anxiety and fear meditation. It consists of concentrating, while breathing slowly, on the emotions of anxiety and fear. Try to identify how they manifest, without trying to fight them. The goal is to accept these emotions as a natural part of this process and learn how to calmly witness your anxiety.
Prepare everything in advance
Try to have everything ready the day before your surgery, especially if you’re going to need some special care during your recovery. In addition to blocking the tension that can be generated by the appearance of certain unforeseen events, with this mental preparation it’s almost as if you were already beginning recovery. That’s how positive this process can be on your state of mind.
Work out who’s going to go with you, how you’re going to get to the clinic, what clothes you’ll wear, what you need to bring, etc. Likewise, work out who’s going to pick you up afterward, and how you need to arrange things in your house so that you’re comfortable on your return.
It’s a tense moment and, therefore, it’s not advisable to make important decisions that aren’t necessary right now. This isn’t the time to experiment either. Put on your safety goggles: those in which you know you’ll be protected.
Preparing yourself mentally for surgery is well worth it. In fact, it’ll help everything run more smoothly. Give lots of hugs to the people you love, accept the affection they offer you, and believe that your surgery will make a contribution to you feeling better.
The post How to Mentally Prepare Yourself for Surgery appeared first on Exploring your mind.