How to Mentally Prepare Yourself for Surgery



While medical technology has advanced significantly over the past century, going through surgery is still nerve-wracking for many people. Thoughts about what could go wrong in the operating room can be difficult to shake. Even if you understand logically that things will be okay, stress can still get the best of you. Here’s how to mentally prepare yourself for surgery.

Accept Your Anxiety

Fears aren’t stopped by trying to push them away. It’s perfectly normal to feel scared about surgery. When you’re feeling tense, don’t try to snap out of it. Instead, you should just tell yourself that your anxiety is understandable. When we refrain from trying to control our fears, we somewhat miraculously lessen their grip on us. Take a moment to accept and appreciate your fears before surgery.

Learn about Your Surgery

Surgery can seem daunting if you view it in overly-broad terms. While you might not be awake to see what’s going on, you can still calm yourself by learning about the procedure. Whether it’s an appendectomy or open heart surgery, you can benefit from learning about it. Take the time to read or watch videos on the topic. You can also consider speaking to your surgeon beforehand to ask for a detailed overview of what the surgical procedures will entail.

Talk to Someone

You don’t want to keep your fears bottled up. While it might feel better to appear “strong,” your fears are only going to get stronger if you keep them to yourself. Speak to a confidante, like a trusted friend or family member about your anxieties. If you feel uncomfortable speaking to someone you know personally, you should consider seeing a therapist. They will provide you with a judgment-free environment and help you to reach solutions.

Distract Yourself

You might be feeling worked up because you’re focused on the surgery and nothing else. To keep yourself from worrying, find other things to focus on. You can start reading a book, work on a new hobby, or make plans for after the surgery. This will help you to keep your mind in the right place as you prepare for surgery. 

The anticipation of surgery can be stressful, but your fears are not unjustified or uncommon. Allowing yourself to acknowledge your fears and work towards a solution is crucial. By following these tips, you can have a much better experience when it comes time for your surgery.


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