Published on October 10, 2023

Getting Over the Fear & Anxiety of Health Checkups

One of the worst things you can ever do should you suspect a health condition is to avoid addressing it. Yet for many people, that is the first step undertaken, or rather, the absence of any first step at all.

In some cases, we hope this might play out in our favor. If you wake up with a relatively sharp pain in your side, you might justify that you slept at a funny angle, that you ate a little too much last night, or perhaps this is just a natural cramp you were bound to feel now you’ve gotten a little older.

While it’s true that visiting the hospital for every mild concern isn’t a good idea, visiting your GP should a problem be persistent, and worrying usually is. Yet visiting a health professional can be anxiety-inducing for some people, not solely because a clinical environment is seldom a comforting space, but also it makes the possibility of a real diagnosis present and real, which can be hard to accept for some.

In this post, we’ll discuss how to properly get over the fear and anxiety of health checkups. With this approach, we hope you can correctly find a healthier path forward:

Understand The Fear

Understanding how your anxiety operates is much better than fighting it, because then you can let it wash over you and move forward with confidence. That’s not to say you can rationalize your way through anxiety so easy in the moment, but over time knowing certain truths will help you avoid catastrophizing. For example, learning these hearing aid myths can help you avoid feeling unnerved about having them fitted for the first time.

Maybe you’ve had a less-than-pleasant medical encounter before. Whether it was discomfort, pain, or a diagnosis that knocked the wind out of you, those memories can stick around, feeding into your anxiety. Remember that even those scary times were ultimately for your benefit, to be healthier and health more readily.

Some folks get jittery about specific procedures too. Needles, confined spaces, or even just general discomfort can make even the bravest souls a teeny bit anxious. And let’s not forget about the vulnerability factor. Sharing intimate details about your health and lifestyle can leave you feeling pretty exposed. So, talk through your worries with your doctor ahead of time, and they won’t mind making accommodations for you within reason.

Make A Simple Strategy To Fight The Anxiety

Mindfulness and relaxation techniques are your secret weapons. Before and during your appointment, try some deep breathing exercises or meditation to keep those anxiety levels in check. It’s all about finding your sense of balance and composure. Going in with a friend can help too, and your health professional will usually be happy to accommodate that.

It’s also important to consider positive self-talk. You’re likely familiar with those nagging negative thoughts, but you can show them the door. Remind yourself that health checkups are all about prevention and early detection, and ultimately, you’ll be better off and a healthier version of yourself. Catching things early often leads to better outcomes later on down the line. So, think of it as a smart move for your future self, and have something to look forward to, like buying yourself some freshly baked pastries after the visit.

Remember, Having Anxiety Doesn’t Make You Inferior

One of the most pernicious lies told to us by our anxiety is that we’re all alone in it. That we’re uniquely silly, irrational, and inconvenient to others for having these worries. But believe it or not, even people you might consider to be so much more experienced and worldly than you have anxieties too, and sometimes those similar to yours.

In fact, it’s so common that practically every medical professional you speak to will have dealt with cases worse than yours while trying to offer their treatment. So being candid about your feelings instead of hiding them away and chastising yourself for feeling as you do can only make the problem worse.

There’s a real sense of pride that comes when you act in spite of your anxiety, even though it can be tough. Just take one step in front of the other, and with exposure, the anxiety dissipates. Before long you start forgetting what it felt like to be so worried about health checkups in the first place.

With this advice, you’re sure to get over the fear and anxiety of health checkups, but don’t be afraid to seek further support if you think you need it.

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