5 Tips to Reduce Anxiety While Waiting for Medical Imaging Test Results | Guest Post by Zach Norton

Waiting in limbo for a potentially life-changing result from a medical test is one of the most anxiety-ridden situations you can experience. While it’s perfectly normal to be uneasy, letting your anxiety take control can only make waiting worse. It’s best to try to mitigate your worry during this time, but of course this is easier said than done.

Here are 5 tips that will help you cope with anxiety while you wait for a hopefully good result:

  1. Keep Busy

If you’re sitting at home with your mind unoccupied, it will inevitably wander to your test results, and the worry can run wild. Once your mind moves onto the topic, if you don’t have anything to distract you, your anxiety can reach agonizing levels. The best way to prevent this from happening is to keep yourself busy. Do your chores, stick to your daily routine, go to work if you can, and meet with friends and family.

You can even try something new or finally get around to doing a little spring cleaning. Feeling productive, socializing, and keeping active can boost dopamine, which will help you feel better. Before you know it, hours will have passed, and you’ll be that much closer to getting your result.

  1. Try CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an entirely natural substance found in cannabis plants. It’s legal in many states and it won’t get you high. Don’t confuse CBD with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive substance found in marijuana. CBD is used to help with a wide range of medical issues, one of which is treating anxiety. It comes in a wide range of forms, including FECO oil which is ingested by mouth, making it easy to use. Just place a few drops in your food or directly under your tongue. CBD can also help treat insomnia, which you might be experiencing.

  1. Avoid Doom scrolling

Resist the temptation to Google the things you’re worried about. “Intellectualizing,” or learning all we can about a topic, can help some of us feel better for the moment because it gives us a sense of control — but in the long run it just gives your worrying mind more things to attack you with.

The internet is a wonderful tool, but unfortunately worst-case scenarios often are the first thing you’ll read about. Google Images in particular will show you the worst of the worst, from extreme examples of medical imaging to ways symptoms may present in a small number of cases. There’s no reason to put that in your mind, especially since chances are that won’t be your experience even if the test, you’re worried about doesn’t come back with the result you want.

The word “doomscrolling” has been become popular the past couple years, and it can apply to endlessly clicking on articles and images about the topic you’re concerned about. There are endless rabbit holes on the internet. It’s best to leave the analysis up to the professionals, as you could easily end up worrying about things that aren’t even related to your topic. You may also focus on things that affect only a statistically small percentage of people with a certain symptom or condition.

There is also a lot of incorrect or anecdotal information on the internet, and it can be difficult to differentiate between what’s genuine and what isn’t.

  1. Talk to Your Friends and Family

While it’s best to thinking about your test results too much, bottling up the anxiety surrounding them can be bad for your mental health. And you want to take care of your mental health right now, even if it seems less important. Some people might be reluctant to tell others what they’re going through because they don’t want to worry or bother them. But your friends and family care about you, and if the tables were turned, you’d listen to them.

Set time aside today for a good chat with somebody close to you. Tell them about how you are feeling and your concerns about the future. You aren’t alone, even if right now it may feel that way. Sharing your experience with someone else will help you feel better. And articulating your thoughts verbally and getting them off your chest will help take the edge off some of the ecoanxiety you are facing. You might also find that people close to you can offer input that will help relieve some of your apprehension.

  1. Take Care of Yourself

With so much to worry about, it’s understandable that some people might start paying less attention to their overall well-being. However, this will only make you feel worse and might worsen any medical condition you may have. No matter the state of your physical or mental health, you should do what you can to take care of yourself. If you’re able, go to the gym or go for a run. Taking your pet for a walk or doing some light exercises at home can also help. You don’t need to push yourself hard — any amount of exercise will release endorphins and help you feel better.

Resist the temptation to graze on junk food or eat foods that are bad for you. Have a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. This will lead to a healthier mind, which will help you manage anxiety more effectively. You should also avoid drinking alcohol in excess, because even if it does make you feel better in the short term, you’re likely to feel much worse overall.

      6. Get Your Post-Test Anxiety Under Control

Medical imaging equipment are powerful medical tools that will give you the answers you need. Taking the test in the first place was the initial step, and you’ve done that. Now it’s time to let medical professionals analyze your test and return with the result. If next steps are needed, they will advise you on those. Waiting is stressful and mentally exhausting. It’s out of your control, which can be distressing or comforting in a way. Use the steps above to help you manage anxiety in healthy ways and get to the other side of this waiting period.