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Taking the Fear out of Visiting a Friend in the Hospital

28 Oct

Question: 

I struggle with doctors and all things related to hospitals. I get 'angry' tense and stressed just walking into a hospital to visit with someone else. I need to 'get-over-it' do you have a CD that might help this situation?

thanks,
Sara Jane

Answer:

Dear Sara Jane,
Probably you have some scary associations with hospitals from your past which have now taken on a life of their own.  It’s not uncommon.  (And certainly most people have some discomfort or queasiness walking into a hospital anyway – they’re pretty weird places after all, even under the best of circumstances).  

From your description, it sounds like getting angry is a diversion from feeling anxious, and it’s the underlying anxiety that’s primary and needs addressing.

I’ve got a couple of suggestions for you.  First, you might want to train yourself to relax at will, using a guided imagery audio like Relaxation & Wellness.  You could listen to it regularly – once or twice a day - and every time you listen, position your hands over your belly or one hand over your breast bone, so that you develop a conditioned response to relax whenever your hands are placed that way. 

After a week or two – it doesn’t take long - you would have ‘installed’ an automatic relaxation response from your hands being just so.  It’s called an ‘anchor’ in hypnosis.  Then you could enter the hospital using the hand positioning – with or without playing that same imagery in your ear with your portable MP3 or smartphone, and the relaxation you learned at home would be evoked and would very likely trump the anxiety you’d normally feel.  

So that’s one approach.  Another would be to work with one of the tapping protocols.  I like Mary Sise’s DVD for user-friendliness and effectiveness.  After you watch Mary work with several different people on their anxiety-based issues, teaching them how to tap acupoints while making positive statements, she then has you, the viewer, apply what you’ve been watching to your own situation.  

It may look a little odd or hokey to you, but it works for most people most of the time, so, really, who cares?  That’s my position, anyway.  

So I’d give one or both of those approaches a try.  I hope it helps and you can do your visiting with an open heart and a peaceful mind, the way you want to.

All best,
Belleruth

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award