If you hate needles, you’re not alone! Unfortunately, it’s a fear you must face if you want to stay healthy. Start by engaging with your fear and learning some coping techniques. Then, once you get to the doctor’s office, take some steps to reduce your fear.
Things that can help:
Step 1: Work on changing your mindset:
Often, the best way to get started in overcoming any fear is to try to change how you think about that thing. For instance, thinking, “Needles are the worst,” or “I’m terrified of needles,” only reemphasizes that fact for you. Instead, say things like, “A needle might hurt a bit, but it protects my health.”
Step 2: Write down situations that make you afraid:
For some people, even seeing a picture of a needle can make them shudder. Write down the situations that make you quiver when it comes to needles, such as seeing a picture of one, watching an injection on television, watching someone else get pricked, and getting an injection yourself. Rank these in order from the situation you’re the least fearful to the situation you’re the most fearful of.
Step 3: Start small:
Begin with the situation you’re the least fearful of. For instance, if pictures of needles bother you the least, try looking up some on the internet. Let your anxiety build up to its peak. Don’t stop looking until you feel your anxiety easing off, as it will eventually do. In some other situations, you might consider including handling needles, hearing someone talk about an injection, or just touching a needle. After you’re done, give yourself a chance to relax.
Step 4: Work up the levels:
Once you’ve worked through one situation, move on to the next. For instance, maybe your next level is seeing someone getting injected with a needle on television. Try watching videos on the internet or a medical show. Practice the same technique of letting your anxiety rise and naturally fall on its own.
Step 5: Breath through it:
One way to cope with anxiety is to learn breathing techniques you can use while having blood drawn or getting an injection. Try closing your eyes, and breathing in through your nose. Take a deep slow breath, and hold it for four counts. Breathe out slowly through your mouth. Repeat four more times. Use this technique several times a day, so you get used to doing it. Then, when you are faced with a needle, you can use it to calm yourself down.
Step 6: Discuss your fear with the phlebotomist, nurse, or doctor:
Don’t hold your fear inside. Instead, talk it out with the person drawing your blood or giving you an injection. It helps them to know because they can try to distract you and make you feel as comfortable as possible. Asking them to count to three before sticking can also help. You can ask for a tinnier needle if it helps to be less painful.
Do you have any question or comment? Do share with us in the comment section.