How to not be nervous at the doctor (Useful Tips)

In this guide, we will discuss “How to not be nervous at the doctor” and a few tips we share on how to cope with the anxiety you feel when having to visit your Doctor. We will also mention some of the reasons why someone may fear going to the doctor and strategies on how you could get prepared for your appointment.

How to not be nervous at the doctor

If you wonder, ‘How to not be nervous at the doctor’ let us tell you that this is very normal, just as being afraid of going to the dentist. Here are some quick tips on how to deal with your anxiety:

  • Call in to set up an appointment at a good time of the day or week. This means, avoid scheduling an appointment if you know you’ll have a busy day or you’ll be in a rush.
  • Try to bring someone with you for emotional support. Take a friend or a family member.
  • Engage in deep breathing exercises. This type of exercise can be beneficial to help reduce anxiety.
  • Try to change your mindset from a negative perspective of doctors to a new one. Not all doctors are the same even if you have had bad experiences with some of them.
  • Talk to your doctor about your anxiety, they may have a few tips on how to cope with it.
  • Since you are feeling anxious, your vitals may get altered so ask your doctor to take your vitals later.

Why do I feel anxious when going to the doctor?

Many people will prefer doing something else than going to the doctor, even if they are sick. For some of them, going to the doctor is traumatic if they have lived most of their lives going from one doctor to the other if they have had a serious condition most of their lives or probably, they have been having surgery after surgery and they just had enough.

Other people feel going to the doctor makes them feel sick when they are not, even if it is for a regular check-up or they fear they will leave their doctor’s office with bad news. Additionally, some people anticipate that going to the doctor will be painful if they need to get a vaccine or an injection.

Moreover, you may have started to feel sick recently and you are worried but you prefer not to set up an appointment for a check-up so you’d rather just cope with the pain with no pills or injections.

Breaking the cycle

For some people, the fear of the unknown or the uncertainty of not knowing if they have a medical condition or not is enough to associate the fear to their doctors. This cycle can keep going on and on if we don’t attempt to break the cycle. However, it is important to rule out any serious conditions or illness, it is after all for your overall well being. 

Another scenario could be going to the doctor, receiving a diagnosis and not coming back because you fear your options may be limited or hearing your doctor say ‘there is not much we can do’ makes it a very frightening or terrifying experience. We fear we can’t control and sometimes we prefer not knowing. The best thing to do if you have a medical condition and need treatment is to go to your doctor and think clearly about the options you have available.

Take someone for emotional support

Having someone to be there when you have your doctor’s appointment can make a difference. It is not the same going by yourself and having to deal with the stress and anxiety, then having someone to listen to you and help you calm down. 

Additionally, if you are going because you are about to receive the results from previous exams, blood tests, etc., they can be there as emotional support if there is an existing condition you need to treat or the options you may have available.

Accept your anxiety, don’t fight it 

If you fight your anxiety and how you are feeling it will only make things worse. We need to accept we are anxious and see it as part of life, especially during stressful situations such as listening to your doctor’s diagnosis and treatment options (if there were any). Instead, try to focus your nervous energy into some other activity or focus your thoughts on something else such as what you will do once you get out of your doctor’s office or if you have something pending to do.

How to not be nervous at the doctor (Useful Tips)

Try not to google your symptoms

Yes, we have all been there, typing the current symptoms and hitting enter so we can see a bunch of results where there are at least one or two results with the word ‘cancer’ in it. We start to panic and freak out just thinking we might die. Well, we will all die someday but there is no need to rush into the conclusion that we have a life-threatening condition if we haven’t been to the doctor to rule out the options. 

Just as indicated by Wendy Rose Gould from NBC News, “Googling your medical symptoms is a downward, anxiety-fueling spiral, and it’s nearly impossible to get off the ride once you’ve begun. Not only are the most extreme cases documented more frequently than benign cases, but you’re also dealing with confirmation bias.”

Your doctor is not your enemy

Every time I have to go to a doctor’s appointment I remind myself “Doctors are there to help us with our health issues”. Doctors are not your enemies, think of them as allies, determined to keep you healthy by identifying health issues so they won’t go out of control or before it is too late. This is why it is important to talk to your doctor if you have any fears, concerns or questions. This will help you feel more in control over your situation and they may even share some reassuring thoughts and words so you can feel better. 

Find the best date and time for your appointment

If you know there are some days during the week you are super busy then try to set up your appointment for a day and time frame that doesn’t require rushing or having to worry about having to go in and out as fast as possible because you have an important meeting to attend to after. It will also give you time to prepare both mentally and physically for your appointment.

For instance, if you go into work at 8 a.m on a Wednesday and you know there are meetings usually scheduled for 9 a.m then taking the first appointment just because it is the earliest one available will only make you feel nervous if you don’t get to be on time for your meeting.

Why is this blog about How to not be nervous at the doctor important?

As we have discussed while answering the question ‘How not to be nervous at the doctor’, feeling a bit nervous before we go into our appointment is completely normal and it is part of your life. Remember to accept your anxiety instead of fighting it. However, there are things you could do to mitigate your anxiety. Some people just won’t go to the doctor because they fear what they might say. But the idea is to attempt to break the fear cycle.

Additionally, you could bring someone with you if you need emotional support or someone to reassure you. Remember to be honest with your doctor and ask any questions or tell them if you have any concerns, they may even have a few tips to help you manage your anxiety. Finally, avoid going into google and searching for your symptoms because you may not like what you find and you will start dwelling on it, resulting in intense fear of going to your doctor.

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

FAQs: How to not be nervous at the doctor

How can I calm my nerves before going to the doctor?

If you feel nervous before going to the doctor, try bringing a book or put on some relaxing music while you wait for your appointment. However, some substances should be avoided such as coffee, energy drinks, soda and nicotine before your appointment because it can worsen your anxiety symptoms.

How do I stop being scared of doctors?

If you want to stop being scared of doctors, start by consciously thinking they are not the same. Additionally, try bringing a friend or someone you trust with you so you can feel supported and more comfortable when you are having your appointment. If you consider you don’t feel comfortable with your doctor, ask if another doctor is available to attend to your needs.

How do I stop being so nervous?

If you want to stop being so nervous, it is important to understand why you feel nervous and when. Remind yourself that feeling nervous from time to time is normal. Additionally, have a positive mindset to stop dwelling on things that are out of your control

What are doctors most afraid of?

Most doctors tend to report being afraid of failing or failure, and there are good reasons for it. In medicine, stakes are very high and doctors are always under pressure since they usually attend to matters of life and death. They feel they need to make the right call every time they make a decision about a patient’s health but sometimes things are not under their control.

How do I stop white coating anxiety?

If you want to overcome coating anxiety, here are some tips:

– Try to relax when you are feeling anxious or worried. Deep breathing exercises are very useful to help you deal with nerves and anxiety.

– Move to a different area.

– Stress relief exercises. For instance, practice some type of physical activity for stress relief and to boost your mood.

– Change the focus of the conversation.

References

Gould, W.R. (2017, Aug.) The Real Reason That Going to the Doctor Gives You Anxiety. Retrieved from nbcnews.com.

 Garone, S. (2020, Jan.) Feeling Anxious About Seeing the Doctor? 7 Tips That Might Help. Retrieved from healthline.com.

How to not be nervous at the doctor (Useful Tips)

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.