If you’re someone who has a phobia of blood or needles, getting a blood test can become a challenge for you. The minutes you spend with the nurse who is getting your blood can become a lifetime in your own perspective. But since a blood test is one of the most basic requirements when you’re applying for a job or undergoing your annual checkup, you should learn how to reduce your fear of getting a blood test. Conquering this fear might not happen overnight, but with determination and patience, it can always be done.
There are actually several ways on how you can reduce your fear of getting a blood test. You can learn more strategies once you use books, visit reputable websites, and ask for recommendations from your friends and family. To help make this journey easier and faster for you, follow the tips listed below to help you reduce your fear of getting a blood test:
1. Don’t look at your arm.
If you have experienced getting a blood test in the past, you might already be aware of how the process goes: you’ll meet a nurse, the nurse will ask for your arm, look for a specific vein, the nurse will poke a needle in your arm, and you’ll probably see how your blood is extracted from your arm. To make this process less stressful (and less traumatizing) for you, don’t look at that arm once the nurse asks for it. Give your arm a little privacy and don’t torture yourself by looking at the blood flowing from your arm to the injection. Seeing this process can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to drop, restricting the blood flow in your body.
2. If possible, drink plenty of water hours before the blood test.
Once you’re already scheduled for a blood test, ask if there are any foods or drinks to avoid. If there are none, drink plenty of water hours before the blood test. If allowed, you can even bring your own water so you can still drink up minutes before the procedure. Dehydration can decrease your blood volume, making it hard for the nurses to locate your veins. This can lengthen the blood testing process.
3. Ask how long the blood test will take and count down from that number.
The oldest trick in the book to get rid of your fear of blood tests is to give your mind something else to think about during the procedure. Instead of thinking about how the needles will sting or how the blood will be taken out from your arm, ask the nurse how long the procedure will take and count up to that number. This is a simple task that can give your mind something else to think about during the blood test.
4. Begin a conversation with the nurse drawing your blood.
Depending on the availability of the nurse who will draw your blood for the blood test, consider starting a conversation with him or her. This will not only keep you occupied during the blood test, but it can also help you learn more about the process and actually gain a friend! Just make sure that the nurse is also available to have a conversation with you as they might have other things on their plate during the blood testing.
5. Always remember to breathe.
Some people will hold their breath the moment the nurse holds out a needle for a blood test. This is how most people will prepare for a blood test. If you’re guilty of doing the same, it’s time to change your ways. You might not know it but stopping yourself from breathing can actually lead to more anxiety. In short, holding your breath during blood testing can only do more harm than good. If you don’t want to experience any of these, maintain slow and steady breathing. You should take the time to breathe deeply through your diaphragm. If you can, work on counting your breaths rather than focusing on the blood being drawn from your arm.
It’s A Long-Term Commitment
Although simple and doable, don’t expect that the tips from this article will automatically erase your fear of getting a blood test; these tips don’t work as magic. If you want to reduce your fear of getting a blood test as soon as possible, be consistent and patient with your efforts. Letting go of this fear is a gradual process, which is why you should be ready to commit long-term in achieving this goal.