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The Agony of Waiting

10 tips on managing the anxiety of waiting for health test results.

Like many people during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been experiencing delays receiving results of blood tests and other diagnostic tests. I thought it might be helpful to outline some techniques to reduce anxiety while waiting. Here are a few things that have helped me out.

  1. Meditate or do deep breathing exercises and let your mind wander.
  2. Find something else that requires your focus. I have been writing up memoirs about growing up to share with my children.
  3. Assemble lists of sayings or quotations that have been meaningful to you like lessons learned – this can be a work in progress to which you make additions as they occur to you over time.
  4. Read some engaging fiction in whatever genre you like – mysteries, romance, comedy, science fiction, thrillers, etc.
  5. Binge on streaming series of television shows that others have recommended to you, and you have somehow missed – but avoid medical shows!
  6. Watch some distracting movies.
  7. Volunteer your time for a cause that you are passionate about – politics, civil rights, homelessness, food shelters, animal protection. Helping others can bring you a sense of calm and perspective.
  8. Discover a type of music that you have never listened to before, and binge using a streaming service.
  9. Share your concerns with a close friend or a loved one.
  10. Try not to think about what the next steps will be if the test results are adverse, you will learn them later, and why worry about something if it is not going to be necessary.

A quote about anxiety.

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Rick Seiden

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