How to Be Mindful at the Doctor’s Office

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Meditation for Real Life

“Life presents us with this quandary: When we most need to communicate effectively, we are often filled with anxiety. When we are reactive to anxious states, we tend to shut down, act impulsively or crave solace. None of these responses helps us work with our doctors. To have a better experience — to ask the difficult question, share a moment of vulnerability or discuss symptoms — start by being mindful.” – Lee Rosen, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont

Before you enter the doctor’s office, pause at the door and take two deep breaths, count slowly to three on both the inhalation and the exhalation.

Once seated in the waiting room, take a moment to focus on your breathing, counting to 10.

Look inward with complete acceptance, noting why you came to the doctor. Are you worried or scared? Are you in pain?

If you are, permit yourself to have these feelings. Understand that there’s nothing you are supposed to do about these feelings right now. Just let them be. That is why you are here.

In the examination room, notice the cool air, the bright lights and the feeling of your feet dangling as you sit on the table.

Acknowledge the universality of sickness and mortality. Often we feel our suffering isolates us and takes us out of the present moment.

But since suffering is inevitable, it is also an experience we share with everyone else. Allow yourself to feel that connection.

Take another deep breath and commit to sharing with the nurse or the doctor what they need to know to help you.