Overcoming Fear and Anxiety Associated With Cosmetic Surgery

Every year in America, more than ten million people undergo cosmetic procedures and surgeries that make visible and corrective changes in their bodily or facial appearances. So, if you’re considering “having a little work done,” you’re not alone!

All patients have questions and a few misgivings about the decisions and choices that will physically change something about themselves. Most anxiety and fear about these procedures, however, do not come from the idea of physical change so much as from other factors, such as your expectations of the outcomes, fretting about what ifs, your undefined reasons for desiring change. insecure thoughts about your responsibility, or wondering what others might think of you. Acknowledging and thinking through these feelings and unsettling thoughts will help you get past them and look forward to positive change. Here are some tips for helping you to overcome these concerns.

Review the reasons why you decided to have the procedure. Your reasons are personal. You have specific, rational points for what you intend to change physically about your body and how that change will benefit you. Write these valid reasons down and repeat them to yourself out loud, before a mirror. Share them with a friend or family member you trust. Repeating your reasons and desired outcomes will help diminish fears.

What are your reasons? Perhaps you want to look as good as you feel or correct a body part. Maybe you’re hoping for a psychological boost after a lifestyle change, such as divorce, pregnancy, or menopause. Or possibly you just want to maintain your trademark youthful, vibrant appearance or compete more effectively in the workplace. Whatever your reason(s), revisit them if you encounter fear or doubt.

Resist the temptation to doubt. Remember that you were diligent about researching your options before you made this decision to change. You probably surfed the Internet to learn more and to understand all the steps that would be involved. You studied the background and licensing of the doctor. Your physician and the staff carefully discussed all aspects of the procedure and allowed you to ask questions. You may have even spoken to former patients who had the same procedure done. Remember, being informed puts you in a position of control. Trust your earlier instincts and the wisdom of the decisions that you made at each step. If you did your homework carefully and thoroughly, you don’t need to doubt them now.

Recite the goals and outcomes you have for this procedure. Make sure that you have thought through and defined exactly what your expectations are for this procedure. If you have allowed yourself to believe that the outcomes will be miraculous and beyond what is medically possible, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

On the other hand, if in moments of doubt, you have convinced yourself that the results will make your body worse or unacceptable, you will be setting yourself up for dread and paranoia. Concentrate on the realistic and positive expectations that you discussed with your physician. Reciting them several times a day and hearing yourself talk about your expectations will prevent that paralyzing fear.

Renew your commitment to cooperate and exercise discipline. Sometimes we grow afraid if we think we can’t hold up our end of a bargain. You might fear that if you don’t do everything exactly right, the surgery will fail, you will not heal properly, or you won’t get the optimum results you hope for. The only way that is going to happen is if you refuse to be cooperative by not following your doctor’s instructions. So renew your commitment to what is best for your body – and your mind!

Recruit your family and friends. You never need to feel that you are alone in this important experience. The physician and the staff will be there for you, and so will family members and friends if you include them in your plans and preparations. Let them know that their encouragement and validation of your decision is important. Ask for support if you begin to doubt your choice. Ask them to hold you accountable for following through with everything your physician instructs you to do. Be sure to make sure ahead of time that they can be on call if you should need them. Just knowing they are committed to helping you whenever you need it will give you confidence that you are not alone in this journey.

Be ready to face change proudly and bravely. Change is not frightening if you acknowledge your anxiety and remember the valid reasons you have for making a change. You are choosing to make your body and yourself better. Other people will respect you for being proactive, so encourage yourself by respecting the changes you are reaching for. A new, better you is waiting to meet you!

Copyright (c) 2007 Barry Lycka