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10 Ways to Improve Your Medical Appointments

10 Ways to Improve Your Medical Appointments

One of the most important relationships we have outside of family and friends are the ones we share with our doctors and practitioners.  In this era of patient-centered care, the focus to the patients’ expectations on their doctor/practitioner have now outweighed the expectation of the doctor on the patient. So, is this a good thing? Yes and no. Like any good relationship it takes 2 parties to make it work. The best relationships are formed and continue to grow based on how the parties interact.

These 10 points will help empower you, the patient to better control your destiny in these situations. It is your health after all.

1. Before your appointment make a list of questions. Make it no longer than 5 but realize you will probably only get to 3. Focus on what matters most.

Hint: Think about your objective for the appointment and don’t let it get lost in your quest to be cured instantly.

2. Always aim to be the first patient of the day (this is also applicable to surgery).

Why? Everyone is fresh and open-minded. Your doctor has not been jaded by 10 other patients and this is your opportunity to start his or her day off on the right foot.

3. Listen after you ask a question, do not ramble on.

The art of the pause is very important as it allows the professional to regroup his or her thoughts and shows respect on your end.

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4. Do not bring your own research or opinions from Dr. Google.

Instead use your research to form your questions. Remember you are not an expert nor is your doctor on everything, but you are the expert on you.  As well, don’t push for what you perceive to be the issue. Use the appointment time wisely to explore and take the proper next steps.

How to phrase your own findings: I wanted to understand what I was experiencing, and found this online – what do you think?

5. Look your doctor or practitioner in the eye when you greet and speak to them.

Accept the same in return.Jumping right in with issues gets everyone on edge for no reason. Eye contact changes the way we respond and lowers our cortisol levels.

6. Ask your doctor or practitioner how they are.

Acknowledgement that we are all the same human species makes for a level playing field so all parties feel more comfortable.

7. If you don’t like your doctor or have a personality clash get a new one – you are doing everyone a favour.

The other reasons that may call for this are:

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A. Wait times to see him or her

B. Your first language is not English – find someone who speaks your mother tongue

C. The support staff make you uncomfortable or continuously make errors

D. The doctor has poor listening skills

8. No one is perfect.

If something is not working or makes you uncomfortable it is your life/health. Speak directly to your doctor/practitioner and resolve or move on. Many people feel intimidated by a doctor or practitioner – if your intuition says something or you were not understood speak up.

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Is it your intuition or you?

A. Are you looking to hear something your doctor is not telling you?

B. Are you not listening?

C. Looking for an excuse not to get well and avoid the doctor’s office

9. Don’t look for problems.

Maybe you are having emotional issues or hate your job. Yes, you can manifest something and get pills, but remember the saying: Be careful what you wish for.

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If you are having any issues – change your appointment and maybe take a day off instead.  Sometimes, the doctor serves as a friend/psychologist.  Because of the nature of how a practice is set-up they are limited for time.  You must acknowledge this as well, and ensure that what you are asking is valid and within their scope.

Pills do not solve life problems. A prescription to be happier and take a walk just might…

10. A good patient forms a bond with a practitioner/doctor that allows him or her to grow with that practice and as health issues occur call upon that professional for help.

However, you are first and foremost responsible for your health. Take it seriously as your life depends on it.

A doctor is just a human with a different skill set.  Often we put too much on their shoulders, when in fact it truly starts with ourselves.  Before you do to your appointment audit your lifestyle: food, sleep, habits… be honest and also share these with your doctor.

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Last Updated on September 15, 2020

4 Ways to Deal With Big Life Changes in a Positive Way

4 Ways to Deal With Big Life Changes in a Positive Way

Life changes are constant. Whether it’s in the workplace or our relationships, nothing in life ever remains the same for long.

Regardless of the gravity of change, it can always be a little scary. So scary, in fact, that some people are downright crippled by the idea of it, causing them to remain stagnant through anxiety.

Have you ever noticed how much of life’s transitional periods are riddled with anxious vibes? The quarter life crisis, the mid-life crisis, cold feet before getting married, retirement anxiety, and teenage angst are just a few examples of transitional periods when people tend to panic.

We can’t control every aspect of our lives, and we can’t stop change from happening. However, how we respond to change will greatly affect our overall life experience.

Here are 4 ways you can approach life changes in a positive way.

1. Don’t Fight It

I once heard one of my favorite yoga instructors say “Suffering is what occurs when we resist what is already happening.” The lesson has stuck with me ever since.

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Life changes are usually out of our control. Rather than trying to manipulate the situation and wishing things were different, try flowing with it instead.

Of course, some initial resistance is natural if we’re going into survival mode. Just make sure you are conscious of when this resistance is no longer serving you.

If you’re feeling anxious about impending life changes, it’s time to practice some techniques to address the anxiety directly. These can include meditation, exercise, talking with friends about how you’re feeling, or journaling.

If you’re worried about a big life change, such as starting a new job[1] or moving in with your partner, do your best to control your expectations. It may help you to talk with people you know about their experiences going through similar changes. This will help you form a realistic picture in your mind of what things will look like post-change.

2. Find Healthy Ways to Deal With Feelings

Whenever we’re in transitional periods, it can be easy to lose track of ourselves. Sometimes we feel like we’re being tossed about by life and like we’ve lost our footing, causing some very uncomfortable feelings to arise.

One way we can channel these feelings is by finding healthy ways to release them. For instance, whenever I find myself in a difficult transitional phase, I end up in a mixed martial arts studio.

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The physical activity helps me channel my emotions and release endorphins. It also helps me get in shape, which generally increases my mood and energy levels.

Exercise is important in cultivating positive emotions, but if you’re struggling with anxiety in particular, it’s important to cultivate a regular exercise routine as opposed to a one-off workout. One study found that “Aerobic exercise can promote increase in anxiety acutely and regular aerobic exercise promotes reduction in anxiety levels”[2].

If exercise isn’t your thing, there are other, less intense ways of cultivating positive emotions and reducing anxiety around life changes. You can try stretching, meditating, reading in nature, spending time with family and friends, or cooking a healthy meal.

Find what makes you feel good and helps you ground yourself in the present moment.

3. Reframe Your Perspective

Reframing perspectives is a very powerful tool used in life coaching. It helps clients take a situation they are struggling with, such as a major life change, and find some sort of empowerment in it.

Some examples of disempowered thinking during life changes include casting blame, focusing on negative details, or victimizing[3]. These perspectives can make awkward transitional phases much worse than they have to be.

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Meanwhile, if we utilize a more positive perspective, such as finding a lesson in the situation, realizing that there may be an opportunity for something, or that everything passes, we can come from a greater place of ease.

4. Find Time for Self-Reflection

Having time to reflect is important at any stage in your life, but it’s especially important during transitional periods. It’s quite simple really: we need our time to step back and get centered when things get a little crazy.

As a result, big life changes are perfect for doing some self-reflection. They are opportunities to check in with ourselves and practice getting grounded for a few minutes.

Take a look at this reflective cycle adapted from Glibb’s Self-reflection guide (1988):[4]

Use self-reflection when facing life changes.

    Self-reflective exercises include meditating, yoga or journaling,[5] all of which require some quiet time to get yourself together.

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    One study found that journal improves “self-efficacy, locus of control, and learning”[6]. A healthy sense of self-control can make the process of change easier to bear, so that in itself is a great reason to try self-reflection through journaling.

    To learn how to start journaling, you can check out this article.

    Final Thoughts

    Big life changes may rock us for a little while, but they don’t have to be as bad as we initially perceive them. If handled in a positive manner, transitional periods can pave the way for some serious self-growth, reflection, and awareness.

    Cultivate a sense of positivity and find ways to diminish the anxiety around life changes. Once you make it to the other side, you’ll be grateful that you made it through in the best way possible.

    More Tips on Facing Life Changes

    Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com

    Reference

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