Coping with test pain, discomfort, and anxiety

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Relaxation techniques

Knowing a few simple relaxation and focusing techniques can help you avoid tensing your muscles or becoming faint during any difficult pathology procedure. Although the practitioners performing these procedures are usually good at making small talk and creating distractions that take your mind off your discomfort, you can also soothe yourself (or an anxious person) with the following techniques. If you are anxious about pathology tests, and need them frequently, you will find it helpful to practise these skills at home to make them even more effective for you.

Breathe — Take in three slow breaths, counting one to three for each and breathing through your nose. Push your stomach out as you breathe in (to breathe more deeply). Breathe out through your mouth as you count to six. Slow down the breathing in if you start to feel lightheaded.

Relax your muscles — Consciously relax your muscles. Let them feel loose.

Focus — Find a focal point to look at, or think of a pleasing image.

Count — Count slowly and silently one to ten.

Talk — Chat with someone in the room. The distraction can relax you.

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