Manage Anxiety after Bariatric Surgery
Stress and anxiety are pretty common during the months and weeks leading up to weight loss surgery as you mentally and physically prepare for your new lifestyle. Bariatric surgery will evoke a great deal of change in your life, and this can be a troubling experience. Weight loss will bring positive changes to your life, but if you aren’t ready for the transition, these good changes can still feel incredibly overwhelming.
Anxiety manifests in feelings like worry, fear and apprehension that often cause physical symptoms. Anxiety is often the result of stress, though it generally develops as a result of nervousness over external situations that are outside of our control. If left unaddressed, severe anxiety can lead to depression, as well as a large number of health consequences.
Whether you are a habitual nail biter, prone to tension headaches or have had the unfortunate experience of having panic attacks, there are a few simple strategies that you can employ to reduce your anxiety and manage stress better.
Here are a few ways to manage stress and anxiety after bariatric surgery:
- Break negative spirals. Most anxiety starts the same way. One negative experience or thought leads to another, and another. Before you know it you have gone from fretting over your hair to being on the edge of tears, upset with your overall appearance, career choice and life situation. Break the negative spiral before it breaks you by forcing positive thoughts. Challenge negative thoughts by reasoning with yourself before they become overwhelming.
- Take deep breaths. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whoever you are talking to, there is one thing you can do to reduce your stress and anxiety: breathe. When you feel tightness growing in your chest, notice yourself biting at your nails or sense anxiety building in some other way, stop in your tracks and take a long, deep breath.
- Journal your thoughts. While it may not seem that logging your anxious thoughts will help you move past them, it can do just that. Simply getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper can make a huge difference in your ability to cope with stress.
After weight loss surgery, do your best to integrate these helpful tips. As stressful situations emerge remember that you cannot control the world and you cannot control what happens, but you can control your reaction to whatever comes your way.