Going to the doctor can be a bit stressful, even if the reason for your visit is as simple as an annual check-up. It’s easy to become flustered once you’re in an exam room, and the questions you may have had in mind to ask your doctor can quickly disappear.

     You can make your next appointment a stress-free success with a bit of preparation. Try these tips:     

  • Take notes: If you’re having specific symptoms, keep a journal of the day-to-day changes. Add details like what you eat, what time, changes in mood or appetite, as any little detail might be important. If you’re taking medications, include those as well so your doctor is fully informed. Make notes, too, of questions you have for your doctor – your visit is a two-way conversation and you want to maximize both your own time and your doctor’s.
  • Timing is everything: Delays at the doctor’s office can increase feelings of anxiety and nervousness. If you can, make appointments first thing in the morning. That could help you avoid the inevitable delays as doctors see other patients and appointment times run over. Try to make sure your day is as free as possible so you don’t stress about your next task if you end up waiting.
  • Be honest: Not being entirely honest or withholding information from your doctor can be a detriment to you and your health. Remember: your doctor is there to help you. If you find you have a hard time actually saying something you’re embarrassed about–try practicing it out loud in a mirror before your appointment.
  • Be flexible: You may have a specific treatment in mind when you go into your appointment, but your doctor is a professional. It’s a good idea to at least listen to all the options.