Surviving the Dreaded Blood Draw

February 23, 2017

Whether you’re applying for life insurance, getting your annual flu vaccine, or just having a physical, it is inevitable that you will have to survive being stuck with a needle. If the very thought makes you uncomfortable, you’re not alone – many people are squeamish about needles. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to stay relaxed during a blood draw or vaccination. These tips were inspired by the folks at Lab Tests Online:

  • Breathe in, breathe out: Begin by taking three slow breaths through your nose. Release your breath through your mouth, taking a count of six to do so. Be sure that when you breathe your posture is good, and you’re breathing into your abdomen rather than your chest. (You should feel the breaths all the way to your diaphragm.)
  • Practice a little self-hypnosis: Hypnosis is really just a relaxation technique. To do this, visualize every muscle in your body, beginning with your toes. Mentally instruct the muscles to relax, and let tension ease away.
  • Have a Conversation: Most insurance examiners and blood lab technicians are accustomed to people being uncomfortable with needles. Let them know about your nervousness, when you get there, and keep chatting with them while they work. If nothing else, it will distract you from the actual needle stick.
  • Don’t Look: Most of the time, it’s not the actual injection or blood draw that bothers us, but the anticipation that it might hurt. An easy trick is to focus on something on the other side of the room, but looking anywhere except the tech will usually work. If you have to, you can even close your eyes.

Needle sticks are a necessary part of life, and of life insurance and health insurance. By staying relaxed you can make them easier for you and for the person providing your vaccination or doing your blood draw.