• What to do with the niggle at the back of your mind
    Monday, February 11, 2019

    What to do with the niggle at the back of your mind

    Is there a worrying niggle at the back of your mind that there may be something not quite right?  Our lives are busy so we tend to deposit niggles at the back of our minds, cover them up with incidental occurrences that life puts in our way and carry on as normal – on the outside.  Inside, it may be another story completely.  Parts of our body may be behaving abnormally and we know nothing about it.  Every so often a niggle works its way to the front and “We’ll deal with it tomorrow.”  We all know that tomorrow never comes!  That’s what health screening is for – a system put in place to remind, coax and motivate us into doing something about it.
    Health Screening – fear and facts
    Most of us don’t like health screenings.  They are physically uncomfortable, outside our comfort zones, take up precious time, and are a reality check that such conditions exist and we may have to ‘face it’ if there is bad news.
    I turned 60 at the end of 2018.  Immediately after the birthday cards, came two requests from the NHS for both breast and bowel screenings.  Happy Birthday me!  My encounters for both feature on my Face Book page this month (see link below). Please visit for a light-hearted view on health screenings.
    Life is too short to be doing stuff that makes us feel uncomfortable (that’s what I usually say to people), and if preventing health problems is important to you then a spot of re-framing is called for to ‘get out of our own way’ and attend or book that screening appointment.
    This link is to a lady who I had the chance to meet whilst writing this blog. It’s her story and her message.
    Turning bad experiences into good ones
    Being unpleasant but important, we need to find an angle on health screening experiences that make them acceptable to motivate us into action.  For the sceptics out there, yes, it can be classed as tricking yourself into believing something is good when it’s really bad, but what’s the alternative? Going along to a screening, feeling negative and spreading your misery, fear and anxiety with everyone you come into contact with?  Surely it’s better for everyone to go along with a positive feeling and spread acceptance, curiosity and confidence with others in the same boat?

    Some examples of re-framing based on real concerns:-
    Negative Talk Positive Talk
    I don’t want to know if I have something wrong with me as then I’ll have to deal with it. I need to know if there is anything that needs attention so I can make plans to improve my health & life expectancy.
    I can’t ask my Boss for time off to go to a screening as it’s too embarrassing to talk about.
    I need to explain to my Boss the importance of screening and how it can improve morale, wellbeing and productivity – all positive qualities in the workplace.
    I haven’t got the time to go.
    I need to go as it will save time in the long run. The time I spend worrying will be greater than the time it takes to get there, have the test and come back.
    It’s awful, it so uncomfortable, I just grit my teeth and get on with it. I need to focus on something comforting so I will arrange something to reward myself with, for afterwards.
    Look at the screening as a forensic crime thriller
    ·         Be present. That is, read the thriller, watch the film - arrange and attend the screening.
    ·         Be your own detective and get to know the facts (e.g. Prostate screening starts with a blood test, not a physical exam).
    ·         There is a ‘Golden Hour’ in forensic detection when the evidence gathering is critical.  Treat your screening appointment as your very own personal Golden Hour.
    ·         Feel the fear and make it a thrill by positive thinking (fear and thrill produce the same physiology; attitude dictates the outcome).
    ·         Feel satisfied that, when you’ve read the book, watched the film, had the screening, you know ‘who did it’ and have done something constructive with your time and not wasted it by worrying.
    Help with re-framing
    If you would like to talk about Re-framing for health screening or any other event that you’re having trouble coming to terms with, please contact me and we can discuss the best way I can help you resolve the situation.

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