ACCORDING TO sports psychologist John F. Murray, the more success an athlete has achieved, the more likely it is that he or she will experience depression before and after surgery, say, to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon. (Are you listening, Kevin Durant?) That’s an interesting theory, but it’s certainly true that anyone who’s having surgery can become seriously anxious beforehand. Here are a few tips to help you relax before surgery, so you can achieve your best outcome and speed up your recovery time.
• Remove inflammatory foods (that’s any trans or saturated fats, any added sugars or syrups and any grain that isn’t 100% whole) from your diet.
• Get as much physical activity as you can. Being strong before surgery reduces recovery time.
• Ditch bad habits like smoking (anything), and stop alcohol consumption for a week before surgery.
• Find a meditation class; consider talking with a counselor online or in person.
• Ask your doc if there are meds you shouldn’t be taking before surgery (blood thinners, aspirin) and if any meds you take might conflict with your anesthesia.
• Listen to music. U.K. researchers found that listening to music (your playlist) before, during and after surgery reduces pain, anxiety and the need for painkillers. Check with the surgeon or anesthesiologist and hospital staff before bringing your iPod into the operating room.
• Talk to your anesthesiologist before you go into the OR. That’s your chance to find out how anesthesia will be handled and what to expect as you wake up.