Heart Health: Manage your anxiety after surgery

exercise

A little more than four years ago, I had open heart surgery. I was only 38 years old.

I knew at some point, something like this, might happen to me. My father had it and his father had it as well. But, for me, I thought it might be later in life. I was wrong. While the surgery is a big event, the recovery is just as big and continues for the rest of your life, at least it seems that way.

One of the biggest obstacles in open heart surgery recovery is anxiety. While some recovering heart patients may go into a phase of depression, it seems from my experience with this dreaded disease, that everyone has at least a bout of anxiety. While not as serious as full blown depression, anxiety can be a real detriment to recovery.

In my own recovery, I've tried a few methods to relieve the anxiety.  Here are a few that have worked for me.

Music

Music is highly emotional but with the right selection, you can pick a few songs that will help lift you out of that anxious state. For some reason, 50's "bop" style music always got me going. When I wanted to relax I turned to more meditative music like Acoustic Alchemy or some of Steve Halpern's relaxation music.

Creative Writing

The other anxiety breaking method I found was simply to write. It doesn't have to be a novel, but simply getting your thoughts down on paper clears them out of your mind. I've found that by reading them back, I can actually see my anxiety on the sheet. It makes the anxiety tangible and manageable.

Exercise

Doctors always promote it and for good reason. Exercise, even very moderate exercise will keep your body in motion and from tightening up. It allows you to focus on things you can do as you gain confidence with every step or lift. Of course, always consult your doctor regarding your exercise regimen, especially if you are recovering from any surgery.

These methods have helped me a great deal.  I hope they do the same for you.

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