Dealing with worry

People don’t have MRI scans for fun! MRI scans are done to guide the management of diseases. So it’s very natural for people to worry both, about the process of having an MRI scan and the result of the MRI scan.

This website is mostly about helping you overcome your worry about the process of having an MRI scan, rather than more broad psychological aspects of whatever disease you may have. However, we can briefly address the issue of worrying about the MRI results here.

As a starting point, it may be useful to separate the two types of worry, i.e. worry related to being in the scanner (“scanner worry”) and worry associated with the result of the scan (“results worry”). Once you have done this, put these two types of worry, into two separate imaginary bags.

There is no point burdening your mind with both bags at the same time, as the results of the MRI scan can come only after you have had the MRI scan. So try and tell yourself that till you have your MRI scan, you will only deal with the first bag, and that you will postpone opening the second bag till after the scan. You are not telling your mind that the second bag does not exist, rather, you are only delaying it to be opened later. Our minds do not like to be told, “Do not worry”, but are more open to the concept of leaving worry to later. So put aside that “results worry” bag away for now.

Of course, life is not as simple as putting things into bags! However, it can be useful to think in this way to reduce one’s anxiety. By being proactive about reducing your anxiety about having an MRI scan, you have already opened the first bag and are starting to get rid of its contents.

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