Get the most out of your next doctor’s visit

Doctor Discussing Records With Senior Female Patient

When it’s time for your next doctor’s visit, consider these ways to make the most of the minutes you have with your physician:

Make a list of questions and concerns. It’s easy to forget to ask important questions in the limited amount of time you have with your physician. Write them down ahead of time.

Answer questions truthfully. Research shows that many people don’t tell the truth when asked questions — especially potentially embarrassing ones — by their doctor. But providing honest answers about your lifestyle and health habits is an important part of getting the best possible care.

Jot down instructions. Most people forget much of what their doctor tells them within an hour of their appointment, studies show. Write down important facts. Follow your doctor’s instructions closely.

Follow up if you need additional information. Don’t be shy. If you have additional questions or concerns after your appointment, call your doctor’s office and let them know. They may be able to handle them over the phone or will be able to make a follow-up appointment.

Take a friend or family member with you. Sometimes appointments can be overwhelming. You don’t have to go into your appointment alone. Having a friend or family member with you may just keep you calm or help you fully understand your medical diagnoses and treatment options.

The health benefits of smiling

42308746 - portrait of smiling african american womanDid you know that smiling has some significant health benefits? Numerous studies have shown that smiling helps release endorphins, which can make us feel happier and reduce stress levels.

Smiling’s effect on our mood and health is similar to exercise and good sleep. It simply makes you feel better. In one study, even making ‘faking’ a smile can reduce stress levels. Another study shows that smiling can help reduce pain.

Here are some other things about smiling that you may not know:

Smiling is contagious. Studies have shown that people tend to emulate the facial expressions of those around them. A boss who smiles, for example, may have employees who smile more.

It makes you more approachable. Scientists have discovered that people who smile are more approachable to their family and co-workers. Another great reason to turn that frown upside down!

Men smile less. Most studies on the subject have found that men smile less than women, although there is little agreement as to why.