Lower your anxiety

Photo of a kiwi

with guided imagery

Preparing for Successful Surgery, an audio program from Health Journeys, is designed to help you prepare for and recover from surgery.

The program uses mind-body techniques such as guided imagery, affirmations, and relaxation with music.

Just as Olympic athletes repeatedly visualize the perfect dive or the ideal long jump, you can use imagery to condition your body for greater calmness before surgery and a quicker recovery. In addition, the program may help:

  • decrease anxiety
  • reduce the need for pain medication
  • shorten hospital stays

We encourage you to listen:

  • twice a day during the 3 to 4 days before surgery
  • twice a day after surgery until your anxiety and discomfort lessen

You can listen on your computer or download the program to your MP3 player. (If you prefer a CD version, check if they're available at your local Kaiser Permanente medical facility’s Health Education Department. Find a Health Education Department near you with our location finder.)

Getting the most out of the program

Find a comfortable place to sit or lie quietly for 20 to 40 minutes. The program will work best in a relaxed atmosphere. Don't worry about doing things perfectly. The more you listen, the easier it will be to relax and calm your mind. Play the program and allow yourself to follow the suggestions you hear.

Real results

"I'm so grateful this program is available...it was a relief and a pleasant surprise to have this support offered."

— Kaiser Permanente member

A Kaiser Permanente study found that members who used the guided imagery program had reduced anxiety and pain.*

Both hospital patients and those receiving outpatient care experienced positive results from using the program.

Results of programHospital surgery patientsOutpatient surgery patients
Helped prepare for surgery78%85%
Helped decrease anxiety80%85%
Helped decrease pain47%71%
Helped sleep55%77%
Helped recover more quickly56%81%
Would reuse the program83%88%
Would recommend the program93%93%

One participant commented: "I'm so grateful this program is available through Kaiser Permanente. It was a relief and a pleasant surprise to have this support offered."

*”Managing Perioperative Stress with Guided Imagery: A Best Practice?” Harley Goldberg, DO; David Sobel, MD; Brad Larsen, CRNA; Chiefs of Anesthesia and Chief CRNAs, February 2004

Reviewed by: Margaret Mentakis, MD, April 2016
Additional Kaiser Permanente reviewers

© 2016 Kaiser Permanente

Surgery and your safety

Learn about the steps you and your surgery team will take to ensure your safety.

After your surgery

You’ll find patient instructions to help you have a safer and more comfortable recovery.

Find online communities and support groups to help you cope with challenges.

When a child needs surgery

Children needing surgery want comfort and answers. Learn how to get your child prepared for surgery.