How To Deal With Piercing Anxiety

How To Deal With Piercing Anxiety

Even though it is an entirely voluntary procedure (as opposed to say, a necessary operation), getting a piercing done still involves having a sharp object stuck through your skin (or, in the case of the tongue, muscle) and out the other side. This will, inevitably, involve some level of pain. No matter your relationship to dealing with a little bit of physical discomfort, it is natural to feel a little anxious ahead of your appointment. Luckily, there are tried and tested ways to relax, that do not involve resorting to alcohol or other substances. Instead, follow our tips to self-soothe, and it will literally be over in a pinch. 

Know the procedure

facial piercings
Photo: Rafa Puerta via Flickr

Just as with a fear of flying, it can help to learn as much as possible about the practical and technical details in advance. Learning about the specifics and mechanics of the piercing you are about to get can help you feel more in control, and know a little bit better what to expect – especially if it is your first time. And if you have only had a lobe piercing before, remember it will feel different from one that goes through cartilage. 

Speak up

If you are feeling jittery when you arrive for your appointment, talk to your piercer and let them know, don’t try to play it cool. You are not the first, and definitely not the last person to sit in their chair with sweaty palms. Luckily, they are incredibly experienced and will talk you through each step and wait until you are ready before they go ahead and pierce you. They will first mark the spot and have you check it out in the mirror, so you have ample opportunity to perfect the placement in collaboration.

Relaxation techniques

After you have listened to instructions and are being prepped having the area cleaned, lying down or sitting up depending on the preference of your piercer, this is a perfect opportunity to practice some mindful breathing and relaxation. Loosen your shoulders and your jaw, soften around the eyes. And release your butt cheeks! Then take slow deep breaths, relaxing your belly and letting it expand to its full capacity (no one is judging it, we promise). 

tongue piercingsIt can help to take what is known as a ‘physiological sigh’. To perform it, you inhale deeply through the nose, filling up your belly and ribcage. Then you hold the breath before you take another sip of air, again through the nose. Hold it a the top of the lungs for a moment, and then gently sigh the breath out through your mouth. Continuing to breath calmly in through the nose and out through the mouth will help your nervous system relax and feel safe.

If you know that you have a tendency to get very nervous when in the chair, practice these techniques at home before you head for the studio, to help mitigate the anxious response before it kicks in. It is a wonderful thing to conquer your fears. When you leave the studio you will not only have a gorgeous new piece of jewellery, but you will carry yourself just a little bit taller. 


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