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How to overcome the common fear of blood, tomorrow

Change specialist Jackey Backman. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Change specialist Jackey Backman. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

If you do not believe that ‘blood’ and ‘fun’ can be strung together in the same sentence – or if you are just scared of donating blood – then you should head to the blood donation centre in Guardamangia tomorrow.

One common feeling that keeps prospective donors away from the centre is the “fear of blood”, according to practice nurse (donor liaison) Tony Micallef.

But change specialist Jackey Backman knows that most often, it is anxiety, rather than a phobia, that keeps potential donors at bay.

Tomorrow, she will discuss how people can overcome their fear of donating blood in a “fun and educational manner”, she promises.

Ms Backman has spent years teaching people how to manage anxiety and overcome fear and trauma, and her clients vary from rape victims and people dealing with addictions to businesspeople who struggle with public speaking.

We create anxiety the same way we create joy and fear in our brain...People can talk themselves into and out of fear

Ms Backman is an emotional intelligence specialist with certifications in neurolinguistics programming and emotional intelligence competencies, among other EQ competencies.

“Just think of it as the IQ of our emotions. You can be the smartest person in the world, but unless you can manage your emotions, fear can lead to anxiety, which in turn weighs heavily on your productivity and social interaction,” she told this newspaper.

In other words, Ms Backman teaches people how to bring out their best and have more fulfilling lives. Based in Canada, she has been travelling to Malta – her parents’ country of birth – for the past 10 years, after delivering a workshop about leadership and management skills within a corporate environment.

Tomorrow, she will lead people through a process that can be applied to managing anxiety and ultimately being able to give the gift of blood and actually feel good about doing it.

She herself knows how much of a lifesaver blood is, having been rushed to hospital 10 years ago when she suffered an internal haemorrhage.

Those attending her talk will be made aware that they can manage their anxiety enough to be able to give blood.

“We create anxiety the same way we create joy and fear in our brain. The level of anxiety can be self-managed. In very simple words, people can talk themselves into and out of fear,” she noted.

The talk, in English, will be held at the blood donation centre at 6.30pm. The National Blood Transfusion Service can be contacted on [email protected] or by private message to www.facebook.com/bloodmalta to book a seat.

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