The number one reason why people refuse to donate blood and platelets is because of their fear of needles – but the Red Cross wants to help ease that fear.

In celebration of National Blood Donor Month, the Red Cross is trying to recruit as many volunteers for blood donations as possible. Harsh weather conditions have already forced the organization to cancel 500 blood drives, amounting to about 13,000 uncollected donations that could have been used to save lives.

As a means of encouraging prospective donors, the Red Cross gives several recommendations for overcoming your fear of needles so you can make a donation and save a life.

For starters, the charity recommends immediately telling their workers about your phobia so they help make the process as tolerable as possible. Bringing along a friend or family member to talk you through the donation can help a great deal as well. They can even donate alongside you so you can both go through the ordeal together.

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Next, the Red Cross suggests listening to soothing music while you donate. This can be all the more effective if you implement their fourth recommendation and remember to breath deeply, since deep breathing is proven to lower your blood pressure, calm your nerves, and even boost your levels of empathy. You can also visualize happier memories in your head as a distraction from the needle.

Finally, they suggest focusing on the fact that overcoming your phobia will inevitably help save a life.

(WATCH the Red Cross video below)

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