Living your life while dealing with health anxiety can really affect your quality of living. Spending your days feeling sick, worrying about being sick, convinced that you are sick eventually take its toll. It makes it hard to go to sleep, hard to stay asleep, and can make you anxious first thing in the morning.
Today we’ll look at helpful and practical tips for dealing with health anxiety.
1. Get a physical. First and foremost, you want to see what your baseline physical health is. If you are having pains in your body, frequent headaches, stomach aches or what have you, your doctor can help determine whether there is something you truly need to be concerned about. Please: do not self -diagnose and try to get your doctor to agree with you. If your doctor gives you a clean bill of health, rejoice, BELIEVE HIM. And go on to #2.
2. Feel the feelings and do it anyways. Many health anxiety sufferers are told nothing is wrong with them and yet they continue to have distressing physical symptoms. This is the nature of the anxiety beast- it will trick you into thinking your are sick or that you are dying. Recovery from health anxiety will require you to desensitize yourself to these distressing feelings. Another way to put it is you need to normalize the anxiety.
The best way to do that is to feel the feelings and try not to make a big deal about them. Go about your day even if you have that pain or dizziness. As best you can, go about your day even if you think you are having a stoke or a heart attack. Learning how to do it afraid takes practice, but it’s worth it.
I know what you’re thinking: Jill are you crazy? How am I supposed to go about my day while I’m having a heart attack??
My answer: You’re not! Your doctor gave you a clean bill of health! (See #1) So you will have to take my word on this. You are not really having a heart attack. I know it may feel like it, but if you just try to not focus too much on your heart and just please go about your day, you will find that you will continue to live. You will find that these feelings that bother you so much will start to die down. They will you know, as long as you stop making them a huge deal.
3. Listen to the signals from your body and turn it into something positive. Turn your worries into motivation to get healthy and actually do something great for your body. You can start by leading a more healthy lifestyle and being more health conscious. If you worry incessantly about your heart you can stop smoking and start exercising. Can you decrease your alcohol or caffeine intake? Are you overweight? Research a healthy weight loss program and start shedding some excess pounds.
Remember, you have a clean bill of health (#1) so it is all green lights for you to make yourself into the healthiest version of you possible! so commit to being healthy and do some exercise for anxiety: learn to jog, ride your bike, go out and take a walk with your dog, do some yoga, take a spin class, take a hike. It really doesn’t matter.
And a word about eating. Learn to treat your body like a temple and feed it nutritious food. If all you do is eat garbage, you will feel like garbage. There’s just good that can come from fretting over your health and then laying down with a bag of potato chips in front of the TV. Think about it.
4. Stay out of bad neighborhoods. By this I mean, don’t spend hours on forums and chat rooms swapping horror stories with others who have disturbing health anxiety symptoms. You can do this till the cows come home but this is not a productive use of your time. It only reinforces that that pain or ache is something you should continue to focus on. This is giving your anxiety the fuel it needs to keep you anxious and feeling like crap.
I have read on forums where people go from doctor to doctor after being given a clean bill of health, or others that spend hours and hour reading about illnesses or Googling their symptoms. They are doing it to feel better but it does exactly the opposite.
I promise if you practice these 4 tips, your worries about health will surely lessen. Dealing with health anxiety is not impossible if you break it down into easy steps like this.
I wish you peace,
Want to know how I’m doing so well after suffering from anxiety and panic attacks for so long? I recommend and use Panic Away. Click on the link to get started today and reclaim your life from fear.