Without the end to the COVID19 pandemic in our sight, we must do a whole lot to maintain a worry-free mind. Especially when talking about constant worry and pressure concerning our everyday well-being and health. Sometimes, our care for the health of ourselves or our loved ones can turn into a pathological issue. Ironically, the obsession with leading a healthy lifestyle can turn into an unhealthy habit. So, how does one stop worrying about health? Well, let’s try to find out together!
If you’ve watched some Woody Allen movies, you’ve surely noticed most of them feature a stressed-out, neurotic figure constantly worrying about whether he’s dying of severe disease (like cancer). That’s a textbook case of health anxiety, a disorder more commonly known as hypochondria.
Symptoms of health anxiety (hypochondria)
Here we’ll show the signs that might mean you’re suffering from health anxiety:
- Constantly worrying about health issues. (Well, of course.)
- Always checking your body for signs of illness. Lumps, for example.
- Googling symptoms of this or that disease or obsessively avoiding any medical TV programs or web content.
- Acting as if you’re ill (even though you’re not).
- Asking people to reassure you that you’re not ill.
There are also symptoms of more serious illnesses you shouldn’t ignore. You’ll find them right here.
Did the COVID19 pandemic only make things worse for folks suffering from health anxiety?
As one can easily assume, it did. Today, many people around the globe have either one or more of the symptoms we’ve mentioned above. For all we know, you could belong to that group. Are you constantly checking your body temperature or asking others to touch your forehead? Are you on alert every time you hear a sneeze? These are all consequences of the pandemic. Let’s check out how we can battle health anxiety.
How to stop worrying about health, i.e., prevent health anxiety
There are many “methods” a person can do this. Here we’ll show you some of them.
Stop Googling symptoms
We know it does seem quite hard to suddenly stop something you’ve been doing regularly for the past, god knows how many, years. Still, it’s a habit you must break away from ASAP. Internet forums are not the places where you want to get medical advice of any kind. According to some posts, a mild headache can lead to certain death in just a few minutes. People love to panic and give panicky advice. Also, there’s a good chance you’ll only see the negative side of the comment/blog post/whatever you’re reading (if it has a positive side, of course). So, yeah, try to avoid Googling your symptoms!
Acknowledge the feeling
Once you start to feel anxious, don’t panic! Acknowledge the fact you’re beginning to feel the way that you do. Say to yourself: alright, this is probably one of my oh-god-what-if-I-have-cancer episodes. As we said, your first reaction shouldn’t be to Google whatever pain or discomfort you’re feeling. Peace won’t come overnight, but you should still reach it at whatever speed your mind finds best. If the pain or discomfort prolongs, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.
Mens sana in corpore sano
Translation: a healthy mind in a healthy body. It’s an old Roman proverb that still hasn’t lost its value. Most mental health experts would say physical exercise is a fantastic form of meditation and therapy. Also, a steady diet shouldn’t be avoided. Imagine you’ve got a relocation coming up soon. You’ll want to keep your good health during the moving process. We all know how those can affect the levels of stress we endure. That’s why you should exercise regularly and avoid eating unhealthy food.
Keep a diary to challenge your thoughts
Even if you don’t have health anxiety issues, it’s very beneficial for your overall well-being to keep a diary. Being in touch with yourself and keeping track of your mental processes is a must nowadays. But, let’s say you’ve noticed symptoms of health anxiety. You should always write down what you feel when fear kicks in. You can make two columns. In the first one – write what kind of pain, anxiety, or discomfort you are experiencing. In the second – write a “positive” reason why that might be happening. It has to be pretty benign, just like our health anxiety fears tend to be.
Avoid watching the news
This one’s pretty similar to the “try no to Google symptoms” solution. Anyway, we’re not saying you shouldn’t be informed. But, limiting how much info you handle each day might prove to be very helpful. For example, try not to browse social media as much as you used to, especially those panicky health-related groups. By constantly being influenced by that kind of content, it’s no wonder why many folks tend to have anxiety issues.
Last but not least, you should try meditation. Breathing exercises are also great for reducing anxiety levels in our minds. Get yourself in a comfortable position, play some ambient, soothing music and try to capture the moment. This is an exercise you can do whenever you have time, and it will most probably bring back the smile on your face.
As the old year draws to a close, the new one allows us to lead healthier lives. If you were wondering how to stop worrying about health issues, now you know some tips and tricks to help you handle the anxiety we all tend to feel, especially while constantly being bombarded by paranoia-filled news. Anyway, by doing some of the things we’ve mentioned above, we’re sure you’ll resist the urge to diagnose yourself or your loved ones with a terminal illness as soon as someone reports a mild headache.
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Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
Photo by Phillip Davies on Unsplash