A headache is a brain tumor, and indigestion is a life-threatening heart attack.
Health anxiety has a fantastic ability to make you believe all sorts of sinister things.
And it’s not just about you.
Your entire family is at risk. Your kids, grandkids, spouse – they’re all at threat.
Dr. Google has a lot to answer for, too.
As soon as a symptom arises you hit the internet wondering how long you have to live. The answer generally comes back that you don’t have long, and so the panic starts.
You need reassurance, so the doctor’s surgery becomes a second home. You also need constant reassurance from the people around you (if you’ve told them you’re suffering from health anxiety – if you haven’t, it’s worse because you bottle it inside).
You need to know you’re not dying, and you’re sent off for numerous tests – all coming back clear.
How can that be? How can it be these constant headaches aren’t something more sinister? How can I feel this sick and dizzy if there isn’t anything wrong with me?
I don’t believe you doctor. Check me again.
Tests are clear again.
Health anxiety has won again.
Anxiety about your health is a very powerful and persuasive emotion, because it’s focused on our survival (possible death). Seeing as survival and staying alive is our #1 instinct, it becomes our #1 priority, and anything flagged as a potential threat consumes us with fear and worry.
When you overthink, it creates problems that don’t exist, and if you focus on something enough, it will become an issue.
That freckle on your skin will continue to get bigger and look more sinister if you keep looking at it.
That headache will become more frequent and intense if you concentrate on it.
The floor will feel as though it’s jumping up at you if you focus on it enough.
I found that my anxiety related symptoms were all in my head, and the more I focused on them, the more I experienced them.
It’s common sense really – the more you focus on something, the more of it you’re going to get – the more you’re going to attract it to your life.
Focus on your anxiety related symptoms and you get more of them.
Focus on what it is you want, because that’s what you’ll start to attract in your life instead.
When I focused less on my symptoms and more on my day-to-day activities, I found the symptoms subsided. They simply ceased to exist.
Rather than focus on the bad things you’re convinced will happen to your family, focus on what you and your family want and need. A holiday, a day out, or a family sit down and meal perhaps?
Take one day at a time and keep focusing on the things you want. With time and practice, every day will get better.
If there is something that requires genuine medical attention, don’t be afraid to visit your doctor. That’s what they are there for. Nobody is judging you, and your health is the #1 priority.
It’s another issue if you find yourself constantly visiting the doctor or the internet for reassurance. If that’s the case, health anxiety is becoming an issue, and you should look to do something about it.
If realigning your focus is still a struggle and you need extra support, start with a talking therapy (counselling). Speak to your doctor or contact Anxiety UK.
There is always help available, and you don’t have to suffer any longer.
Watch my video on Overcoming Health Anxiety on Facebook and Instagram.
ABOUT CARL VERNON
Carl Vernon is a best-selling author & speaker, talking and writing about all things anxiety, stress, success & wellbeing.