Since I’ve been hosting my Facebook Live Q&A sessions, the biggest subject that keeps coming up is health anxiety.
It was a big problem for me, so I’m not surprised by how many of you out there are being affected by it.
The constant need to worry (fuelled by the anxiety habit) means worrying about your body and health is easy – because it’s the closest thing you’ve got to worry about.
The littlest change or pain will instantly spark a chain of worry, especially for the already hypersensitive, highly anxious mind.
There are three crucial things you need to do to deal with health anxiety. The third in this list is the most crucial, but you can’t do it without doing these first two things first (so pay attention to them all!).
1. Know that you’re in the fear cycle
Imagine the eye of a storm. When you’re constantly worrying and dealing with health anxiety, that’s where you are – smack bang in the middle of a sh*t storm. The polite term would be ‘the fear cycle’. Your brain has got used to worrying, and it’s become a bad habit, so you go out looking for things to worry about. Seeing as death is one of our primary fears (my DP rule), scaring yourself half to death about your health will be a top priority. Continue to follow this pattern, and you have yourself a pretty bad habit to break. But that is the key (breaking the habit), and you can only do it by using time and practice – doing something different to what you’ve always done, and following that new pattern. With time and practice, things will change.
2. Get the reassurance you need and then move on
You most likely visit the doctor a lot to get reassurance. It’s also likely you’ve had tests done, and they’ve come back clear, but you’re still not convinced, no matter what the professionals are saying. This is all fuelled by the constant need for reassurance, driven by anxiety (of course). But it’s also the reason you’re stuck in a loop and will continue to go around in circles. As I said in point 1, you have to break the cycle if you want to move forward. If you have any doubts about any health concern, you should always speak to your doctor. Once you have the all clear, move on with living your life. Stop looking for constant reassurance, because you’re only fuelling the fear cycle.
And most importantly…
3. Realign your focus
You are going to get a lot more of whatever it is you’re focusing on – fact. If your focus is checking your body for changes and worrying about what might happen to you, you’re going to continue to get the bags of anxiety that comes with that thought process. Instead, your time and focus are much better spent on reality – the things you can do something about and control. What has worrying about anything ever done for you? Exactly. And it will continue like that until you decide to change it. Get yourself focused on something new – something healthy that will help you push your life forward in the direction you want to go. If it sounds simple, it’s because it is. It’s the implementation and the taking action bit that takes the effort. But the effort is well worth it. Completely life changing, in fact.
Here's my Facebook Live session on Health Anxiety. Come and join me on my next session and like my page so you don't miss out. See you soon!
ABOUT CARL VERNON
Carl Vernon is a best-selling author & speaker, talking and writing about all things anxiety, stress, success & wellbeing.