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!).
The Less-Stress Lifestyle is now ready for your eyes (or ears, if you prefer audio).
I wrote this book to put out a strong message.
In short, that message is you don’t have to put up with being miserable and stressed. You have more options than you think you have now, and even the smallest change can make a big difference.
To give you a peek into what you can expect, here are fifteen things you can do to create a less-stress lifestyle - these have been recently featured in GQ Magazine, The Mirror, The Sunday Mail, and Woman's Own.
If you want to know where you’ll be in the next three years, you only need to take a look at what you’re doing right now. No crystal ball required.
Put simply - your environment is dictating and shaping your future. That’s why you need to start paying attention to what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with.
Learning to manage your environment is essential if you want to improve your lifestyle and deal with your anxiety and stress better. Here are five ways you can start doing it from today.
You wouldn’t build a new house on a weak foundation – it would collapse.
Why is it we try to build a future with an anxious and stressed mind and expect things not to topple down?
If you build a future on weak goals, broken promises, no independence, no investment in yourself, or by chasing money and happiness, it’s only a matter of time before big issues pop up.
If you want to guarantee a stronger future and give yourself the best chance to deal with the things life is going to throw at you, a strong foundation is a must.
Here are five things you can do to build a stronger and better future with less stress and anxiety.
When anxiety gets its grubby little paws on you, it’s hard to it shake off.
Irrational ‘what if . . .’ thoughts take over and things spiral out of control.
These thoughts bounce around in your head and constant worry fuels the fear cycle. Before we know it, a bad day becomes a bad week, month, year, or even decade.
We’re all going to go through stressful and anxious times, so recognising this pattern is your first step to dealing with it better and stopping it in the future.
Here are five things you can do to instantly reduce your anxiety.
We tend to think of stress as all bad, but it’s not. Without stress, we wouldn’t get anything done, and if you’re pushing your life forward, getting things done and achieving your goals, stress will always be part of that.
Stress is a fixed and healthy part of our lives, and there’s no point in trying to fight it or get rid of it. Instead, we need to make stress work for us by managing it better.
Here are ten ways you can manage your stress and make it work for you.
If anxiety is playing a big part in your life right now, you’re not the only one.
For years I thought I was the only one.
I suffered from high anxiety for about fifteen years, and for ten of those years I lived in complete denial and didn’t tell a soul. I thought I was the only person on the planet experiencing high anxiety until Google proved otherwise.
I’ve been through the lot, and it’s likely I’ve experienced everything you have. If you’re currently dealing with anxiety, I have no doubt you’ll be able to relate to most of the reasons I’m about to highlight.
I know high anxiety is destroying lives. It’s preventing lots of you from fulfilling your dreams like it did me.
It’s even making some of you so fearful you can’t leave your home. That makes me sad (and angry). Why? Because I was this person, and I know with the right answers and a bit of willpower and belief, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Ever since I turned my life around, I’ve made it my mission to help others do the same, and my hope is I can help you understand anxiety more by providing answers so that you can do something about it.
Here are the top five reasons you’re anxious right now, including what you can do about it.
I used to avoid self-help.
Just the term ‘self-help’ would be enough to put me off.
There was a real embarrassment attached to it for me.
Me? Self-help? How dare you!
My internal picture of self-help included high-fives, cheesy grins, groups of people jumping up and down, and arms raised up to the sky as people were overcome with an invisible power.
Although this is partly accurate, the embarrassment I attached to self-help was seriously holding me back.
That’s why I’ve dedicated this post to anybody who feels the same – because if you give self-help a try, it might just change your life.
Here are six reasons you need self-help and why you shouldn’t be embarrassed about it.
Nobody is perfect, but odds would say that, right now, you have toxic people in your life.
Let’s define what I mean by toxic people:
Ring any bells?
It’s the last point in this list that is the most important because toxic people will bring you down without hesitation.
Identifying toxic people in your life and doing something about them will prevent you from lots of unnecessary hardship and unhappiness. Why?
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.
The best way to connect with Carl and join the discussion is on his Facebook page