If you have concerns about your physical health, it is important to know that you’re not alone. It can often be tough to identify when normal concerns about health cross into the realm of unhelpful health anxiety. Some of the things you might be experiencing if you have health anxiety include the following:
- Repeatedly asking for reassurance from friends, family, and medical professionals
- Continuing to think you’re unwell even after testing
- Avoiding certain activities as though you were sick
- Over-researching different health conditions
It may also feel like your worries for your health are taking over your life, leaving you little or no time for doing the things you enjoy. Health anxiety might infiltrate your thoughts throughout the day, even during entirely unrelated activities.
This article will explore some of the key ways to help you manage your health anxiety, giving you back your power so that you can live a happy, anxiety-free life.
1. Learn Self-Soothing Techniques
Being able to self-soothe when you’re feeling anxious can go a long way to help you overcome tough times. There are many types of self-soothing techniques that you could use when you find yourself feeling worried or anxious.
You might consider trying some self-care, like taking a relaxing bath or reading a favorite book. You can also give yourself permission not to worry, even if just for a few minutes. The longer you practice taking your mind off your anxiety, the easier it will become.
2. Find A Therapist
Therapy is one of the best ways to manage your mental health. With a therapist, you can work through your emotions and concerns, finding ways to handle things like health anxiety better.
It can take time to find a therapist who you’ll work well with, so be prepared to do some trial sessions with different professionals until you meet one that suits you.
Some people go to therapy for a short time in order to work through a particular issue or difficult time. Others see therapy as an ongoing process that can continue indefinitely.
3. Strengthen Your Body
A lot of health issues are caused by a lack of physical fitness and activity. The best thing you can do to help ensure your body remains healthy is to move it regularly.
There are many forms of exercise that could benefit your health long term, everything from boosting flexibility with yoga to increasing stamina with long-distance running. You’ll need to choose an activity that you enjoy so that you can make the practice sustainable.
You can start by making a habit of moving your body every day. Even something as simple and easy as a five-minute walk per day can have incredible benefits over time.
4. Get Regular Check-Ups
Sometimes the simplest way to overcome health anxiety is by getting yourself checked out by a doctor. If your health anxiety is more extreme, this may not be suitable, but in many cases getting an official clean bill of health will make a world of difference.
It is best to choose a comprehensive test that will put your mind at ease in as many ways as possible.
This full body scan from Ezra can detect a wide range of issues, including some of the most common forms of cancer in the different organs of the body. A check-up like this can help you see clearly that you don’t need to worry excessively about your health.
5. Do A Digital Detox
Many people who experience health anxiety find themselves spending hours researching different illnesses and symptoms. This research and the dwelling that accompanies it can make your health anxiety much worse.
Taking some time to go offline can help you manage and overcome the temptation to keep Googling your symptoms.
You could consider switching your smartphone to airplane mode for an hour or two each day. There are also many nice health benefits of leaving social media.
During this time, find something else to occupy your thoughts, like meeting up with friends, going to the cinema, or going for a walk.
6. Sleep Well
If you’re not getting good quality sleep, it can be even harder to manage your mental health. Our sleep quality makes a big difference to how we handle difficult times, so you should work on improving it where you can.
Ensure that your pillows, mattress, and bedding are good quality and replaced when necessary. Get into a good sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. You might also benefit from sleep podcasts or other tools to help you drop off to sleep quickly at night.
7. Be Open About What You’re Experiencing
Getting help from your loved ones when you’re experiencing difficult times can be invaluable. As the proverb goes, a problem shared is a problem halved, so talking to the people in your life about the worries you have about your health can do wonders for your mental health.
So often, our first instinct when we’re dealing with difficult times is to bury the feeling, but this will often only make things worse.
8. Keep A Diary
Tracking when you get anxious about your health can be an excellent way to identify any triggers you might have. You could start by writing down what you were doing, thinking, or feeling at the time.
Over time, you will be able to build a picture of any possible triggers and how they affect your day-to-day life. Understanding what causes your health anxiety will help your long-term goal of overcoming the feeling entirely. You could track your feelings in a notebook, on your smartphone, or using an organizer.
What is crucial is that you are consistent with your journaling to help you get a complete picture of the triggers and causes of your health anxiety.
Getting the help, you need to manage health anxiety is crucial. Mental health issues can be debilitating, leaving you feeling isolated and unable to enjoy life. Almost everyone will experience mental health concerns in their lifetime, and knowing the correct steps to take when you find yourself struggling is critical. It is best to try out a few of the techniques above until you find the things that help you keep your anxiety at manageable levels.