Have you ever felt a random ache or pain and immediately started worrying if it was something more serious? Do you convince yourself that every sniffle is a sign that you’ve come down with some fatal illness? It’s normal to feel anxious every once in a while, but if you find yourself worrying more often than not, or your health concerns are getting in the way of your ability to function day to day, there’s a good chance you’re experiencing health anxiety. While frustrating, with the right knowledge and a few simple tools, it’s possible to manage health anxiety so that you can get back to feeling your best. Read on for some of our best tips.
Don’t Read into Things
They say knowledge is power, but it can also be a bit of a double-edged sword when it comes to health anxiety. Endlessly reading about symptoms online is a surefire way to send yourself spiraling, so limit your research to reliable sources and trusted healthcare professionals. Avoid the temptation to self-diagnose, instead focusing on learning about your condition as objectively as possible. Ask your doctor for clarification when needed.
Incorporating mindfulness techniques and relaxation exercises into your daily routine can both reduce anxiety and may even help to improve certain symptoms. Deep breathing, yoga nidra, and meditation are all excellent ways to cultivate mental clarity so that you can more easily differentiate between real health concerns and anxiety-driven fears. When anxious thoughts do surface, try to acknowledge them without judgment and gently redirect your focus to the present moment.
Seek Professional Help
Therapists and other mental health professionals can provide much-needed support by helping you learn to identify and challenge irrational thoughts, develop coping strategies, and desensitize you to your fears over time. Depending on the severity of your anxiety, psychological strategies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy may be enough, though medication may also be worth considering if you’re really struggling.