21 Days to Overcoming Health Anxiety
Health anxiety is an illogical and obsessive fear of developing a major medical illness. It's also known as disease anxiety, and it used to be known as hypochondria. A person's fantasy of physical symptoms of sickness characterizes this ailment.
This is not uncommon, as COVID-19 has set in our lives and refuses to go. We're worried about our health and for the safety of our loved ones. These practices where this anxiety proceeds to take over lead to a powerful sense of catastrophizing. In layman's terms: it's to envisage the worst-case scenario for an action or event, consider a situation or occurrence as a disaster, or have a potentially disastrous result.
As we are right at the advent of the New Year, we have taken it upon ourselves to help you overcome this anxiety, as it doesn't lead to anything but more trouble for your peace of mind and health. We will offer you 21 tips you can use to overcome this, along with some reflective journaling prompts that you can use on the days leading up to and after the New Year.
1. Take Up A Hobby
It's critical to take your focus away from a specific issue if you notice yourself becoming overly preoccupied with it. Turning your attention to activity is one of the simplest ways to achieve this.
Regardless of the activity, the idea is to pay complete attention to what you're doing.
2. Put On Your Headphones
Try not to get into "autopilot" mode while listening to music. Instead, pay attention. If there are any lyrics, pay attention to them. Make an effort to recognize particular instruments. In your mind's eye, visualize the sounds or words. This exercise can assist you in bringing your focus back to the present moment.
3. The 5-to-1 Exercise
Examine your current surroundings and make the following observations:
- Five things you can see
- Four items you can touch
- Three things you can hear
- Two things you can smell
- Something you can savor
4. Thoughts Are Not Facts
Thoughts aren't the same as facts. We accept our opinions as facts. Instead, we should practice a technique called cognitive defusion.
We learn to recognize and question our negative ideas through cognitive defusion. This process of identifying and challenging takes time and effort. It is beneficial to engage closely with a qualified therapist or psychiatrist to build coping methods.
Recognize how you're feeling. At this time, there is no right or wrong way to feel. The mere act of recognizing your emotions and sensations is a decisive first step toward lowering their intensity.
Write down: your feelings, no matter how insignificant they may seem.
6. Don't Go Surfing The Internet
Scouring news websites and social media for as much information as possible on the coronavirus is probably not helpful and will likely increase your anxiety rather than alleviate it. Limit your news consumption to once a day at most, and make sure you're only reading news from reputable websites and sources.
Instead, journal down positive things in your life during this challenging time.
7. Google Is Not Your Friend
If you're worried about your health, Google is not your friend! A restless mind will scan for worst-case situations, so you're most likely just taking in all of the frightening information available. This indicates that you aren't getting a balanced view of things.
Instead, note: Better ways to spend your time during moments you want to spend on the internet.
8. Maintain A Normal Routine
Make sure you sleep and wake up simultaneously every day. ive yourself something to look forward to each day; find a method to pamper yourself. Make contact with relatives and friends. We're social creatures, so find inventive ways to stay in touch if you're socially distancing yourself.
Journal a weekly timetable with all the things you need to accomplish.
9. Don't Blame Yourself
Your brain's function is influenced by the situations, neglect, and traumas you've experienced throughout your life. These encounters shaped and shaped your own own "worry pack." And, you are not to fault for whatever is causing the unwanted thoughts. Your "anxiety pack" was not created by you.
Ask yourself: How did I develop this anxiety in the first place?
10. Do What Is Best For You
Not every course is appropriate for everyone. This is because each person is influenced differently. You'll want to figure out what works best for you, which may take some trial and error.
Write down: A plan of action you want to pursue, comparing different options.
11. Become More Self Aware
The more acquainted you are with something, the more quickly you will be with it. That isn't a secret. Consider a project that you're particularly concerned about. You'll be less worried if you learn the subject and have a thorough comprehension of it. Anxiety will not go gone totally because it is a part of your personality. On the other hand, understanding and self-awareness can help you loosen your grip.
Ask yourself: How much time does dealing with health anxiety take up in your life?
12. Eat Right
Eating right is a great way to curb your anxiety and keep it at bay. The healthier you eat, the more control you will have with what you choose to put in your body, and therefore over the outcome of your lifestyle.
Make a list of your bad eating habits and things you want to change.
Make your body move. Exercise is essential for both physical and emotional well-being. It can help you feel better by reducing anxiety and increasing your sense of well-being. Three to five 30-minute workout sessions each week are ideal. Choose exercises that you like so you can look forward to them.
Write down your feelings post-workout.
14. Sleep The Blues Away
Pay attention to your sleeping patterns. For excellent sleep, both amount and quality are essential. Doctors recommend getting eight hours of sleep per night. Create a regimen to help you catch some shuteye if anxiety keeps you up at night.
Before bed, write down your intentions for the next day.
15. Caffeine and Alcohol Intake
Caffeine and alcohol should be consumed in moderation. Anxiety can be exacerbated by caffeine, which is an "upper," and alcohol, which is a "downer." If you can, limit or avoid them. Remember that caffeine isn't just found in coffee and soda.
Keep track of your alcohol and caffeine intake through journaling.
16. Have A "Worry Time"
Make a worry schedule. Although it may seem counterintuitive to plan to worry, experts recommend that you set aside time to think about your anxieties. Spend 30 minutes figuring out what's bugging you and what you can do about it. Every day, at the same time, have a "worry session." Don't get caught up in the "what-ifs." Concentrate on the source of your anxiety.
Write down the outcome of that session.
17. Take A Deep Breath
Take a deep breath. It lets your brain know that everything is fine. This allows your mind and body to unwind. Lay down on a flat surface with one hand on your tummy and the other on your chest to get the most out of it. Take a deep breath in slowly. Make sure it fills your stomach to the point where it rises slightly. Hold it for a few seconds before slowly releasing it.
Write down all the thoughts that occurred to you during this exercise.
18. Volunteer Work
Volunteer in your neighborhood. Spend time doing good for other people. It can assist you in getting out of your brain. Volunteer or undertake another community service. You'll not only feel good about giving back, but you'll also create relationships that can serve as a support system for you.
Journal your feelings toward assisting other people.
19. Be Vary of Triggers
Consider the times and places when you've felt the most apprehensive. If necessary, jot them down. Look for patterns and work on techniques to avoid or tackle panic and anxious feelings. Knowing what's causing your worry can help you put your problems into context. When it happens again, you'll be better prepared.
Note down all your triggers.
20. Don't Discount Treatment and Therapy
Health anxiety, like other anxiety disorders, can be devastating. It's time to seek treatment from a mental health professional if your health problems interfere with your life.
You can keep journal entries accounting for your treatment progress.
21. Give Yourself Some Credit
Don't be so hard on yourself, and remember that recovery or treatment is an upward hill, and you need to keep at it.
Write down all you have been able to accomplish, and read it from time to time.
For further information, check out other JournalOwl articles on health anxiety.
JournalOwl is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, medication, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptoms or conditions. JournalOwl is not authorized to make recommendations about medication or serve as a substitute for professional advice. You should never disregard professional psychological or medical advice, or delay in seeking treatment, based on anything you read on JournalOwl’s website or platform.