Health from Hypochondria (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.
You're not alone! Millions upon millions of everyday people, just like you, have started experiencing symptoms of health anxiety since 2020 with COVID-19 as the trigger. JournalOwl has partnered with psychologists and medical doctors alike to create thought-provoking journal challenges to help you uncover the psychology behind your everyday hurts, hang-ups, and problems. The beauty of our journal challenges is that you'll join a cohort of other people facing the same problem!
Step 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. Some people refer to this as "mindfulness" and others simply say its the habit of staying busy. Whatever you call it, we recommend that you take up a hobby starting today if you don't have one.
Painting, writing, walking, humming - whatever! For your first day, we want you to think long and hard about some of your favorite pastime activities. And we don't want to hear, "Well, I don't enjoy anything!" That's non-sense. There has to be something in this world that you enjoy doing today or enjoyed doing in the past.
Step 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.
Step 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
Step 4: Recognize that 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.
Step 5: Acknowledge Your Feelings Today
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.
Step 6: Focus on the positive
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.
Step 7: Don't Google Your Symptoms
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.
Step 8: Maintain a Normal Routine
Make sure you sleep and wake up simultaneously every day. Give 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.