Health anxiety. Hypochondria. These simple words have been so very misconstrued over the years, so that individuals who worry excessively over their health are made to feel ashamed. The truth is, however, that this is a very real mental health disorder, and individuals with hypochondria are not usually trying to get attention. In fact, they’d much more often prefer to be left alone with their unhealthy thoughts. The truth? They can’t help it, anymore than an individual with bipolar can help their mood swings, or someone with PTSD can help their flashbacks.
If you are one of those individuals who are struggling to cope with health anxiety, start out by taking a look at these tips and tricks. While they will not cure your disorder, they will help make it more manageable.
Tips & Tricks For Coping With Health Anxiety
1. NEVER Google health symptoms. It’s very tempting, and you may be doing it in an effort to make yourself feel better. I mean, how bad could a little cough be? What harm could this tiny dot on my leg do? If you ask Google, you will be convinced that you are dying of something. Nearly every person with health anxiety is guilty of this, but refrain.
2. Practice deep breathing techniques. Breath in deeply through your nose until you feel that your lungs are full, hold for three seconds, and then release the air fully. Repeat as much as you need. This will help to bring you back to the here and now. It will also lower your heart rate, and increase the oxygen flow to your brain, helping your entire body to calm down.
3. Be less aware of your body, not more. For many individuals with hypochondria, every tiny twinge is noticed. That is because you have become hyperaware of your body, and some things you notice are normal things. They happen to everyone else, but everyone else doesn’t notice them. Becoming a little less aware of your body will help you cope, and help you determine if there is actually something wrong.
4. Seek a confident or professional. Sometimes a professional is needed when things escalate. Yet many people refuse to go a psychiatrist because they don’t want to be labeled as crazy. Even if you refuse actual professional help, you might try seeking a confident in someone you trust. It often helps to talk about things, and that simple task will often ease your worries in itself. Journaling is another option to get your thoughts out there.