Overcoming health anxiety will be much easier if you can avoid some of the most common mistakes made by people trying to do so. So what follows are 3 of the most damaging and common mistakes you should do your very best to avoid:
1) Don’t Google Your Symptoms:
People with health anxiety will often Google their symptoms – by that I mean they will look for more information online about a particular feeling or symptom they may be suffering from. Even though this is done with good intentions, it almost always ends in disaster.
This is simply because people with health anxiety will typically continue to research their symptoms until they find something that backs up their worst fears. So anything reassuring they find will be dismissed in favour of the pessimistic discoveries.
To break this habit of researching your symptoms online, begin to limit how much time you allow yourself to do this. Make the reductions small to begin with, so they are easy to stick to.
And then slowly, over time, reduce the amount of time to zero.
You’re much more likely to stick to a slow, steady reduction like this when compared to going “cold turkey.”
2) Don’t Look For Reassurance From Friends & Family:
When you have health anxiety and you develop a physical symptom that worries you, it’s understandable that you want to tell someone and have then reassure you that it’s nothing serious.
But problems can develop when you do this too often with friends and family members.
It’s impossible to understand health anxiety unless you’ve experienced it firsthand, so those you’re closest to will generally not be able to empathise with you or your situation.
Approaching friends and family too often with your health worries can often lead to them becoming frustrated and angry with you. This tension can rapidly increase and the stress that follows can cause you even further problems and even further physical symptoms.
Your relationships with those you’re closest to can also be damaged if you begin to discuss your health anxiety worries with them too often.
The solution to all of these potential problems is to only talk about your health anxiety to other people who have – or have had – health anxiety themselves.
They’ll understand your situation completely, and they’ll also be able to offer you the reassurance you’re looking for.
3) Don’t Ask Yourself How You Feel:
If you have health anxiety then you probably ask yourself how you feel hundreds of times more often than someone who does not. This can lead to you noticing even the slightest physical sensations that most people would never notice or be aware of.
And then when you notice a physical symptom you’ll begin to monitor it obsessively, constantly asking yourself it feels worse or if it feels better.
People who do not have health anxiety simply to not think like this, so it should be your goal to stop this way of thinking.
The best first step to take to stop this kind of thinking is to give yourself routines and tasks to complete at the times of the day when your mind is most likely to wander onto the subject of, “How do I feel?”
One of the times this is most likely to happen is first thing in the morning when you wake up. The first thing on your mind, every morning, may be, “How do I feel?”
The best way to stop this is to get up immediately and get right into a pre-planned routine to stop yourself having time to let this train of thought develop.
So have a shower, make breakfast, get dressed, and if you have any free time then fill it with something – cleaning, exercising, anything to stop yourself from having a mind that’s free to wander.
Try to implement a similar strategy at all times of the day that you’re likely to slip into asking yourself how you feel.
By successfully avoiding these 3 common mistakes you’ll massively increase your chances of overcoming health anxiety.