Resources for Dealing with Health Anxiety
April 10, 2020
It comes as no surprise that right now we are all feeling a little edgier about the state of our health and wellbeing. With the world working out how to adapt to the new virus, the end of cold and flu season, and the start of spring hayfever, we may be feeling a little more sensitive to the tickle in our throat, the headache from a sleepless night, and just a sense of feeling ‘out of sorts’. Health anxiety is a real thing, and it can quickly spiral into a manifestation of feeling both psychologically and physically unwell. For all those who are struggling right now, we extend our warmest thoughts and provide a few resources you can turn to in times of trouble…
Try and Learn About Health Anxiety
Rather than filling in the gaps and trying to second guess every avenue of your health, try and find out what you can about the world of health anxiety. Knowing the signs and symptoms of health anxiety can help you to separate anxiety flareups from other physical illnesses. Instead of constantly googling symptoms and statistics which will lead to a feeling of imminent danger and unwellness, try instead to break the cog in the machine by reading an article on health anxiety. This guide from the Center for Clinical Interventions may be a good place to start.
Find Your Community
Struggling with health anxiety can feel lonely. You wonder why everyone around you seems so chill and it can be hard to talk about with those who don’t understand and just tell you ‘there’s nothing wrong with you’. Finding others who struggle can be helpful, but rather than immerse yourself wading knee-deep through forums of other health anxiety people who are in a panic, pick a podcast or public figure who speaks with authority on the subject. Some good podcasts for people with anxiety include The Anxiety Guy Podcast and Owning It from Caroline Foran.
Move and Meditate
Health anxiety can leave you in a state of flight or freeze as it can overwhelm the nervous system. One of the most important things you can do for your body in times of chaos is to move it if you have the option. Whether its home yoga, stretches, star jumps, dancing or shaking out each and every limb; there is nothing more powerful than getting your heart beating. Movement and exercise help you to remember that you are here, you are present and you are well. Follow this up with meditation and breathwork practice to keep your mental health flowing. Yoga with Adrienne is a beloved resource right now as is Alchemy of Breath.
Limit Your Intake
Right now there is a ton of stuff going on out in the world that makes it very difficult to switch off and can truly exasperate peoples problems with health anxiety. While it is challenging to turn a blind eye, we suggest if you are struggling then you should limit your news intake. Even if you set aside dedicated time for catching up on the daily news try and make it before your yoga or exercise session so that straightaway afterwards, you are moving all that nervous energy around and not just sitting in it. First thing in the morning and last thing at night are the worst times to immerse yourself in the news as they will leave a deeper imprint on disrupting your routine.
How have you been dealing with growing health anxiety? Share your favorite resources in the comments and let's all help each other through this.