5 Natural Ways To Get Through Anxiety

Health Anxiety Self Help

It can happen anywhere.

Before you know it, a spark ignites in your brain and sets you off with anxiety about your health.

For example, you hear on the news that someone your age has suddenly died of a terrible disease.

It was unexpected.

You watch the parents and children the person left behind talk about what a wonderful person he or she was and how they never knew that their loved one could die from such a horrible illness.

The reporter starts spilling statistics that the obscure disease kills one in 100,000,000 people and you immediately begin to worry that you could be next.

You start to feel dizzy.

Your heart races.

Sweat wells up on your palms and under your arms.

Your head starts to pound and your stomach knots up.

You are overcome by nausea and are sure you are about to pass out.

You are you certain you will be dead by morning.

You scour the internet searching for clues that you will succumb.

That small mole on your back?

It could be a tumor or an indication that flesh-eating bacteria are devouring your insides at this moment.

That small lump in your arm?

It could be an ingrowth of destructive cells waiting to ambush your body.

Or you don’t.

Instead you take a deep breath and try to slow your rate heart.

You rationally think about the statistics and the possibility that you actually have the aforementioned disease.

You steady your mind and employ all the ways of self-help you are learning.

You have gotten yourself out of another bout of health anxiety.

Instead you take a deep breath and try to slow your rate heart.

You rationally think about the statistics and the possibility that you actually have the aforementioned disease.

You steady your mind and employ all the ways of self-help you are learning.

You have gotten yourself out of another bout of health anxiety.

Health anxiety is a mental condition that is better known by the discontinued term hypochondriasis.

Sufferers may have extreme focus on physical symptoms such as pain or fatigue, and seek frequent medical care.

It causes major emotional distress and difficulty functioning as health concerns become a central part of a sufferer’s life.

The condition affects between one to three percent of the U.S. population, with Harvard’s Women’s Health Watch reporting that it could even be as high as 12 percent.

“I constantly fear I’m going to die for no reason, like my heart beats fast, I get dizzy or lightheaded, so I feel like something is wrong with my brain,” one suffered commented on a forum.

“I’ve also thought ‘maybe I’m dizzy because I have a tumor or aneurysm pressing on vessels in my brain, also triggering minor headaches here and there’.

The thoughts are endless, and with health anxiety, I now know that it’s just my brain freaking myself out and heightening my dizziness because of anxiety.”

Another sufferer told how he felt like he had a lump under his arm from laying on it wrong and then was convinced it was cancerous.

“You always feel very alone as it’s quite embarrassing as nobody that I know can relate to how I am or understand,” he said.

“We obviously don’t want to be this way and [it] is the most disabling feeling.”

The good news is that health anxiety is treatable.

By using a mix of self-help techniques and professional methods you can overcome your symptoms and live a normal life.

Here are five ways you can cope—and potentially completely rid yourself completely—of health anxiety.

1. Recognize How You Are Feeling And Breathe Deeply For Several Minutes Before Doing Anything Else.

When you see an upsetting situation on the news or hear about a concerning health condition, before you do anything, stop and breathe.

Recognize that you have a tendency to become worried about what you are seeing and make time for yourself to really think about it.

The best way to ensure that you are breathing well is to make sure that every breath is going in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Count to three with each breath and keep your diaphragm engaged.

Practice doing this 10 times a day and actively remember to use it each time you feel anxious.

Eventually, it will be become your first go-to method when you feel stressed about your health, which could have a positive impact on your overall well-being going forward.

2. Practice Mindfulness

This requires you to focus your complete attention on one activity for a whole three minutes.

In the year 2020, this amount of time feels like forever!

Studies have shown that most of us barely have an attention span over nine seconds, which is less than that of a goldfish!

Yet choosing an activity and really focusing on it allows us to practice doing it when it really counts.

For example, when washing dishes, you could focus on the feel of the sponge in your hand or how it compresses down when you press it into a plate.

Notice the size of its yellow section as opposed to its green section.

Really think about how the water sounds when it hits the sponge as opposed to when it hits a plate.

Feel the water on your skin.

Ask yourself questions related to the five sense as you scrub each dish.

How does the sun shining through the windows change the color of the dish?

How does each dish sound when it is washed?

Although it may feel silly, doing this exercise will help you to stop and think about your feelings as well and could save you a lot of worry long-term.

3. Use An Cctivity Book.

Search for one that focuses on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy methods, which allow you to process and assess the feelings you are having.

Some even provide humor to put you at ease while coloring or reading, such as this one that offers fun facts about aging, a step-by-step guide on how to build an underground bunker, and a primer on obscure diseases you probably do not have, but might believe you do.

4. Eat Healthfully.

While diet is not a sure-shot solution, numerous studies have been conducted that link poor dietary habits with anxiety.

This is because the gut contains the largest area of nerves outside of the brain, which make it extremely sensitive to stress and other emotions.

Because of this, doctors recommend eating a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet, which focuses on minimal processed foods and red meat, and the daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, fish, poultry, beans and eggs, as well as moderate portions of dairy products.

Eight foods that are often recommended to help anxiety sufferers include asparagus, avocado, blueberries, turkey, almonds, yogurt, spinach and salmon.

They also recommend cutting back on caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes (if you smoke).

5. Learn To Process Your Feelings And Challenge Worrying Thoughts.

There are many resources on the internet in the form of worksheets and self-help forms that provide a way to process your thoughts and evaluate them for whether or not they are valid.

Some sufferers have found reframing questions can be worthwhile.

For example, stop and ask yourself,

  • “What was it about the situation that disturbed or upset me?”
  • “What would be the worst thing that could happen?” “Is this fact or opinion?”
  • “What would someone else say about this situation?”
  • “Is my reaction in proportion to the actual event?”

The goal with this method is to ensure that you do not get stuck in your own head.

This will prevent you from becoming even more anxious about what you think could be happening with your body, but most likely is not.

You may want to even try using a worksheet, such as this one.

Health anxiety is real, and if you have it, the feeling of being severely ill can be terrifying.

Even though there are self-help techniques that you can employ, if it gets to be too much you may want to consult with a health professional or therapist for the guidance that you need.

It is not shameful to feel anxious about your health, regardless of the stigma that often exists.

When it seems as though you are the only one held prisoner by your thoughts of health anxiety, remember that thousands of others feel the way you do.

There is no need to suffer alone or stay in that state forever.

If you have any questions ask them below.

I’m always happy to help!

Interested in more help through self CBT?

Check out this article!

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