Health Anxiety And The Rebound Effect Part 2

So through part 1 you have now pinpointed whether or not you truly have hypochondriasis (health anxiety), and you’ve also learned more about what I like to call the rebound effect (if you haven’t read part 1 I suggest you go back and read it before carrying on). So the question now is what do we do about it? How do we break the neverending cycle that the rebound effect and our health anxiety is causing you? To answer that question I should share with you a quote I heard once that has stuck with me for a while and that quote is:

Only those who have patience to do the simple things perfectly, ever acquire the skills to do difficult things easily.

So today after reading this post our goal is to start simple, master those simple things, take control of what is adding to our health anxiety and hypochondriac state, and overcome your health anxiety one small step at a time. So are you ready? Let’s go!

True Progress

The first thing I want you to do is grab a piece of paper and put a line right through the middle. On the top of the left side of the paper I want you to write down True Progress, and on the other side of the line I want you to write down A Cycle Of Coping. I want you to think back to some of the times when you’ve felt free from your health anxiety worries, some of these times could be when you were hanging around a certain friend, a certain job you were involved in, a certain activity that you did, a sport that you were commit to. This will take some effort from you to go back in time slightly, and remember what caused you to feel like you were in a different state through your body and your thoughts.

A Cycle Of Coping

On the right side of the paper you have the title A Cycle Of Coping, and on this side it’s time to think about and rid yourself of the things that keep you moving in circles around your health anxiety condition. this list could contain things you do unconsciously that you are just now starting to realize is adding to the rebound effect and your health anxiety cycle. But we need to bring them out into the open if we’re going to stop your health anxiety once and for all. You could add things like turning to my ‘safety net’ (other anxiety sufferers online) for reassurance every time a new symptom of anxiety appears, calling my family doctor to set up an appointment, taking an anti anxiety medication every time I feel like I’m spiralling out of control, researching my new symptoms of anxiety online through search engines like Google or other anxiety groups.

This list is a huge step forward, but I’m warning you now some of the things you add to this list you won’t like. But you deep down will know they should belong to the cycle of coping list simply because this has been your comfort net for so long, and yet you are still in the same hypochondriac state as you were in weeks, months or even years ago. The realization of what feeds your health anxiety, and what prevents you from falling into the cycle of coping is going to be a powerful exercise and you deserve a life better then this… don’t you?

This could be the most important 10 minutes of your life

I don’t want you to rush this exercise, I want you to think it through and fully realize what’s helping you and what’s hurting you. Letting go of some of those daily comforts such as turning to ‘DR Google’ for answers for example, could be difficult at first but in time you’ll see just how much stress and anxiety you’ve let go of simply by following through with your list.

Don’t forget to hang the list on your fridge door, or a place where you’ll run into it in your home

You have to be reminded of this list consistently, so make sure that it’s visible. Each time you are tempted into doing something from the cycle of coping list don’t punish yourself, but just realize and understand that this was the old you. To begin the changes you truly want deep down it’s time to completely rid yourself of the list on the right and fully commit to the list on the left, only then will freedom from your anxious thoughts and your health anxiety condition begin to manifest.

Treating Health Anxiety – 5 Tips You Can Use Right Now

Treating health anxiety can be difficult, but there are some simple and effective things you can do to get yourself on the road to recovery. What follows are 5 simple tips that you can put into action right now. If you can follow some or all of these tips you’ll be amazed at the difference they can make.

1) Don’t Google Symptoms: If you have health anxiety then you’ll often “Google” your symptoms, looking for reassurance that you don’t have the illness or disease you fear you have. In theory this should work, but it never does.

And that’s because, when you do find something that reassures you, you’ll continue looking until you find something that backs up your fears. This isn’t logical, but it’s the way the mind works if you have health anxiety.

Going “cold turkey” can be hard if you’re a habitual “Googler” of symptoms. If you fit into this category then start to limit the time you spend looking up your symptoms online.

Gradually decrease the time you allow yourself for this, until you’ve stopped doing it altogether! This is one of the most beneficial things you can do if you suffer with health anxiety.

2) Surround Yourself With “Recovery”: Find people on forums and message boards who once suffered with health anxiety and have since gone on to beat it.

Read books by people who’ve beaten health anxiety, and all forms of panic disorder.

We get what we focus on, and if you begin to spend more time thinking about and studying recovery, rather than the health anxiety itself, you’ll find that you begin to move towards recovery yourself, almost without trying.

3) Know When To Keep It To Yourself: One of the biggest frustrations people with health anxiety face is the lack of understanding from friends and family.

The more you try to explain your worries, and the more you try to find reassurance from loved ones that you’re not actually dying, the more they lose patience and the more often an argument begins.

And it’s not your friends and family’s fault – it’s simply impossible to understand health anxiety unless you’ve suffered with it yourself.

So if you feel like you need to talk, or you feel like you need reassurance about one of your symptoms, turn to someone who’s had health anxiety in the past, and not a friend or a family member.
The tension that develops when you continually turn to loved ones is unhealthy for them, for you, and for your health anxiety.

4) Exercise: Exercise has been proven to decrease anxiety in all forms of panic disorder, and especially in health anxiety.

Not only will the exercise distract you from your worries while you’re doing it (thus giving your mind a break from the constant worrying), but the physical activity will get your heart pounding and your blood pumping.

Many of the physical symptoms you suffer due to your health anxiety can be greatly reduced and even eliminated altogether simply by being more active.

5) Get A Good Night’s Sleep: Getting a good night’s sleep may be easier said than done, especially for someone who’s suffering with extreme anxiety. But if you can find ways to improve the quality of your sleep you will notice an incredible difference in the way you feel.

One of the worst side effects of anxiety is not being able to sleep, or having unrestful sleep when you do actually manage to drift off.

By overcoming your problems with sleep, many of the other problems associated with all forms of anxiety and panic disorder will disappear.

To get a better night’s sleep, try to make the following new habits:

Go to bed at the same time each time, and wake up at the same time each morning. It’s much easier to get good quality sleep when you stick to a regular sleeping routine.

Don’t do anything stimulating for an hour before you go to bed. No TV, no radio, no exercise, no caffeine, no eating. If you have extreme problems with your sleep, even reading before bed can be too much.

Listen to relaxation CDs while you lie in bed for 10 minutes before you try to sleep. The sounds of rain and the ocean and the forest all work very well in calming the mind.

Have a large drink of water before you go to bed and as soon as you wake up (make sure to go to the bathroom before you get into bed, though. Getting up in the middle of the night to pee is the last thing you need!).

Make following these tips your new goal. If you can stick to some, or preferably all, of these tips you’ll be astonished at the positive change that occurs.