Health worries trigger my anxiety

Flickr image by: Mohammad Afshar

In this week's podcast we're responding to a message we received about health anxiety:

"I find concerns about health are a big trigger for my anxiety. In fact, I often wonder if it is the other way round i.e. that in me, anxiety caused by stress, work and life in general, manifests as anxiety about health.

I can now usually predict if I am going to have a anxiety flare up by how often I’ve been worrying about getting cancer or some other debilitating illness, not least mental illnesses. A common worry for me is anxiety that my anxiety is actually a sign of bi-polar disorder, or that I’m having a break down.

Of course, this makes me even more anxious and feeds the dreaded vicious circle of symptoms. Once I’m calm again, I can think clearly and see the anxiety for what it is (i.e. anxiety and not something I need to be sectioned for) but in the midst of adrenalin-fuelled thought patterns, it can be hard to think straight."

Health worries and anxiety

This is an interesting question that looks at health anxiety from a new angle. Rather than feeling anxious about specific symptoms and what we fear they might mean, this question asks: “can heightened anxiety cause us  to worry more about ourselves, our health, and even our sanity.”

When Anxiety Makes us Worry About Our Health

If we're feeling more anxious in general we can easily become more aware of aches and pains and other symptoms. We may become hyper-vigilant and notice everything in our body in an anxious way. And when anxiety settles again, we may not notice physical sensations so readily.

What Helps?

Take a deep breath and bring yourself to the present moment. Remind yourself of your present moments truth. What do you know to be true right now? Where are you right now? What are you doing right now?

It can be the simplest acknowledgement of an everyday task, for example: “I’m standing in my kitchen washing dishes.” Or: “I’m sitting in a chair reading a book.” That's what you know right now. And the more you can bring your mind back to your breath and back to what you know for sure in this moment the more you can protect yourself from your mind flying off into negative constructions and anxious thoughts.

The more you can anchor yourself in present moment awareness, the more you can spare yourself from relentless and exhausting “what if” thoughts about your health or about any other anxiety.

Once you've rooted yourself in the present moment you can use EFT Tapping to calm specific concerns and help yourself feel more safe and more comfortable.

For further tips and more detailed coverage of this question about health anxiety please listen to the full podcast below.

Points covered in this podcast include:

- how anxiety can increase all our fears, especially those about thealth

- coping skills we use to keep calm when such fears arise

Recommended Resources:

EFT for Anxiety Relief

Introduction to EFT Teleclass

How to Calm Your Fragile Mind

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