Health Anxiety: How to Manage Stress Related to the Health Process

health anxiety

You want to be healthy.  You want to go for regular checkups to make sure you are doing well.  But the stress and anxiety over the medical process and waiting for test results makes you want to run and bury your head in the sand.  I know exactly how you feel, waiting to see if you have high cholesterol or an abnormal heart rhythm or high blood pressure is enough to give you high blood pressure.

At the same time you are worried that you might have health problems, our medical system and insurance bureaucracy can create more stress and anxiety all on its own.  You can’t seem to win – you are stressed and anxious when managing the medical system and stressed and anxious waiting for health results tests.

So how do you manage all this health anxiety?

Just Do It

First off it is always better to know what is going on with your body then to not know.  When you know if you have health issues it is easier to manage them, by eliminating all “what-if’s” you can get on with taking care of your health.  Don’t let the headache of waiting for an appointment, filling out the paperwork, remembering to fast for testing and all the other things required for your doctor’s visit stop you from knowing what is going on with your health.  Stop right now and make an appointment.

Treatment for Anxiety and Stress

Once you have taken the step of making an appointment with a doctor you can begin to work on some stress management techniques that will help you get through all the health testing and waiting for the results.  I believe this waiting period is the hardest part of any health anxiety since you can do nothing productive about it, but instead just have to sit and wait!

Here are some ways you can manage the stress and anxiety:

  1. Meditation – taking the time to silence your mind and give it a break is great for your stress level.  Not very good at it?  Try a guided meditation.  I love to use these as I can focus on the words and not if I am meditating the right way or not.
  2. Prayer – the power of pray in calming your mind and spirit is amazing.  Turning over your concerns over to a greater power removes your need to control the outcome.
  3. Journal – having a safe place to spill your thoughts and concerns helps reduce stress.  If you do this before bed time it also clears your mind so that you can sleep better, and sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health.
  4. Exerciseexercise is one of my favorite stress relievers.  It helps you take your mind of the stress; it releases good hormones and has the added benefit of making you healthy.  Start by walking today.
  5. Focus on positive self talk.  When you continually tell yourself that the test results will be bad your stress and anxiety sky rocket.  Take the time to stop yourself from negative self talk.  Re-phrasing what you say to yourself is a powerful way to reduce anxiety.

Remember, that your health depends on knowing what you need to do in order to prevent disease or to make it better today.  The only way to know this is to check in with your doctor at least once a year.  Don’t let your health anxiety get in the way of your healthy life.

Photo Courtesy of: bottled_void


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