‘I Suffer From Anxiety Because I Want To Stay Healthy’: What To Do?

I suffer from anxiety because I want to stay healthy.

Obsessions are not good, not even those that are related to what, in the beginning, is beneficial to us. For example, the obsession with health which, like any other obsession, has very negative effects.

It is clear that being more or less aware of the well-being of our body is something necessary. However, when this attention is exaggerated and gives way to anxiety, we are talking about something harmful that can considerably undermine our mental health. In scientific terms, this problem is called illness anxiety disorder, in the event that it becomes a serious pathology. In milder cases, we might simply call it health anxiety.

It must be kept in mind that both terms refer to various degrees of disorder that are in no way healthy. What is healthy is to worry functionally about our physical condition and maintain good habits in this regard. The secret, as always, is finding the balance between concern and reality.

In today’s article we will talk about health anxiety and what its negative effects are, as well as how to do so that this anxiety does not become an obstacle to our daily life and our well-being.

Health anxiety and negative effects on our daily lives

Fortunately, in today’s world people show an increasing inclination to develop healthy habits that strengthen their physical and mental state. For example, the habit of smoking, which, although a few decades ago was well considered socially, is now increasingly reviled in that it undermines the health of the individual and that of those around him.

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These new habits are actually very positive. The problem comes when they become an obsession and, therefore, trigger anxiety. For example, in my psychotherapy consultation there are many who come to this conclusion: “I suffer from anxiety about wanting to stay healthy2.

And if the person goes from a functional concern to constantly ruminating about their state of health, we would have a problem, which in no way positively affects their well-being.

The person thus enters a cycle in which, despite not being sick, they feel bad, both physically and mentally which further increases their anxiety about being well.

Symptoms of anxiety about maintaining health

Sometimes it is difficult to be aware that we have an anxiety problem, and often worrying about our health is not seen as something “exaggerated” or “abnormal.” Below we present some symptoms that can guide you in this regard:

1. If you are very attentive to any physical discomfort

If you ask yourself several times a day about a small discomfort you feel and insist on the reason for its appearance (even though it is not a major pain), you may be experiencing a symptom of health anxiety.

2. If you constantly look for what discomfort you feel

If you are always checking what hurts and how and when it hurts, and you are also looking for information about a possible related pathology.

3. If you go into ruminative loops

Rumination is a symptom of obsession, so if you are constantly thinking about it, You may be facing a clear sign of health anxiety. These loops also involve telling the topic to your circle, in a constant and monothematic way.

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4. If you become obsessed with disease prevention

If any small pain is an excuse to change your habits, administer some medication yourself or any other solution you have decided on.

What can we do about health anxiety?

First, as with any obsession, we must face what leads us to rumination. Below we give you some guidelines to carry out a realistic questioning of your fears:

1. Take statistics into account

The probability that you are suffering from a serious illness is really tiny, if we look at the statistics. In any case, consider that they are inferior to what your obsession tells you.

2. Beware of catastrophic thoughts

They are the fertilizer for obsessions. Fortunately, you live in a world where, assuming you have something bad, It is very likely that there is an effective treatment for it.

3. Follow medical check-ups naturally

Neither advance them nor delay them just because of your anxiety. You will only prolong the anguish.

4. Seek professional help

And, of course, if you see that you can’t do it alone, look for a professional to guide you.

General conclusions

Obsession usually involves simplification or a “black and white” vision of reality. For example, reading that salt can increase blood pressure and cause heart failure and coming to the “conclusion” that salt is bad in every way.

It is possible that, if you are on the wheel of health anxiety, you tend to almost blindly follow a “healing” mechanism, whether it is running constantly and without rest, practicing yoga at all hours or exclusively eating specific foods, without exception.

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However, healthy habits are anything but obsessive. The secret is balance; You can moderate your salt consumption, but, unless your doctor has strictly prohibited it, there is nothing wrong with occasionally adding a little of this seasoning to your rice. Remember that health must not only be physical, but also mental, and that only with a balance between both spheres can true well-being be obtained.