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The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world in unimaginable ways. For many, the pandemic spurred on a renewed interest in fitness and health – after all, paying close attention to your body can help you spot early signs and symptoms of an infection. For others, though, this close attention to one’s health can trigger an unhealthy fixation called health anxiety.
Sometimes referred to as hypochondria, health anxiety can cause a person to become obsessed with the idea that they have a hidden illness. They monitor their vital signs, obsessively search for their symptoms online, and disregard medical professionals who assure them that they’re perfectly healthy. If you’ve noticed an uptick in anxiety around your own health over the last few years, try these coping mechanisms to ease your mind:
Schedule Annual Medical Appointments
It’s not a bad thing to be concerned about your health. That’s why doctors recommend annual physicals, regular dental cleanings, and yearly pelvic exams for women. Simply scheduling these appointments and knowing that experts are looking out for your best interests can relieve a lot of health anxiety. Don’t be afraid to chat with your providers about any concerns you have about your health – they’ll be ready to investigate themselves and validate your worries or reassure you that you’re, in fact, perfectly healthy!
Become a Health Anxiety Expert
Instead of spending hours researching possible medical conditions you’re not sure you have, spend time reading up on health anxiety. Getting a better understanding of a condition you’re certain you have is a good way to channel your urge to Google potential diseases. The more you familiarize yourself with a particular concept, the more comfortable you’ll be with it. Anxiety rarely goes away completely, but knowing how health anxiety works can take away a lot of its power.
Talk with a Therapist
Therapists are anxiety experts. They can help you suss out which ideas are based in reality and which are likely caused by anxiety. A therapist can also prove instrumental in learning coping mechanisms for handling your anxiety. By understanding how your health anxiety manifests, you’ll be able to better recognize unhealthy thought patterns and make strides to overcome them.