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Health Anxiety: Managing Anxiety

Whether you have diagnosed anxiety or not, the current climate outbreak has led to increasing levels of stress and worry which can severely impact mental health. Furthermore, the stress can lead to increased panic attacks, and OCD symptoms may intensify while self-isolation can also negatively affect our mental wellbeing. However, to maintain good health and well-being, we need to focus on achieving a positive mindset and energy.

So, how can we manage health anxiety during a pandemic?

What Is Causing Health Anxiety?

Up to 5% of the population suffer from diagnosed health anxiety, while at least 10% have some form of clinical anxiety. However, anxiety levels for everyone can increase during high-stress situations such as this Coronavirus outbreak.

There are several reasons why health anxiety may increase;

  1. Medical uncertainty – Currently, there are very few answers to our question about the virus, which can increase anxiety levels as we lack control over treatment and avoidance.

  2. Unfamiliarity – Having to change routines and being in an unfamiliar situation can also cause our panic levels to rise as we are typically creatures of habit.

  3. Leadership failures – During international events, we look to leaders to take control of the situation, when leaders and their interventions fail; we become distrusting and anxious.

  4. Conflicting information – We look to experts for reassurance, and when there is conflicting information from medical experts, we don’t know what to do or expect.

  5. Synergistic anxieties – Medical concerns can couple with other anxieties, such as financial worry, which tap into our stressors.

With all of these aspects, it is entirely understandable that you may be suffering from anxiety, stress, or simply being uncomfortable or uneasy about your routine being interrupted.

However, this anxiety, stress and worry do not help your mental health or the situation. If you are feeling concerned, it is well worth taking measures to manage this anxiety for your physical and mental health and wellbeing.

The Negative Effects Of Health Anxiety

When we suffer from stress and health anxiety, then our bodies have two natural responses.

Irrational decision-making

High levels of stress affect our parasympathetic system. This can influence our usually logical approach to decision-making. Typically, in times of stress, we favour reward-centred decisions. This could be turning to comfort food, drinking, overspending or other vices. These reward-focused activities may seem to help our well-being in the immediacy but often has a negative effect in the long term.

Stress can also make us more likely to choose high-risk, high-payoff options. This means we may choose to put our health at risk, rather than selecting the most sensible options to look after ourselves.

Reduced immune system effectiveness

Stress and anxiety cause the stress hormone corticosteroid to rise. In turn, this hormone lowers the number of lymphocytes in the immune system, which can suppress its effectiveness to combat illnesses.

During times of health concerns, it is vital to boost immune functionality as much as possible. Consequently, managing your stress, where possible, is important to keep your body healthy.

How To Manage Health Anxiety

Getting good quality sleep can help to improve your mood, reduce anxiety and boost your immune system too. Turn off devices at least an hour before bed and indulge in a relaxing bedtime winddown routine. From a warm bath, gentle stretching, meditation and reading a good book, preparing yourself for sleep can help to ensure you can fall asleep in good time and give your body the rest it deserves.

Breathing Exercises

Deep and relaxed breathing can help to slow down the sympathetic nervous system. This is where our flight or fight response comes from, which can heighten anxiety. Furthermore, deep breathing can also help to engage the parasympathetic nervous system. This will allow you to experience a sense of calm, focus and positive, rational decision-making.

I will take you through the best breathing techniques for focus, calm and clarity.

Hypnotherapy and Anxiety

Hypnotherapy for anxiety works by effectively re-setting your anxiety level to ‘healthy’. It clears your subconscious of the negative and unhealthy beliefs that drive your anxiety. With our tailored Hypnotherapy sessions, you will learn to respond to life without becoming anxious. You'll regulate your emotions more effectively so that you remain relaxed in situations that would typically trigger your anxiety attacks. Hypnotherapy helps your mind to relax and will help you to regain confidence, enthusiasm, and motivation in your daily life.

It is important to remember that anxiety attacks are based on a particular mental state and can be treated with different forms of cognitive or behavioural therapies. Using hypnotherapy and a variety of therapeutic techniques combines psychotherapy with hypnotherapy. This form of therapy allows clients to release emotions in a supportive environment, enabling each client to move forward without carrying the burden of past anxiety.


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