Living a healthy lifestyle is a big factor in the overall quality of life most of us desire. Sometimes though, people tend to worry too much about health issues, health risks, and even the mere potential of illness and disease, which can have negative effects on both physical and mental health. Unwarranted worry isn’t productive or beneficial for health and wellness.
From the fear of catching a common cold to developing cancer, the worries are numerous. Our world is filled with commercials, advertisements, billboards, books, movies and of course the internet offering advice and solutions to just about every ailment known to mankind. The problem is in discerning if the information is true. Anyone can claim to be an expert!
Why Do People Worry About Health?
It’s important to understand the underlying issues before learning how to address worrying about health. It’s like trying to diagnose a problem with the engine of a car before even opening the hood. There are several roots that could be causing unnecessary worrying about health.
Let’s explore a few:
The internet is chock full of information, some good and some bad. Everyone could be a doctor by now if the information on the internet was all true. The internet is right at our fingertips and at any given time we are just a couple taps away from diagnosing all sorts of symptoms on any number of websites.
Our culture has certainly embraced the diet craze in the last 20 years. Once upon a time, there were only meat-eaters and vegetarians. Now there is a “diet” for just about every way of eating imaginable claiming to be the best one ever for health and wellness. Being pulled in every direction and getting conflicting information is terribly confusing.
There has been a steady increase in nutrition clubs and gyms in the last decade. Weight loss pills are readily available and even have celebrity endorsements! Combine these with the ever-present notion that a healthy body is a thin body and it creates a recipe for disaster where anxiety, shame, guilt and worry are concerned.
Mental Health Issues
Worrying is basically the brain’s reaction to anxiety. In healthy doses, it’s perfectly normal to worry about some things. It becomes more of a mental health issue when the anxiety cannot be controlled and affects multiple aspects of one’s life. Someone who believes a simple cough is actually a terminal illness is an example of health anxiety.
Steps to Stop Worrying About Your Health
The problem with obsessive worrying is that it is not effective without action. Worry is the brain’s signal for the body to get in motion and take care of whatever is causing the brain anxiety. Too much worry though can be detrimental to one’s career, parenting style, personal relationships, and physical and mental health.
The following steps should help an individual stop worrying so much about health:
Leave It to the Professionals
The internet is a great resource for many things, but real health issues should be discussed with a licensed medical professional. If symptoms can’t be effectively treated at home, it’s time to go to the doctor. This also includes preventive measures, like annual physical exams and such.
Moderation is the key here. Following a specific diet to help drop that nagging 20 pounds is one thing, but a permanent way of eating should include all food groups without over-indulgence. Calorie-counting and carb-counting and reading every single food label can be enough to drive anyone crazy!
Foods with the least amount of processing are better than box meals and fast food. Keep it simple and use common sense. An occasional piece of cake shouldn’t make a person worry about developing diabetes. A piece of cake every day for months on end, however, that could be a problem.
Yes, exercise is great. It improves heart health, increases stamina and metabolism, and just makes people feel good. For some folks, running or group exercise classes just doesn’t do it for them. Try something like gardening or taking an evening stroll around a park.
Park the car in the back of a parking lot instead of hunting for the closest space. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. There are plenty of ways to incorporate some form of activity into the daily routine. Stop worrying so much about exercise and find an enjoyable activity.
People need good, quality sleep for the body to reset itself and prepare for the next day. Think of it as recharging a cellphone. If it’s plugged in and only gets up to 50%, as soon as it’s removed from the charger it only has enough juice to get it through half of what it could with a full charge. Recharge your body to 100%.
Obviously, stress causes worry and anxiety. By eliminating stressors, worry and anxiety should also diminish. Other methods to help reduce and manage stress could be yoga, meditation or mindful exercises. Some utilize a hobby like crocheting or painting or woodworking for a stress release. The point is to spend less time and energy fretting so there is more time for things that make us happy.
Worrying about health is counterproductive. Make a plan and follow through with it. No one else can create a healthful environment for an individual; it’s something each of us has to do for ourselves. Stop worrying and live each day to the fullest, without guilt or remorse or worry.