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Topic: Health anxiety - Tips, ideas and coping strategies - Please share what works for you

8 posts, 0 answered
  1. romantic_thi3f
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    257 posts
    12 April 2018

    Hi everyone,

    I've been seeing a lot of posts about health anxiety lately so I thought it might be worth (hopefully!) trying to create a masterpost where we can share all of our tips, ideas and coping strategies to how to get through our health anxiety.

    This can include anything from - nothing is physically wrong with me but I feel like it is - to - I have one condition that's okay but it feels like it's getting worse - to - my anxiety makes me feel like I'm having a heart attack (or something else) and I can't let go of it. Or anything in between!

    This is also a post for people who are unsure whether there is something else going on or they are confident in that it's all weird manifestations of anxiety.

    Anyways, here are my tips :

    - Write things down. Having that physical record of symptoms both get's it out of my head, helps me find patterns (i.e. is it worse when this happens) and helps the Doctor see the trends over time.

    - Try to not go Doctor shopping and not look at things on the internet. I think a good Doctor is one who is able to give you all the information 'I want to order x test because y' or 'I don't feel like x test is needed because of y'. I also know that if I were to bring in something from the Internet they aren't going to judge me and instead take me (and my worries seriously) and look at it all logically.

    - Try and find things that help you relax. I personally like colouring, walking the dog, reading and going on Pinterest. But I think it's about finding out what works for you personally.

    - Learn to breathe. Our anxiety systems are in flight or flight mode - so being able to really breathe deeply can already start to help.

    - Learn about anxiety. It blew my mind that anxiety in my head could be the reason that something in my stomach was haywire - so being able to make those connections can help.

    - Try to challenge our thoughts. A lot of this comes down to CBT (a type of therapy) which is about identifying some of those thoughts and beliefs that aren't always true. When our body screams 'ahhh it must be cancer' we must challenge it and ask why? Where is the evidence? How do we know this is true? One of my favourite metaphors with this is to pretend you are a lawyer in a courtroom. Anxiety screams it's head off but has no logic - a little bit like a 3 year old :P

    I hope this helps! Please feel free to add to it and share what's working for you. We're all in this together even when it can feel so isolating.

    2 people found this helpful
  2. Peppermintbach
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    13 April 2018 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    Hi romantic_thi3f,

    I think this is a fantastic thread :)

    I don’t personally have health anxiety but I know other members do so I’m sure this will be very helpful to a lot of people.

    Great thinking!

    Kind thoughts,

    Pepper

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Chloe_M
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    13 April 2018 in reply to romantic_thi3f
    romantic_thi3f this is a great idea! hopefully more people see this thread and add to it, it would be a great place for us anxious peeps to share strategies and coping methods and also get to know each other!
    1 person found this helpful
  4. Chloe_M
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    13 April 2018 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    So... my first strategy for coping with anxiety is this:

    This helps to deal with situations that cause you to think anxious and intrusive thoughts. It helps me prevent thought spirals.

    Construct a table with four columns. In the first column, write the heading Situation. In the next, write Emotions/physical reactions. In the third, Thoughts, and in the fourth, Alternative Thoughts. Under Situation, write the situation or thing that is making you anxious. In Emotions/physical reactions, write down how this situation makes you feel and how your body reacts to that physically (e.g sweating, shaking, hyperventilating, crying etc). Under Thoughts, write down the intrusive/anxious thoughts. Finally, under Alternative Thoughts, write down any thoughts that don't make you anxious that you could think instead.

    Here is an example. Sorry it isn't in table form as I couldn't post it like that, but you should get the picture.

    Situation: I missed the bus

    Emotions/physical reactions: Scared, upset, anxious, nervous, sweating, sick feeling in my stomach, dread.

    Thoughts: Dad will be mad, I will be late to school.

    Alternative Thoughts: Dad will drive me, it's not the end of the world if I miss the bus, at least I will get a seat if my Dad drives me.

    You may have seen this on other threads I post on, you should try it and see if it works for you!

    all the best,

    chlo :D

  5. romantic_thi3f
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    257 posts
    18 April 2018 in reply to Chloe_M

    Hi,

    Pepper - thank you! I hope so too. Unfortunately it doesn't look like lots of people have seen or contributed to it but I hope that they can because I know there's lots of strategies out there! I appreciate your reply! :)

    Chloe - thank you! Ah that's a brilliant idea :) That sounds a little bit like cbt! I totally needed to read this one today because my brain is having lots of unhelpful thoughts! Thank you for sharing :)

  6. Chloe_M
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    18 April 2018 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    You're welcome! Am feeling much better today, i played soccer with my cousins, brother, auntie and mum. just goes to show that exercise is a great way of alleviating the pains of anxiety and depression haha!

    Exercise- that's a good one. I do a lot of it and my anxiety is way less noticeable when I am dancing, playing sport etc.

    :) Chloe

  7. Oz_twins
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    19 April 2018 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    I knit to help with my anxiety... or crochet. A crochet blanket is often the best choice because I don't have to think when I am doing it.

    It doesn't always work though... but when it does I get a beanie to wear at the end lol

  8. Chloe_M
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    19 April 2018 in reply to Oz_twins

    Oz_twins i haven't seen you around before, so hi and welcome my names Chloe and I have anxiety and depression.

    Some things work on again off again. This is what seems to be the case with your knitting and crocheting. At least you get a beanie out of it lol.

    I used to be able to knit in 5th grade. I found that making little squares and then seeing them and stuffing them do so they looked like seals helped calm my anxiety. I made so many that I had a large family of colourful woollen seals next to my bed. At the end of 6th grade I gave them to my 5th grade teacher so that she could put them in her classroom to show future students how to knit (she taught us how).

    Hope you have a good day tomorrow :)

    chlo

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