Are you a self-confessed hypochondriac? When people tell you not to worry, you really should listen. Health researchers in BMJ conducted a study which shows that people who needlessly worry have developed, or will develop, serious illness at some stage in their life. Sound’s great, right?!
It’s thought that an estimated 5% to 10% of people suffer from health anxiety, or ‘the worried well syndrome’ as it’s been dubbed, which is “persistent preoccupation with having or acquiring a serious illness”.
Put simply; if you have a nervous disposition and worry about every lump and bump that appears, you’re actually doing your body more damage than good. The worry study is, ironically, linked to a 70% increase in serious heart conditions.
Over a 12 year period, 7052 were tested and monitored in Norway. Results showed that 3% of participants who developed heart disease, but who did not previously suffer from health anxiety. However, the number of people who suffered heart defects doubled among a group of people who had health anxiety. While more research still needs to be done around health anxiety, health professionals are campaigning for health anxiety to be taken more seriously.
Do you think you could be suffering from health anxiety? Try these simple life hacks to help give you your confidence back:
1. Take deep breaths
It may seem like a pre-historic answer to a worrying solution, but breathing deeply can drastically improve your mood, anxiety levels, and triggers your body into relaxation.
2. Join a sports club or take part in a gym class
Exercise is considered a vital component for maintaining mental and physical fitness, and it can vastly reduce stress (exercise + endorphins = happy mood). Exercising shouldn’t be feared, however, and there are plenty of more ways to release endorphins without running on a treadmill for 40 minutes. Why not try water aerobics, a gentle pilates class, or simply take a gentle swim in the local pool. Your body and mind will be the better of it.
Our minds are relentless – particularly so at night time when we want nothing more than a good nights sleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try creating a soothing playlist of music to listen to before you nod off, or why not try one of these brilliant sleeping apps. Remember that adults should be getting between 7-8 hours of sleep per night.