Health anxiety is a real phenomenon and is more common than many people realize. I encounter it frequently in my practice as a medical intuitive and licensed counselor. It’s a preoccupation with emotional and physical symptoms, feeling un-well, what you are eating, and how all of this impacts the body. Health anxiety isn’t just about the present, it’s about how you might feel in the future, even if you are healthy now.
I often work with people who think that to heal and be well, they must constantly focus on their illness, symptoms, and various treatments. I have found the opposite to be true. This type of focus is usually based on control and fear, which causes detachment and distrust in your body and your intuition. You cannot heal through control or when you are in a state of anxiety. Physically, anxiety causes an increased production in cortisol which over time lowers your immune response and leads to blood sugar disturbances and weight loss.
Traditional thinking teaches you to “be a good patient”, fight your symptoms and illness, assign yourself labels and diagnoses and even put colored ribbons on social media to let people know that you are or have been sick. I’d like to suggest a different approach.
Approximately twelve years ago, I learned that I had Lyme, many co-infections and chronic fatigue virus and that I had likely had it since I was young, having grown up two towns over from Lyme CT. My initial response was fear, believing what I had read about recovery from Lyme being impossible.
I quickly decided that I was going to react differently.
I refused to live in fear or to be a patient. I wasn’t a victim and I wasn’t diseased just because I had Lyme disease. I write about this extensively in my book.
I attended to my health but wasn’t preoccupied with it. I refused to say “my” Lyme or put the word my in front of symptoms I had when I described them. I avoided using the words Lyme or sick and didn’t post about having Lyme on social media. I did research but didn’t spend a lot of time doing it and didn’t join any groups related to being sick. Personally, I didn’t find that helpful and noticed that it increased anxiety.
I continued with my regular activities and engaged in more stress relief and self-care. I even wrote to the symptoms as friends, asking them what they wanted to teach me and how I could help them heal. I truly believe that this approach helped me heal completely and more quickly, with a minimum of anxiety.
Focusing on illness also creates a kind of PTSD even after you have healed. I wasn’t and am not concerned with Lyme disease returning. I have seen clients who have survived cancer, endometriosis and other serious illness tell me that they live in fear of it returning because they have been told by traditional medical practitioners to constantly be on the lookout for symptoms.
I’ve even had people tell me that they believe they got sick again because they could never relax or be present in their bodies, pre-occupied with the thought of illness ruining their lives and the lives of their families. You create what you believe, and it can be manifested as symptoms.
- Practice mindfulness through meditation, movement, and creativity
- Ground yourself through being in nature, taking baths and using grounding mats
- Try Kundalini yoga to activate your powerful, healing, empowering energy from within
- Learn techniques to help you connect with intuition, spirit, and your body
- Practice letting go of control and trusting yourself and spirit/God/the Universe
- Remember that you are not an illness or your symptoms. Maintain your own identity by doing things that make you happy and are intellectually and creatively stimulating
- Connect with people who have healed from what you are experiencing
- Explore the symbolic and spiritual meanings connected with your issues and symptoms.
Be compassionate and loving with yourself.
Being “sick” might be an opportunity to focus on yourself, set boundaries and engage in self-care. You might feel you need an excuse to do this, but these should be part of your “well” life also.
Listen to the messages you are receiving and make positive changes.
Katie Beecher, MS, LPC is an Internationally known Medical and Spiritual Intuitive and Licensed Professional Counselor. She creates an extensive report and symbolic painting for her clients, people and animals, knowing just their name and age. Katie is featured in many publications and blogs, including Poosh, Well and Good, Lyme 360 and Goop, who calls her “eerily accurate”.
Heal from Within: A Guidebook to Intuitive Wellnes, is her book about connecting to intuition, healing and wellness and how she healed from a severe eating disorder, depression and anxiety. She shares the exclusive techniques she uses in her readings and knowledge from her intuitive guides and Jungian psychology.