Do you have health hypervigilance?
Sounds like a newly identified chronic condition or rare tropical disease, doesn’t it? Luckily it isn’t. The truth is far less sinister, and even if you do have it, a ‘cure’ may be easier than you think!
So what exactly is health hypervigilance?
Being aware of your health, and taking measures to improve and maintain better well being is always a good thing. It’s certainly something I talk about often…. ‘Prevention is always better than a cure’ and all that!
However, as with all things, balance is key.
Health hypervigilance occurs when that balance with regards to being healthy is lost.
You spend all your time thinking about your health, worrying about every symptom however minor or fleeting, and are constantly on a state of alert for new symptoms, things in your environment that may make you ill or make symptoms worse, and how well (or not) you’re feeling at any given moment. In other words your thinking about your health is all consuming, taking up every minute of your day, and dictating every aspect of your life.
So given that we live in a world that could, in one sense, represent a constant threat to our wellbeing with its excess of chemicals, toxins and stress, is being so aware of your health such a bad thing?
It would, on the surface, seem not, but actually that constant over thinking about your health only serves to trigger your immune and stress response. And as your anxious thinking continues so does that stress which eventually leads to longer term damage as healing and repair in the body is compromised and the body’s all important energy levels deplete. In effect you start to harm the very health you are so desperately trying to protect!
So what to do?
Well actually it’s more of a case of what not to do.
Once you are aware that you may be over thinking your health it can be very tempting to become super aware of what you are thinking all the time, trying to ‘catch yourself doing it’ and then take action such as forcing yourself to think different thoughts. But this simply adds more thinking to the equation, and with it more stress. Imagine trying to control your thinking all the time – exhausting! What you actually end up doing is becoming hypervigilant about being hypervigilant – adding yet more pressure to your already overworked immune system.
If you really need ‘something to do’, the best advice is to simply stop taking your thinking so seriously.
All that anxious thought and constant worry is not actually telling you anything useful about your current situation and what’s best to do. It’s just clouding your brain, raising your stress levels and drowning out that quiet voice of reason – common sense – that we all have access to and that, if you quieten down long enough to hear it, will tell you exactly the best thing to do.
So if you think you may be suffering from health hypervigilance then the cure is easier than you think.
Next time you find yourself over anxious about your wellbeing, feeling stressed, alarmed or overwhelmed just stop, take a deep breath, let your thinking settle and see what occurs to you next. Chances are you’ll find that as your over thinking settles, a new fresh thought will appear that just makes sense! How good is that – and so much better for your health!