Last month I started a series on healing health anxiety. You can read the first post here: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2016/10/healing-health-anxiety-part-1.html
In that post I spoke about what health anxiety (HA) is and looked at methods for healing it, concentrating on therapy and self help techniques. This time I'm looking at it from more of a spiritual perspective. So here we go. :)
Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, just someone who has health anxiety, so please seek medical help in addition to reading this. :)
When you're worrying you can feel trapped by your thoughts, so it might help to read about thoughts themselves. Here's a good post and video by Kajal Pandey on understanding them: https://www.kajalpandey.com/blog/how-to-understand-your-thoughts/
In the video Kajal talks about questioning your thoughts, asking how you'll feel if you choose to think a particular thought. She also calls negative thoughts "awareness slips".
And in another post she mentions how you are not your thoughts: https://www.kajalpandey.com/blog/how-to-stop-having-unwanted-thoughts/
That's a concept that's a bit hard for me to understand sometimes but I think the basic meaning is that we are more than our bodies and everyday lives, habits and thoughts, we're also souls. A quote I often come across is, "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience". When I looked it up just now, I saw that it was said by the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Sometimes it's hard to believe that we chose all this stuff and if you don't believe in souls, then this quote won't resonate with you. But it may help to think this way. :) You may also find it helpful to read a little about Taoism and yin and yang. A good book that gives a basic introduction to these concepts is Watching The Tree by Adeline Yen Mah. It's one of my favourite spiritual books.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/p/pierreteil160888.ht Read Kajal's posr here: http://www.kajalpandey.com/how-to-stop-having-unwanted-thoughts/
And if you're interested in Pierre Teilhard's philosophy visit this website for a basic summary of it: http://www.teilhardforbeginners.com/
On the topic of being more than your thoughts, another post I've found helpful is this one from Notes on Bliss about how you're more than your body and what you think you are: https://elysesantilli.com/who-you-really-are/
Update 23/11/16: Updating this to include another really good link on being more than your thoughts and worries: https://elysesantilli.com/your-inner-spirit/
Update 2- 19/9/21: Notes on Bliss is now ElyseSantilli.com.
I have a tendency to think negatively, I've always been more of a "glass half empty" person! In recent years I've made an effort to think more positively but it is a struggle sometimes. With health anxiety you tend to jump to conclusions over a symptom or if something is a different in your body. In the Overcoming Health Anxiety resource pack that I've worked though, you're encouraged to re-evaluate your thinking, e.g. if you have health anxiety and you feel tired and unwell, you may jump to the conclusion that you have a serious illness. Other people who don't have HA will probably think, "I'm just tired and I've been feeling stressed lately" but if you worry about your health then you might think, "I keep feeling tired, what if I'm seriously ill?" People with HA and OCD will probably find that irrational thoughts are quite common for them. For example, rationally you know that choosing a particular can of drink will not cause something bad to happen or that counting to a certain number won't prevent bad things from happening, but you keep thinking what if it will affect the outcome? (I'm referring to OCD in this case).
Module 5 guides you through identifying your unhelpful thoughts, challenging them and developing more realistic ones. I'm not a fan of being realistic in some cases (I believe in following your dreams even if other people don't think they're realistic, which is probably why I'm a fan of the Law of Attraction!) but in this case it's a good thing to be. If you want to work through the modules, here's the link: http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/resources/infopax.cfm?Info_ID=53 (Site back!)
Update 26/11/20: Site appears to have gone.
This is a good post on dealing with negative thoughts: https://elysesantilli.com/negative-thoughts/
In the last few years I've been examining my beliefs through working with the Law of Attraction (LOA). I've been looking at my negative beliefs. Beliefs are thoughts built up over time, you've thought them so much you believe them to be true. For more on beliefs in the context of LOA visit this post: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2015/11/beliefs-and-believing-loa.html
As I was writing this, an email came in from Amanda Linette Meder on stopping negative thoughts from manifesting so I thought I'd include it here: https://www.amandalinettemeder.com/blog/how-to-stop-a-negative-thought-from-manifesting
Note: Amanda is a psychic medium and she mentions premonitions in this post, so if you think it might trigger a worry for you about those type of subjects then please read with caution. :)
Worry and Fear
So why we do worry? I worry because I'm scared of bad things happening and I want to prevent them. I feel unsafe a lot of the time. I'm also scared of change. I'm going to share a couple more links from Kajal Pandey's site. (I know I've linked to her a lot but she has a lot of good posts). First of all about why we worry: https://www.kajalpandey.com/blog/why-do-we-worry/
She mentions how worry is to do with uncertainty. I think a lot of us are uncertain and don't feel safe in the world. We don't really know what we're doing here. If you have a strong religious belief then that must help but otherwise it can be hard to find a meaning to it all.
I personally have never liked uncertainty. My early life was unsettled since I'd lived in 4 different countries by the time I was 4 years old and my parents split-up when I was 4 too, so that probably contributed. Also I was bullied at middle school which made feel really unsafe. It was verbal and I know it could have been worse but I dreaded going to school and felt physically unsafe. This affected me deeply and then later I developed my fear of illness.
Here is the other Kajal post about how fear is a thought: https://www.kajalpandey.com/blog/fear-is-a-thought/
It's helped me to think of it this way.
There's not really much we can do about uncertainty because it's part of life but we can try to manage how we deal with it better. I find this hard so I don't have much advice currently but I think this post by Suzanne Heyn is a good start: http://suzanneheyn.com/what-to-do-when-youre-scared-of-your-emotions/
She writes about managing your thoughts and feelings. I've been thinking more about my emotions and thoughts lately. I recently took Suzanne's free mini e-course Freedom Found which is about self love (she mentions emotions and how you deal with things) and I found it helpful.
A good start when it comes to healing health anxiety is to look at your patterns. Here are a couple of links to posts about patterns:
I did the Personal Excellence patterns exercise to see what messages my HA patterns are giving to me.
Joy from Facets of Joy has a good article on worry. She often talks about patterning and she mentions it in this post and why it's important not to judge yourself. Read the article here:
I took Joy's Worry Shift course last year and I'm currently reading back over the emails and the notes I made.
Once you've looked at your patterns you may feel ready to release them. There are some good techniques here:
But don't worry if you're not ready, these things can take time. I've been trying for a quite a while to release certain blocks and other stuff, but feel like I keep coming up against walls. I think that sometimes you release a little at a time and it might not seem like much, but over time it adds up. I hope so anyway. :)
If you're interested in working with energy techniques then Amy B. Scher's site is a good resource: http://amybscher.com/
Amy believes that emotions directly affect the physical body and she healed herself from physical illnesses including Lyme disease and autoimmune conditions, as well as anxiety. Some of the techniques she uses are EFT, muscle testing and The Sweep (her own technique). I did The Sweep and later I felt tired and achy. (Maybe it was the energy shifting?). You can find out more about all the methods on the website and also download a free emotional healing cheatsheet. And if you visit this link you can download a PDF which describes The Sweep:
Also here are some mantras to release anxiety: http://suzanneheyn.com/mantras-tools-to-calm-the-mind-and-release-anxiety/
I've come across No 2 before and tried it, although not consistently. I'm going to have a go with the others.
Finally two books I recommend are Self Help for Your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes and You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay. Both have helped me.
To sum it up, I think it helps to look at why you're afraid and your anxiety patterns, and also to have something to believe in. As I mentioned above I'm scared of change. But I also enjoy following the seasons (I write about following the Wiccan/pagan sabbats and seasonal living on my blog The Seasonal Life) and they are a good example of change. Summer moves into autumn, autumn becomes winter, winter moves into spring and then it's summer again. It may also help you to follow the seasonal cycle. If not, there are other belief systems and I hope you find the right one for you. :)
I hope this post was useful. I may continue this series but I'm not sure at the moment, I'll see if I feel there's more to say in the future. :)
You may also like this post on healing: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2016/05/healing-mind-and-body.html
And you can visit the Resources and Helpful Articles Library pages by clicking directly on them here or visiting the sidebar on the right of the blog.
Do you use any spiritual techniques to cope with or heal anxiety?
Photo: Worthing Beach. Copyright Moonsparkle 2016.
*26/11/20: Sites now gone.