How Generalized Anxiety Turns Into Health Anxiety

June 20, 2019

“If Generalized Anxiety Is Being Highly Focused On All The Ways Life Could Go Wrong, Health Anxiety Is Being Highly Focused On All The Ways Your Body Could Go Wrong.”

“Why do you worry so much?” Was a line I got quite often throughout my life. At the time of my development years as a child I would think to myself “how do people live so freely?” It seemed like so many people had no concerns at all, flowing and gliding through life, paying no attention to potential bullying, detention, not getting your homework done, making a fool out of yourself, being rejected by the cute girl you asked out, and more.

I eventually got really good at not showing my generalized anxiety to others

This kind of masking your anxiety doesn’t mean it goes away though, as you already know very well. It means that it just continue to grow deep down within you. Any past experiences that go unresolved will show up as bodily symptoms, reflexive thoughts, images etc later on in life. This is the way the subconscious mind tries to get the conscious minds attention to see whether the time is right to place a new meaning over a past event. No conscious interaction and re-negotiation over what took place means further repression of the emotions that go with that experience.

Welcome to the hell-ish world of living with generalized anxiety

It doesn’t end there though. Since worrying is what highly sensitized people do, our brains filter system does 3 very interesting things to make sure that the anxious meanings we’ve placed over ourselves and the world gets fulfilled. Here’s what the filter system of the brain does outside of our conscious awareness:

  1. Deletions – The brain deletes information that isn’t in line with the anxiety sufferers core beliefs. So anytime ‘good’ arises, the brain rejects the good and goes straight to the ‘bad.’
  2. Generalizations – It groups everything together into one huge anxious snowball. For example you’ll hear people say “nobody understands my anxiety,” or “life is a constant struggle.” These generalizations fit nicely with the anxious template held in the subconscious mind of a sufferer.
  3. Distortions – The brain alters information that’s presented to you (through your 5 senses) so that it manipulates the safety in it, and emphasizes the dangers or threats. Think of going to a grocery store, for the emotionally neutral person this experience is a pleasant one full of goodies and healthy foods to pick up. But for an anxiety sufferer, that good information is by-passed and the focus is turned solely onto all that could go wrong.

You can think of this system as a protection mechanism looking out for your own good. I always begged this system to look out for my own good less! But it didn’t listen to my feedback much at the time. So the focus today is, how generalized anxiety turns into health anxiety. Let’s dive in and look deeper into this very real and consistent transition I’ve recognized for many people who’ve started my anxiety programs.

Over Worrying Will Lead To A More Sensitized Physical Body

Although the mind and body have different functions, they are in essence one unit. They work together. This means that through the mental body if a person has built up habits that pursue the catastrophic potentials in the majority of their day to day experiences, the body will begin responding as well. When the body begins responding through physical sensations, it can be easy for the mental body to misinterpret these bodily symptoms of anxiety, and think that a physical illness is present.

The transition from living, to feeling like the end is near

When a person begins forming associations between the physical sensations of anxiety and having or developing a physical illness, they may feel like their time on this planet is drawing to a close. They may google their symptoms of anxiety and convince themselves that the illness that they have is beyond them, and the feeling of losing hope can arise. This is the day to day experiences of being in the mind, body, and spirit of someone who’s generalized anxiety turns into health anxiety.

The catastrophic scenarios in the external world, meet with the same possibilities in the internal world

At this point in the transition from generalized anxiety to health anxiety (have you subscribed to the health anxiety podcast show yet?) the fears aren’t just related to people or situational challenges, there are bigger problems going on within. The attention begins to get highly focused on the body, and the mind begins spider-webbing from one negative idea to the next.

A health anxiety sufferer begins feeling less attached to the external world, their sensory systems may work less efficiently, they may feel like they’re not present anymore when interacting with others, and their safety coping methods become the strategy all together.

Health anxiety is a bundle of habits

If you think about it, you’ve always been a bit (or more) of a worrier. Worry has become the safety measure that keeps danger away from you (or so we think). It keeps life in the realm of certainty, and keep uncertainty in the distance. So when generalized anxiety turns into health anxiety it becomes obvious that it’s a continuation of the identity you believe you are.

I say this because many anxiety sufferers fear change, they fear inner peace and calmness as well because of how foreign it feels. People today feel like when they take time to relax that it’s a waste of time, and that they should be concerned over something or doing something.

Welcome to the anxiety rat race!

It’s best not to fall for this trap, it’s best not to place judgement on people that ‘do’ less than you, and it’s best not to value yourself based on how much you get done, what your occupation is, or how much worry you went through for the day. When generalized anxiety turns into health anxiety it’s vital that we see it as a growing sign of disconnect from inner peace.

Do you want to know the best thing I ever did during my health anxiety days? I sat with it, in this video I explain the technique I put together called mapping which outlines a few important add on’s so check it out. But I remember giving up the fight! What a turning point!

To go against the anxious ideas that are playing out in the mind, and to act in accordance with the inner peaceful and balanced you is liberating!

In the end you aren’t your thoughts, you aren’t your words, you aren’t your actions, heck you aren’t even who you think you really are right now in your life! Who you are today is someone that has manifested based on the desires to please others.

If you take nothing else form this post related to how generalized anxiety turns into health anxiety take this; you have the ability to start over today! The only question is how does the new you think, talk, act, imagine, respond etc? If you’re going to become someone new you might as well find a model that you can model yourself behind. With consistent efforts, self compassion, and a long term vision the inner belief and the results will show up, and you’ll truly become more than anxiety.

What Was The Main Lesson You Took From This Post? Share Below In The Comment Section.

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16 comments on “How Generalized Anxiety Turns Into Health Anxiety

  1. Gemma Forde Jun 21, 2019

    The mapping video is brilliant. Not adding a story to your symptoms and sitting with them sounds like a valuable tool I can use. Thank you so much for the advice x

    • Very welcome Gemma much love.

      • Shane Stevens Jun 23, 2019

        Dennis ….
        Theres no one out there like you my friend , listen I’m a heterosexual Male but genuinely love you mate , obviously in a highly respected way , you understand it all to every fine detail , you talk so much more sense and really have a brilliant understanding of anxiety that doctors and , councillors , and shrinks , etc etc …… really do not have , they dont come close to the knowledge you own !!!!
        A gentle men who help so many people including me ……
        Man this one day will be more recognised and not sounding corny , you should be rewarded for your help and efforts !!!!
        Thank you for all the help Dennis , love to all your loved one and please dont stop the brilliant work , your help more than I think even you know , and that’s saying something .
        Thanks brother …..
        Shane from Cambridge England.

  2. Jennifer Jun 24, 2019

    Ultimately, it comes down to SURRENDER: to the unknowns, uncertainty, and the Divine purpose.

    Hardest thing to do EVER!!!!!!!!!

    But hearing others’ stories and how they are bang on to my own, in that sense of belonging, makes it easier to surrender to.

  3. Hi Dennis,
    Your every word and explanations resonate so much with me. You have an incredible bank of knowledge and understanding of this debilitating condition. Your videos etc are truly great and I’m very grateful to you 🙂 . I’m a newbie warrior and will win my battle with your supportive and direct approach. Thank you so much! Best wishes. Ally ( Lincolnshire UK)

  4. Wendy Jun 27, 2019

    This explains so much. I was always a worrier, but it was not until 2014 I became physically sensitized……..changes in lighting make me think I’m dying, constant head pressure and dizziness.

    But prior to that I obsessed over other things. I would watch my childs soccer game, and be anxious thinking, what if they go into sudden cardiac arrest. I see now how I transitioned from that to my own bodily sensations.

    This explains so much about how this started. Thank you!

  5. Savannah Jun 27, 2019

    Whenever I am feeling extreme panic or like I’m losing sense of control over my health anxiety, I simply turn to your YouTube videos, podcasts, or blog posts and it almost instantaneously helps me calm down. I am so grateful to you and your work. Thank you

  6. Cheryl Wallace Jul 27, 2019

    My GAD started after a vestibular disorder in 2015 (which doctors say has been healed since 2016). I then developed Health Anxiety due to fear of the vestibular disorder returning. My physical symptoms are mimicking the vertigo/vision/neck symptoms that were organic to my 2015 illness. Can GAD or Health Anxiety do this? Can they really mimic the physical symptoms of a past illness? How do I stop this? Dennis…You are Amazing! Thank you for all that you do!

    • The subconscious mind has some strange ways of affecting the physical body. With constant inner chatter over fear, and the emotions to go with it, the physical body won’t be too far away from joining in.

  7. Nemia Aug 2, 2019

    The funny part is that generalized anxiety can be something that parents pass down to their own kids. I remember my mom used to tell us not to go out in the dark on our own as she fears our safety to death. Over time, I began to believe that I am not capable of taking care of myself without my mom and that I should never go out on my own. It took a whole lot of unlearning to understand this pattern of thinking before I can even rewire the way I think for my own good.