Catherine Belling, associate professor at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.
We all fear getting sick, on some level. What hypochondria is, then, is the inability to put that very rational fear into context, where you can continue to function normally rather than being paralyzed by it.
Is your preoccupation with Ebola:
- Interfering with work, social, or family plans?
- Preventing you from something that you might regularly do?
- Causing you to cancel a trip or meeting?
- Causing others to question your behavior?
- Won’t let you get away from thoughts about it?
- Necessitating updates via phone and the television very frequently so as not to “miss something”?
- Making your spending hours on the internet and/or consistently watch news reports?
Above all, though, you know yourself best. Do you feel as if you are too preoccupied with fears of Ebola? How often are you thinking of it?
If you do feel like you it might be taking up too much of your time, or if you feel emotionally disturbed by fears of contracting Ebola, then explore the following tips.
Limit Or Eliminate Television And Internet News
Get clear on what you need from the news when you do watch. Getting good information is important, and one wants to be informed, but to spend time watching news or reading articles could further activate anxiety.
Especially if you know that you might have a tendency toward internet addiction, you will need to determine what you are seeking. Check in with yourself when you hear reports: is your anxiety level rising?
Do you feel like this is harming rather than helping? You know yourself best, and what might be too much for one person might not be too much for another person.
Take Care Of Yourself Emotionally
What makes you feel good about yourself in the rest of your life? If you are feeling unfulfilled in other areas of your life, then Ebola may fill that void. Think of some things that you enjoy doing. (Use our tips for finding out what you love here.) If you can focus on something that is more enjoyable or fun, it will help to relieve your mind and minimize your fear.
Kathleen Dwyer-Blair, LCSW, BCD, Director.
My wish for you today is that you celebrate health and life!