Hey guys! Welcome to the Simplify Your Life podcast. It’s Coach Simona and I’m glad you decided to tune in. What’s up, guys? In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about how to stop being obsessed with googling symptoms and how to stop worrying about your health. Let me start by saying this: I don’t know your story and I have no idea what you’re going through. But there is one thing that we probably have in common: the obsession with googling symptoms and self-diagnosing. Ever since I was a little kid, I was showing early signs of hypochondria. I was always on the lookout for something that was wrong with my health and I always fixated on the thought that I was sick. Then came the internet and took it to the next level: Now I had a partner in crime and that partner in crime was called… Google! It may be tempting to ask Google for answers and keep obsessing over your health, but I don’t advise you to rely on the internet for self-diagnosing yourself. In this podcast episode, I’m going to try to help you break that vicious cycle. First, let’s talk a bit more about that overpowering anxiety that you’ve been experiencing. Googling your symptoms and constantly worrying about your health while cyber checking what’s going on has a proper name: cyberchondria. Here’s the definition of cyberchondria: ‘The unfounded escalation of concerns about common symptomology based on the review of search results in literature online.’ In a nutshell, obsessing over your symptoms and googling them all the time falls into that category. Here the three steps that will help you break that habit and start fresh. My first tip is to tune into your body. Most cyberchondriacs google their symptoms because they’re not sure what’s going on with their body. If you want to stop obsessing over your health, listen to your body and tune into what it has to say. This is where grounding techniques come to the rescue. Grounding techniques are practices that keep you grounded in the here and now. They can be extremely helpful for managing overwhelming feelings and anxiety. There are lots of grounding techniques that you can try. I personally recommend meditation, mindfulness, and keeping a gratitude journal. I’ve made separate episodes on each and every one of them, so I will link them below. In short, meditation will help you observe your thoughts from a higher level and not get too caught up with your own story. Practicing mindfulness will ground you into the present moment by seeing objectively and non-judgmental your surroundings and keeping a gratitude journal will shift your focus onto the things that are already great in your life. My second tip is to reframe your negative thought patterns. If you feel stressed, anxious, or preoccupied with compulsive thoughts about your physical or mental health, one of the best tools that I can advise you to try is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Essentially, it helps people find new ways to behave by changing their thought patterns. For example, if you’re into self-diagnosing yourself on mental health. You’re probably obsessing over thoughts like: ‘I’m crazy. I have a personality disorder. What is wrong with me that I react this way?’ and so on, and so on. That crippling feeling that you’re not mentally stable may push you to become obsessed with googling your symptoms causing you even more anxiety and worsening the symptoms altogether by focusing your mind on the negative. So, what does a CBT practitioner do? They help you become aware of your negative thought patterns and substitute your morbid, anxious thoughts with healthier, more grounded ones. In the mentioned example, you could substitute your thoughts with thoughts like: ‘I’m okay. I feel grounded. I am safe. I act the way I do because I’m human. I’m doing the best that I can and that’s enough.’ If you’re having trouble with reframing your thoughts, there is a wonderful tool called the Automatic Thought Record Tool that will help you keep track of your thoughts and reframe them. I’ve made a downloadable PDF for you guys and you can download it for FREE by clicking the link in the description box below! Now let’s get to the last tip: if nothing else works, go to a doctor. While most of our obsessions are nothing more than behaviors that we can change by working with a coach or a therapist, having multiple persistent symptoms can be a sign of something bigger going on. Even though that’s probably not the case with you, I advise you to go see a doctor if you feel like your symptoms are getting worse. I know that googling your symptoms can be tempting, but if you zoom out of the way that it makes you feel and look at it objectively you will see that it’s nothing more than just reading information on the internet and trying to label yourself based on assumptions. Going to the doctor will not only spare you the time and energy spent obsessing over your symptoms, but it will also help you diagnose your problem and treat yourself right away. As always, take any suggestions you read on the internet with a grain of salt, including this one. Try different tools and find out what works best for you. At the end of the day, obsessing or not, you’ve got all the answers. You just have to learn to listen to your gut and stop looking for answers from the outside world. I hope this helps you out. And if you want to share your story, please do so in the comments below. I’m sure you will help a lot of people out! Alright, guys, that’s all for today. Thank you so much for listening to this episode! If you liked it, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel if you don’t want to miss out on my weekly episodes on how to simplify your life and have great relationships with others. I love you guys, and I’ll talk to you in the next one. Bye!