Fear has been scientifically proven to harm your health, putting you at risk of everything from the common cold to heart disease or cancer as well as overdiagnosis and overtreatment. This doesn’t mean you should avoid doctors, ditch preventive medical exams or decline treatment – if you’re suffering from a full-blown anxiety disorder or phobia, you should seek professional help. However, if you are one of the many individuals who is afraid of developing illnesses and need some guidance on managing your fear, here are some tips:

  1. Consider the news you take in. Take a break from reading constant updates and news reports and just examine what happens to your fear and anxiety levels – you might be amazed how relaxed you feel.
  2. Assess health risks. Educate yourself. Know the real risks of the illness eliciting fear, then make decisions accordingly. Be sure to get your information from reputable sources such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  3. Meditate. This helps dismantle the cyclical stress response and engages the relaxation response, allowing your body to free itself from fear and turn on its natural self-repair mechanisms to heal.
  4. Detach from fear. Recognize that your fears don’t come from you, but instead a part of your brain. Tap into your inner knowing; it will tell you whether you really need to worry or if you can trust that you’re safe. You can do this by taking a deep breath and asking yourself is it real.
  5. Declare your courage. Try statements like “I am brave.” Also, if you’re around fear-driven people, try seeking and communicating with courageous people and see how their energy affects yours.

“How to Reduce Fear & Anxiety About Disease & Death – Part 4,” pyschologytoday.com, Lissa Rankin M.D., March 26, 2013.