We’re all familiar with the concept of the “health nut”. This stereotype is a person who is constantly preoccupied with their health and wellness. Almost like a positive form of hypochondria, the health obsessed individual is always exercising, always dieting, always trying some new way to be fitter/happier/more productive.
Being healthy isn’t bad in itself (obviously). But there’s clearly such a thing as being too concerned with health, to the point that the anxiety and obsession is a detriment to the wellness being sought. Are you too concerned with your health? Here are some ways to know for sure.
- It’s a Worry You Consider Every Single Day. All of us think about our health from time to time. We might have a health scare when we have a rash or a strange pain. We might remind ourselves not to overeat at the party, because we don’t want to gain weight and feel ill. But when this tips over into something unhealthy, these considerations about health and wellness become a near-constant preoccupation. If you have trouble living in the moment without worrying about one health issue or other, you might have a problem. Unless you are thinking about a real malady (and then taking steps to fix it), constantly marinating in health anxiety isn’t…well…healthy.
- Your Friends and Family Notice the Issue. Sometimes it’s hard to really know ourselves. We have a version of ourselves in our heads, but this isn’t the person that the people close to us know. If you are concerned that you might be overly troubled by health issues, why not ask the opinion of someone you trust. They might be able to confirm that you radiate anxiety, or that you actually don’t see bothered at all. Seeking an outside perspective can be a positive step toward a more balanced inner life.
- You Have Legitimate Problems But Don’t Accept Help. There are many people with illnesses that are difficult to detect or diagnose. There are numerous mental and physical illnesses which have phantom elements that are hard to pin down. This doesn’t mean they aren’t real. However, if you have symptoms like these, it’s important that you don’t let them isolate you. Talk to a qualified therapist, physician, or dietician, who can give you concrete steps to understanding and overcoming your problems. Some people with health anxieties treat their problems almost like a pet, one which needs constant attention. If your health problem is bigger than you can correct on your own, make sure you get help bearing the burden, so that hopefully you can find relief.
- You Have Deeper Fears About Life and Death. Death is part of life, and there’s no way to avoid it. It’s natural to have existential fears about death (and life), and sometimes these can manifest in an acute preoccupation with health and fitness. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy so that you can live longer (and be happier and more well during that longer duration). However, if you have unreconciled concerns about illness, pain, and death, it’s important to deal with these. Unresolved, these all-too-human worries can lead to a situation where you’re obsessed with health, but wherein you’re not able to enjoy the health you have.
It’s not a good thing to have deep-seated worry about health. Even though people like this can be physically healthy, the state of mind which pushes them to rigorous health practices may prevent them from being happy. Health stress can also lead to avoidable health problems. Deal with the anxieties that motive these preoccupations, and achieve health that is felt in body and mind.