You are making the pathway for anxiety stronger in your brain
Googling your symptoms is absolutely fine, if you get the answers you were seeking and leave it at that.
However, it is not fine, if it is something that you habitually do when you are feeling anxious.
In the long run, what you are doing, is preparing a well trodden path in your brain that alerts you to do this each time you feel anxious.
How does it start.
Let’s take the example of having chest pain and I am making the assumption that you have been given the all clear medically.
You get the pain, and probably a whole selection of other symptoms, and bang, the thoughts start.
What if it is my heart?
What if they missed something?
How do I know the difference between anxiety and a heart attack?
Before you know it, you’re on Google, looking for some answers and more importantly, some reassurance to help calm you down
The key to it, is to see it for what it is
Something happens. In this case chest pain
Following by thoughts. What if it is my heart
These thoughts, combined with the real pain that you are feeling, is making you afraid.
This is when you turn to Google and momentarily feel okay when you find the information that says you are okay, and you calm down a little.
Your brain is quick to learn, I feel anxious, I know, I’ll check Google for some information, as that sometimes calms me down.
This becomes the well trodden path in your brain that will complete automatically next time you feel this way
It is the anxiety that you now feel that makes you want to Google.
It is the anxiety that is fueling the scary thoughts that you have.
The thoughts then make you more anxious, and you are stuck in a vicious loop.
What you need to do, is find another way to calm yourself down, (instead of the frantic searching) then you break the chain, you break the learning, the well trodden path in your brain.
You will also be teaching yourself to develop a new, more helpful path in your brain.
It is not the emotion; the anxiety, that it is the problem, but how you respond to it.
Why you want to develop a new pathway
The one that you currently have is keeping you anxious. Ask yourself these questions
Do you feel in control?
Are you able to take time and read the information that you are reading, or
Do you frantically bounce from one website to the next, scanning the pages, looking for “something”?
I am guessing that when you are googling, you are feeling very anxious both in your mind and your body, as you search for some sort of explanation.
In terms of what you are doing to your brain and the impact this has on your levels of anxiety, is very important
Your brain is learning. Read more on this
Your brain is learning, when you feel anxious, you start searching symptoms, and when this is happening, you feel more anxious.
Each time you repeat this pattern, you are strengthening the connection in your brain
Feel anxious + scary thoughts = Google symptoms
Except this never makes you feel okay
You want new learning
Feel anxious + scary thoughts = use another method to calm down how I am feeling in my body in my mind.
If you do this, you are starting to respond to the emotion (the anxiety) in a way that is more helpful to you, and that does not keep you anxious.
If there is one point that I want you to take from this page, it is
It is not the anxiety that is the problem, it is how you respond to the anxiety that creates the problem.
You can choose to respond a different way.