Are food allergies holding you back from the things you want to do? Is the risk too great? Or is it fear that’s holding you back?
I’ve talked before about food allergies and anxiety, but let’s look at that from another angle today.
I know I’ve said it before, but a critical concept to grasp when living with food allergies is this – fear makes any situation seem more serious than it is. In other words, you could be almost perfectly safe at a given time, and yet be convinced you’re in imminent danger.
This problem became so common for me I didn’t realize how much my anxiety was holding me back. When living with severe allergies, there are situations and events you must simply avoid. However, there are many other times in which risk can be managed – and allergy-related anxiety convinces you that’s not true.
Is the anxiety unfounded?
No. Allergy-related anxiety usually develops from a severe reaction and it is founded on solid self-preservation and simply staying alert.
But it can quickly spiral out of control. Learn to tell the difference.
How to turn the tables on allergy-related anxiety.
- Learn to step back. An objective point of view is key to controlling this kind of anxiety. Your fear will inevitably exacerbate the situation to convince you that you can’t protect yourself against even a small risk. Step back and look at the risk for what it is – not for what the mind would have you believe it is.
- Make a plan. I think humans are always more confident when they think they’re in control. So make a plan. Once you’ve determined the actual risk, figure out how best to contain it. Decide what to avoid and how to do so. And if the situation in question involves an extended period of time, such as an overnight stay or road trip with friends, carefully plan out a contingency for an emergency. Please remember to educate the people you’re with about your allergy and apprise them of what to do in the event of an emergency.
You may have noticed that I didn’t outline contingencies for specific situations, or outline specific responses. That’s because you’ll fill in the blanks for your own allergy and you’ll decide what level of risk is acceptable for you.
Don’t live in fear. Healthfully respect your limitations, but keep the anxiety they produce in check. Embrace your ability to thrive! It takes work to beat fear. But the work is worth it. Resolve to take this challenge and you’ll take a huge step toward learning to thrive with food allergies.