Day 5: The I.D.E.A.L Method
Imagine this scenario.....
Your daughter comes home from the first day of school saying she made a new friend, and she's been invited to the friend's house to play the next day.
You're thrilled that she's made a new friend and has a smile ear-to-ear. BUT, you've never let her go to a friend's house without you, let alone to someone's house whose mother you've not yet met. You want to let her go and play, but your fear is keeping you hostage. The "what ifs" are playing loud and on repeat in your head, making it hard for you to think straight!
When you need to make a decision, but your emotions are taking over, having a problem-solving tool to help navigate the scenario can be beneficial.
That's where the I.D.E.A.L. Method comes in! This technique helps define the main problem in a situation, and guides you through creating and evaluating solutions. Essentially, it helps you look at things more objectively.
Applying the I.D.E.A.L. Method to the scenario above might look like this....
IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM:
(Describe it with detail - have you had similar scenarios before?)
(What would you like to happen? You’ll need to sort through the feelings in order to make a tangible goal)
(What solutions are there? Which is best? Is it safe? List the pro/cons of each).
(Pick one of the solutions and try it)
(Did it work? If not, what will you do differently next time?)
Benefits of the I.D.E.A.L. Method....
If you find yourself needing support for food allergy-related psychosocial impacts, locate a food allergy-knowledgeable clinical behavioral healthcare provider
via the Food Allergy Counselor Directory.
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Day 3: Common Thinking Traps
We should trust our own thoughts at all times, right? Not exactly. Sometimes our brain plays tricks on us.
Cognitive distortions are thought patterns that cause us to perceive reality through a skewed perception - usually a negative one. These thinking errors then often trigger feelings of pessimism. Those feelings of pessimism, over time, can give way to increased levels of anxiety and sadness. It's literally a domino effect!
But how do you know if you've been falling into thinking traps? Below are nine common cognitive distortions with a food allergy spin. Do you find yourself commonly using one....or more?
This list of thinking traps isn't a complete one - here are additional cognitive distortions. So now that you've identified which food allergy-related thinking traps you typically fall into, what can you do about it?
Challenge Them - This is exactly as it sounds. You're going to challenge your thoughts to a duel! Think of yourself as a private investigator, whose job it is to find evidence to confirm that the negative thoughts in your brain aren't true. That evidence then becomes the weapon you'll use to fight back against the negative thoughts. In the emotional reasoning example where the faulty thought is "If I feel incapable of managing food allergies, then I must be incapable!", you're looking for evidence to support the opposite - that you're more capable than you think. Even if the evidence isn't food allergy-specific, it's still applicable. (Here is a brief video from University of Toronto on challenging thinking traps, and a helpful chart to use to help you challenge cognitive distortions).
Self-Talk - Once you've identified the thinking traps and attempted to challenge them, you'll want to create positive self-talk. (Yes, it's okay to talk to yourself, either aloud or in your own head). Even after you've challenged your stinking thinking, that negative internal dialogue may return; therefore, you'll want to fight back with self-statements that allow you to feel capable, empowered, and resilient. You may have to fake it until you make it with your self-talk initially, but eventually, you'll retrain your brain to believe it! (Try these positive self-statements on for size: "Even if my child has a reaction, I am prepared, capable, and ready to handle it." Or "It's okay to feel scared; I don't have to judge myself or let others' judgments make me feel bad.")
----Read all seven Food Allergy Awareness Week tips here!---
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(If you find yourself needing support for food allergy-related psychosocial impacts, locate a food allergy-knowledgeable clinical behavioral healthcare provider via the Food Allergy Counselor Directory.)
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