One of the most common questions I see being asked within the food allergy community is:
"How do I help my son or daughter with their food allergy anxiety or worry?"
The answer to that question isn't simplistic, as there are likely many factors contributing to the anxiety or worry. But at the core of the answer is the advice to help their child better understand the worry in order to develop strategies to help effectively manage it.
What exactly is worry?
The terms "anxiety", "worry", and "fear" are often used interchangeably. So do they mean the same thing? No, but they are definitely related.
Whereas anxiety typically stems from the uncertainty, unpredictability and unknown about future situations, worry is the thinking part of anxiety. It's what often leads our minds to dwelling on worst case scenarios, the "what ifs", or leads us into a thinking trap known as "catastrophizing".
Whether our worry is triggered by anxiety about the future or fear due to a threat in the here-and-now, it can lead us down the rabbit hole of thoughts. This may then trigger uncomfortable emotions and physical sensations, which often convinces us even more that our worried thoughts must be valid!
What helps to manage worrY?
There are a variety of therapeutic approaches to help people learn to manage or navigate life with their anxiety or worry. Whether through basic psychoeducation, or strategies based on approaches stemming from evidence-based therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, or exposure therapy, the goals are typically to help people change negative thought patterns, learn relaxation or grounding skills, and change behaviors that lead to the distressing impacts or outcomes.
The Managing Food Allergy Worries Worksheet
The following 3-page therapeutic worksheet was created to help older kids, teens, and even adults begin to address their food allergy-related worries. The goal of the worksheet is to help you identify practical strategies that effectively help you break free from those worry traps. It encourages getting to know more about the thoughts that fuel the worry. It also guides you to notice how the worry makes you feel physically since anxiety and worry often bring on physical sensations that may even trick you into thinking you're having an allergic reaction.
You can download this 3-page therapeutic worksheet below
via Scribd or through the file download option.
[Disclaimer: This therapeutic activity is meant to help understand and manage worries, but is not meant to take the place of counseling. Please reach out to a licensed clinical mental healthcare provider if you feel that your anxiety or worry is impacting your life in a way that feels unmanageable on your own. You can locate an allergy-informed therapist in your state via the Food Allergy Counselor Directory.]
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Thanks for reading,
If you've ever experienced an allergic reaction, or witnessed your child experiencing one, then you're likely familiar with how it can feel afterwards - once the reaction is over. These emotions and thoughts may include feelings such as fear, worry, sadness, or even guilt, and explorations to try and understand what happened in order to prevent it from happening again.
For some, they may process through this phase quickly, while others take longer. Some may even find themselves becoming stuck along the way, unable to find their way back to navigating food allergies confidently.
New podcast episode on this topic!
In episode 9 of the Exploring Food Allergy Families podcast, I'm joined by fellow allergy-informed clinician, psychologist Fawn McNeil-Haber, PhD.
Together, we explore common feelings and thoughts that many may feel for days, weeks or even months after a reaction. We explore how those emotional reactions may lead to common behavioral changes and actions. Additionally, we share strategies to help people through this while on the journey back to confidently managing food allergies. [These tips may be helpful for parents and allergic kids, teens, and adults].
|T.R.A.C.E. Post-Anaphylaxis Tips PDF - Tamara Hubbard, LCPC|
|File Size:||49 kb|
So why did I create this podcast?
Well, you'll have to listen to the brief preview episode to hear that answer!
But I'll share why I think you'll enjoy this new podcast....
Exploring Food Allergy Families is a podcast with real talk, relatable conversations, and practical tips focused on navigating the impacts that food allergies have on families, mental health, and emotional well-being. Building resilience and an empowered mindset are key pillars of this podcast.
With episode lengths of 30 minutes or less, they're perfect to listen to while going for a run, walking the dog, or enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning (or wine at night)!
This podcast aims to share and explore:
- "Bite size" chunks of knowledge on various topics, with tips you can use
- Interviews with allergy-informed allied and mental healthcare providers
- Guidance on a variety of food allergy, relationship, and life stresses
- New thought processes that help you co-exist with or flip inner worry voices
- Strategies to assess and address increased anxiety, emotions, and stress
- Perspectives on how food allergies impact family systems and relationships
- Building an empowered mindset to help gain confidence and build resilience
- Honest conversations with families at various stages of their allergy journey
- Reassurance that you're not alone in your thoughts and feelings
- Parenting guidance to help determine if you're on track with food allergy parenting goals in different stages of development
- Fun chats, because sometimes we just need to lighten the mood and laugh
- And SO much more, because this is just the beginning!
Also, for episodes focused on skill-building and strategies, there will be additional follow up resources available on this website for those topics, should you want to apply and practice the concepts discussed.
Then be sure to subscribe to Exploring Food Allergy Families (wherever you listen to podcasts) so you don't miss future episodes!
Trust me, you won't want to miss any episodes, especially the next one, Exploring Food Allergy Dads' Experiences, where I will share insights from the recent survey, relevant guidance/tips, and chat with one of these amazing food allergy dads!
So, let's explore food allergy families together!
Podcast Info: www.FoodAllergyFamilies.com (or Podcast section on this website )
or feedback on whether topics explored on the podcast have been helpful. -
on Facebook via
Tamara Hubbard, LCPC counseling page
4 Things Series
Food Allergy Management
Food Allergy Worksheets