Managing Peanut Allergy Anxiety with Mindfulness

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Two of the best self-help treatments for anxiety are taking active steps to manage a worrisome situation and practicing mindfulness.

Clearing the kitchen of foods with peanuts, talking to your child’s school and learning to use a epinephrine auto-injector are all steps people can take to manage a peanut allergy and reduce anxiety.

Reducing Anxiety Through Mindfulness

Mindfulness, or the practice of keeping your attention in the present moment, is another fantastic allergy-related anxiety reducer for several reasons.

  1. When the mind is focused on what is occurring right now (e.g., events, people, feelings, tasks) we may still have concerns but we are not worrying about them. Our thoughts and our bodies are not stressed by dwelling on the possibility of something we do not want to happen to us.
  2. To be present is to be aware of what is going on around us. It makes us more likely to notice any actual threats to safety, including the presence of an allergen. An anxious mind is preoccupied, not observant.
  3. Should an allergy emergency occur, we will handle it better if we are relaxed, present and clear-headed. Being in the moment with a calm mind also gives us access to our instincts and intuition, often helpful in difficult situations.
  4. Although people have genuine concerns and want their loved ones safe, life passes us by if we are not attuned the present moment.

Practicing mindfulness is not a cure-all and does not alter the reality of the world we live in. Life is still life, but being calm and centered helps us feel better, manage the day well and appreciate small pleasures more.

There are many good books, videos and websites available on mindfulness. It is easy to learn and practice. Materials by Jon Kabat-Zinn or Jack Kornfield are great for beginners. Also consider taking a class that teaches mindfulness meditation.

Photo credit: mindfulness / flickr creative commons

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