Dr Chrissie Jones discusses Anxiety and Allergies in her latest report below...
Stress and anxiety are closely linked to allergies, not only potentially leading to their development, but also playing a role in making symptoms worse1234.
At a symptom level, it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between allergy and the impact of stress and anxiety, as the way our bodies respond can feel very similar. Anxiety and allergic reactions can both include shortness of breath, chest tightness and a racing heart.
Allergy symptoms can also be incredibly frightening and lead to allergy anxiety and hypervigilance, where we are constantly on the lookout for threat and danger or for signs of those bodily sensations. This can in turn act as a potential anxiety and stress trigger.
High stress situations are more likely to cause this cycle, and the challenges brought about by lockdown and the impact of COVID 19 have been particularly stressful and anxiety-inducing for many.
Here are some strategies to help cope with anxious feelings and reverse the cycle:
- Manage the physical sensations of anxiety Shallow breathing and tense muscles are linked to stress, worry and anxiety so try the following techniques to try to combat these (try using these techniques when you are not anxious)
- Mindful and calm breathing – consciously slowing down your breath and breathing deeply and gently
- Muscle relaxation – squeezing or tensing muscles in your body
- Gentle exercise – try going for a walk, run, swim, cycle or yoga. Or something which exerts some physical effort such as gardening or housework
- Create a list of your routine, necessary and pleasurable activities
- Create a ladder of the list and rank your activities by easy, medium or difficult
- Schedule your activities using a diary or calendar
- Do the activity and rate your mood and sense of achievement after
- Review your week; how did doing the activities effect your mood? What can you do next week? Were there any challenges? Think about how you might overcome them
Try to practice more balanced thinking by challenging those unhelpful thoughts and forming more realistic ones based on what is more likely to happen
Try writing your worry down and ask yourself “Can I deal with this worry now?” If the answer is yes, problem-solve it. If the answer is no, let the worry go and change the focus of your attention
- Identify the problem and what you can do about it (even if your options seem far-fetched.)
- Look at the pros and cons of all the solutions and select your best option
- Plan and schedule how you will do it
- Put your plan into action
- Review how well it went; did it work? Do you have to go back to your list? What got in the way?
All content and advice is provided on behalf of Allergy UK in partnership with Kleenex®.
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