The Diabetes-Stress Connection: Five Easy Steps to Reduce Stress

Reducing stress for a person with diabetes is an absolute must. According to medical evidence, stress can increase glucose levels in people with diabetes, making them more susceptible to long-term physical complications such as eye, kidney, and nerve disorders.

In a landmark study, Dr. Richard Surwit, a medical psychologist at Duke University, stated that “stress management techniques, when added to standard care, helped reduce glucose levels….The change [in blood sugar levels] is nearly as large as you would expect to see from some diabetes-control drugs.”

Dr. Surwit went on to point out that “managing stress can significantly improve a patient’s control of their diabetes. These techniques are simple, quick to learn, and have been shown to work for multiple conditions, including coronary syndromes. There are many self-help books and other commercially available materials about stress management from which patients can learn these techniques.”

Consider the following five remedies you can use immediately to reduce stress.

1. Turn stress into an ally instead of an enemy.
When stress is getting your attention, remember that it is a signal to take a break from whatever is stressing you out. If you don’t have a chance to do so right away, then promise yourself a nice soothing bath or walk as soon as possible. Just the thought that at some point your stressful event will be over is often enough to help you begin to feel better.

2. Stress is like the common cold. Don’t catch it from others!
Have you ever noticed that some people seem to want you to be as stressed out as they are? I don’t know about you, but if someone handed me poisonous snake, I wouldn’t take it. Whenever someone near you is handing out “stress snakes,” make sure that you are not receiving.

3. Learn from good stress managers.
Look around. Do you know someone who handles stress well? If not, then no wonder you’re stressed! If you do know someone who is cool under fire, get his or her secrets!

4. Remember to breathe!
Sometimes people feel stressed because they have forgotten to breathe or they are breathing only in their chests (rather than belly breathing). Chest breathing actually raises anxiety levels.

5. Interrupt stressful thoughts.
Practice your breathing techniques when you are aware of stressful triggers. Speaking of stress triggers, bear in mind that if you’ve had too much coffee, it may be time to cut back just a little.

Remember, reducing your stress levels even a little bit can make a big difference. So start now!

Speak well to yourself because your body is always listening.” Devin Hastings

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