Stress and Diabetes Management

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In today’s world, there are very few people that do not suffer from stress. Stress and anxiety can arise from petty issues such as traffic, or more important matters like demanding careers, educational exams and more. When facing a stressful situation, it is difficult to be calm and rather easy to get aggressive as if such behaviour was our default mode.

During times of stress, a multitude of activities occur in our body. The brain secretes stress hormones (Adrenalin and cortisol) that put our body in the flight-or-fight mode. As a result, the heart pounds faster, the breath quickens and blood flows in full gusto. This is a natural process of the body, but due to modern life, anxiety occurs more frequently than needed.

Diabetes management can be a stressful activity. One has to take care of a lot of factors over a lifetime in order to avoid negative consequences. Stress hormones can increase blood glucose levels rapidly. Patients of Type 2 Diabetes will notice a surge of blood glucose when they are tensed. Effects on Type 1 Diabetics are unpredictable; they can experience either a rise or fall in blood glucose level. Hence both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetics need to learn stress management techniques.

Tension can lead to binge eating or overeating of fast food, desserts, etc. This is unhealthy in regular people, but in diabetics, it is detrimental. People tend to counter their stress levels by adopting an unhealthy lifestyle where smoking and drinking alcohol are considered stress busters. Such activities can exacerbate a Diabetic’s already fragile health.

To control their stress levels, diabetics and pre-diabetics can follow a few methods given below:

Practise Mediation

Meditation can have positive effects not only on stress management, but also on your general demeanour. Using meditation, one can develop a positive attitude towards stress triggers and stay calm by controlling the flow of breath in the body. Even meditating 10 to 20 minutes a day and being mindful of the breath during times of stress can help diabetics immensely.

Exercise Daily

Exercising daily can help in management of cortisol that is secreted during stress. No wonder exercising is also called ‘blowing off steam’ as one can remove all aggression during an intense workout. Exercise can be active like gym workouts, sprinting, or more calming like Yoga and Tai Chi which have a pleasant after-effect on the body.

Confide in People

There is no shame in seeking a therapist if stress arises often. Diabetics can get vital tips from therapists on modulating their reactions to stress inducers. Speaking to a friend can also help in getting negative feelings off the chest; seek counsel from trusted loved ones on staying composed.

Accept Situations

There are certain situations that are guaranteed to inflict stress such as traffic, important meetings and exams. In such situations, one needs to realise that they are transitory and acting out will cause self-harm. By accepting that a certain degree of stress will be induced by these situations, one can be mindful of their response.

Eating Habits and Diet

Diabetics cannot indulge in certain food; these unfulfilled desires cause mild stress. Diabetics have to manage their diet smartly. They can include low GI and high GI food in a single meal to balance the GI load. Desserts can be prepared in honey, jaggery, or low GI sugar like Diabliss which is the world’s first diabetes friendly sugar. Hence their cravings for desserts will be satisfied.