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7 Ways To Cope With Stress

April is Stress Awareness Month. In our modern-day society, stress has become a much-overused word. Other synonyms you might use are overwhelmed, burnout, and pressure. These words adequately describe the way a person feels when under stress.

What is stress?

However, the scientific meaning of stress is the way the body responds to physical, emotional or mental pressure, commonly called the fight or flight response. During stress your body undergoes chemical changes that can raise your blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels.

Stress and diabetes

People with type 2 diabetes are prone to stress because of the difficulties associated with managing diabetes. Also, when you are under stress, your blood sugar levels rise. Let’s say you are walking along the street and see a speeding car coming straight at you, you experience a rush of adrenaline. Your heart pounds, your breathing becomes shallow, and your saliva may even dry up. This rush of adrenaline causes your blood glucose levels to rise as the body prepares to give you enough energy for fight or flight. At the same time, your insulin level drops, growth hormone and cortisol levels rise, making your body less sensitive to insulin.

Emotional stress may come about when you are overwhelmed either with demands placed on your time at work or at home. Conflict, financial pressures, and health issues can all bring about stress.

Use the infographic below to help increase your stress awareness and learn some techniques that will help you cope with stress.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

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How To Cope With Anxiety

In my last post I mentioned some mental health conditions that may exist along with type 2 diabetes. Of all these conditions, anxiety is among the most common. Fear and worry over the management of the disease can give way to anxiety. Also, individuals with diabetes who experience anxiety are likely to have poor medical outcomes. For this reason, it is important that you learn how to cope with anxiety in order to avoid these complications.

Identify your triggers

Before you learn how to cope with anxiety, you should first be able to identify your triggers. Does a visit to your doctor make you anxious? Does talking about your illness trigger your anxiety? Or, monitoring your glucose levels? Or being in certain social situations? Once you identify your triggers you should keep a record of when they occur in your journal and refer to them when you feel anxious.

Anxiety and your breathing

When you feel anxious, your breathing becomes shallow and you may have difficulty breathing. Once the threat is passed, your breathing slows and you feel relaxed. You can train yourself to control your breathing when you feel yourself becoming anxious.

Deep breathing

Most of the breathing we do consists of short, shallow breaths from our chest. The most effective type of breathing is deep breathing or breathing from our diaphragm or belly. This is not the way you will breathe all the time, but you should take a few minutes out of your day, every day, to practice some deep breathing.

What deep breathing does

Stress, worry and anxiety become trapped in our bodies and build up over time, making us more tense and anxious. Deep breathing brings more oxygen into the body to feed our cells and our brain and get rid of these trapped emotions. Deep breathing relaxes your mind, lowers blood pressure, and even aids digestion. The more oxygen we take in the more cleansing we experience. Think of it as an emotional detox.

How to do it

Below you will find written instructions and a video on how to do deep breathing . Whichever one you choose, practice it regularly and you will begin to reap the benefits.

Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is a simple technique that’s excellent for managing emotions. Not only is deep
breathing effective, it’s also discreet and easy to use at any time or place. Sit comfortably and place one hand on your abdomen. Breathe in through your nose, deeply enough that the hand on your abdomen rises. Hold the air in your lungs, and then exhale slowly through your mouth, with your lips puckered as if you are blowing through a straw. The secret is to go slow: Time the inhalation (4s), pause (4s), and exhalation (6s). Practice for 3 to 5 minutes. Breathing in, your stomach rises; breathing out, your stomach lowers.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.

Alldiabetic, LLC
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Mental Health Conditions That Exist With Diabetes

In an earlier post, I stated that many people with diabetes also suffer from depression, a very common mental health illness, and that number may be as high as 1 in 4 adults with diabetes and 27% in adults with type 2 diabetes. But depression is not the only mental health condition that may plague people with diabetes. Other conditions are:

Bipolar disease. This is a group of chronic psychiatric diseases that affect mood and energy levels. People with bipolar usually experience periods of mania (elevated mood) lasting at least 4 days and periods of depression lasting two weeks. These episodes must be sever enough to interfere with your normal everyday activities.

According to the National Library of Medicine (NIH), bipolar disease like depression is 3 times higher in people with type 2 diabetes than the general population, however, the NIH could give no clear explanation for this occurrence. Some medications such as antipsychotics, as well as lifestyle factors, are believed to play an important role.

Image by Sam Williams from Pixabay


Stress and anxiety go hand in hand. Stress may cause your palms to become sweaty, and your heart to beat faster and this can cause your blood sugar to go up. This stress can lead to anxiety, a feeling of dread, or apprehension. Dealing with a chronic illness like diabetes can bring on what is known as diabetes distress.

Anxiety is more than the normal nervousness you may feel about moving to a new city or starting a new job. Anxiety is a constant feeling of fear or unease that gets so bad it prevents you from doing things you normally enjoy. If this feeling persists for at least 6 months, you may have an anxiety disorder of which there are many types.

  • Panic disorder – experiencing sudden panic attacks
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder – irrational thoughts that lead you to perform the same task over and over
  • Phobia – fear of a specific situation, activity, or object. Some people may have a fear of open spaces.
  • Social anxiety – fear of being judged in social situations
  • Separation anxiety – fear of being away from home or loved ones

Research has found that individuals with diabetes are 20% more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety. Worry over managing their illness, weight, or diet, fear of developing other illnesses such as kidney or heart disease, and fear of needles can lead to anxiety.

Eating disorders

One of the major challenges diabetics have in managing their diabetes is what they should eat. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, eating disorders affect up to 20% of people with diabetes. However, the actual prevalence of eating disorders may be difficult to determine due to the guilt and shame that keep people from reporting these problems.

Eating disorders may range from severely restricting calories to overeating and even restricting insulin in an attempt to lose weight. The report goes on to state that people with type 2 diabetes may indulge in binge eating without purging (as in bulimia nervosa), and night eating syndrome — getting up during the night to eat. Binge eating has the potential to result in the development of type 2 diabetes.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where mental health is stigmatized, making it difficult to talk about it. However, if you have diabetes and experience mood swings, anxiety, stress, and difficulty in controlling your eating habits you should report this at your next doctor’s appointment. Some of these conditions, if not attended to promptly, can seriously impact your ability to manage your diabetes.

In my next post, I will go into more detail about mental health disorders and how you can cope with them. Meanwhile, I invite you to join my group over at Type 2 Diabetics Network where you can get more information and support to help you win this fight against diabetes.

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.