Controlling Diabetes by Managing Stress

Stress is the “21st century’s silent killer”, and for good reason, as it causes more health problems than any other factor. In order to manage diabetes, it’s important to know how stress makes the condition worse.

Stress weakens the immune system, which can trigger the release of the stress hormone cortisol into the blood. In turn, cortisol will cause the body to release stored glucose and fat for energy to cope with the stress.

While glucose can help with an overall feeling of wellness, it requires the body to have enough insulin to balance it out, and herein lies the problem. Diabetics usually do not have enough insulin production to handle the glucose in their blood. This results in a situation where the body’s high glucose levels combined with fat in the blood stream leads to high ketones levels, a double whammy as high ketones can cause excessive abdominal pain.

Different stressors can cause different reactions in the body, as well. Being physically stressed, due to overworking or not getting enough sleep, will cause blood glucose levels to rise. On the other hand, mental stress deriving from situations such as financial or marital stress can make blood sugar rise or drop. The only way to know for sure is a blood glucose test which should be done at regular intervals anyway to monitor the body’s reaction to stressors.

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Image courtesy of; geralt

To maintain balance, it’s important to set aside time to de-stress. There are many ways to do this and the “right way” varies from individual to individual. There are no hard and fast rules here and nothing is set in stone.

Whenever people talk about de-stressing, the first thought that comes to mind is either meditation or yoga. However, the whole idea of being calm and still in order to relieve stress has been over played. In fact, some people may find it more stressful to try and clear their mind for meditation, so choosing high intensity sports like boxing or CrossFit may work better for them. The exertion can release pent up energy and leave these people with a sense of calm. Either route can help burn off negative energy instead of allowing it to fester over time.

Another way to de-stress is to have fun and laugh… a lot. Laughter is the best medicine. Laughing expends energy while at the same can increase heart rate by 10 to 20 percent. This means a person could burn about 10-40 calories by laughing for 10 to 15 minutes. So hey, if watching a comedy generates laughter and switches the minds focus, it’s a fantastic form of stress relief.

Talking to a trusted individual, and being able to vent frustrations and worries, is also a great form of stress relief for some.  Similarly, journaling can do wonders for others. Writing down one’s thoughts and feelings on paper can be incredibly therapeutic. Again, it’s all about burning up the negative energy, and dispersing negative thoughts.

There are many other common forms of stress relief, including getting a massage, watching a movie, taking a luxurious warm bath, hiking, or even trying something new. These can all be ways to release pent up stress.

Find what works best and allocate time to those activities. It will help in the long run.

Featured image courtesy of; Alexis