Goals/Objectives: To lower blood sugar through minimizing stress and anxiety.
Time Frame: Ongoing.
In my own experience, as well as observing that of others, stress is the Number One non-food cause of high blood sugar! It doesn’t matter if the stress is good (like a wedding, a vacation, or the birth of a grandchild) or bad (losing a job, a family member, or property). Your body doesn’t know the difference!
Both research and experience clearly demonstrate that stress (good or bad) can raise your blood sugar! Evaluate what might be causing stress in your life, either good stress or bad stress, and consider ways that you can deal with it.
Here are some ways that work for many people, as reported in a recent poll in our Adventist Vegetarian Diabetics™ Facebook group:
- Self-care. Learn to say “no” to requests for yet another task or project.
- Get up from your desk once every hour for a 5-minute physical stretch or other movement.
- Walk or exercise every day, including gardening, cycling, swimming, etc. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins, which produce an overall sense of well-being.
- Listen to music that helps you relax, 5-10 minutes a day.
- Reading (including listening to audio books).
- Meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi, etc.
- Practice mindful breathing for a few minutes several times a day.
- Spend time in nature at least once a week. A beach, a forest, desert, mountains, or just a local park—whatever makes you feel relaxed and happy. A second best would be watching nature documentaries.
- Engage in a pleasurable activity or hobby. Art, crafts, writing, composing music, cooking and baking, crossword puzzles, photography, scrapbooking, etc.
- Keep a Gratitude Journal.
- Spend time with family and friends or spend time alone.
- Try acupuncture or acupressure if it is available to you.
Scheiner, Gary. “How Stress Hormones Raise Blood Sugar,” Insulin in Nation (August 26, 2016). https://insulinnation.com/treatment/how-stress-hormones-raise-blood-sugar/ (accessed on 7/17/2020).
“Emotional stress (fear, anxiety, anger, excitement, tension) and physiological stress (illness, pain, infection, injury) cause the body to secrete stress hormones into the bloodstream. For those without diabetes, the stress-induced blood sugar rise is followed by an increase in insulin secretion, so the blood sugar rise is modest and temporary. For those of us with diabetes, however, stress can cause a significant and prolonged increase in the blood sugar level.”
Becker, Alexandrea. “Visiting The Beach Will Have A Positive Effect On Your Brain,” Sharably (April 21, 2017). https://shareably.net/visiting-the-beach-positive/ (accessed on 7/17/2020).
When you notice how relaxed you feel at the beach, it’s not just all in your head. Science says that it’s a change in the way your brain reacts to its environment leaving you feeling happy, relaxed, and reenergized.
Bowen, Will. “10 Ways to Celebrate National Stress Awareness Month,” Belief Net, Copyright 2020 Beliefnet, Inc. https://www.beliefnet.com/wellness/galleries/10-ways-to-celebrate-national-stress-awareness-month.aspx#3OFbWGM2ZDdGsl7K.99 (accessed on 7/17/2020).
April is National Stress-Awareness Month
DeSanto, Lara, Health Writer. “Managing Stress,” Health Central (January 17, 2017). https://www.healthcentral.com/article/5-ways-to-limit-stresss-impact-on-your-health (accessed on 7/17/2020).
5 Ways to Limit Stress’s Impact on Your Health
- Try controlled breathing
- Laugh it off
- Give yourself permission to walk away
- Make time to rest
- Find things to be thankful for
d’Estries, Michael. “Watching nature documentaries boosts happiness, says study,” Treehugger (updated February 15, 2018). https://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/blogs/watching-nature-documentaries-boosts-happiness-says-study (accessed on 7/17/2020).
Anxiety and fear give way to joy and awe when we tune in.
Kresser, Chris, MS. “My Top 5 Breathing Exercises for Stress Relief,” Chris Kresser (December 7, 2018). https://chriskresser.com/my-top-5-breathing-exercises-for-stress-relief/ (accessed on 7/17/2020).
Montgomery, Bridget; Reviewed by Dr. Sergii Vasyliuk MD. “Dealing with Emotions: How Diabetes Can Affect Your Mood,” The Diabetes Council (September 12, 2018). https://www.thediabetescouncil.com/role-of-emotion-in-dealing-with-diabetes-strong-will-is-important/ (accessed on 7/17/2020).
Addresses the five steps of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. And how each step is manifested with diabetes.