If you have diabetes, stress can take a larger toll on your body. When the body is under stress, it acts as if it is under attack. Cortisol (the stress hormone) levels rise, causing your body to store energy in the form of glucose and fat. In diabetics, this process can be disrupted. The glucose is released, and if it can’t be stored, it builds up in your bloodstream.
Stress hormones are scientifically proven to affect blood glucose levels. Scientists who have been studying the effects of stress on these levels have found that when diabetic mice were under stress they had elevated glucose levels. In Type 1 diabetics, studies produced mixed results with some patients experiencing a rise in blood glucose while others noticed a decline. Type 2 diabetics more consistently experienced a rise than a decline. This research confirms the importance of stress reduction.
Not All Coping Mechanisms Are Good
Everyone has different ways of coping with stress on the outside. Some negative examples are below:
- Drinking more alcohol
- Not getting enough exercise
- Neglecting nutrition (very important NOT to do if you’re diabetic)
- Not getting adequate sleep
Diabetics have even more to think about during stressful times and stress may cause them to forget important tasks such as checking their blood glucose levels on a regular basis or planning their meals ahead of time.
Positive Coping Mechanisms
On the other hand, there are many positive ways to deal with stress. Below are some methods anyone can implement to reduce stress:
- Get regular exercise
- Spend more time on your hobbies or learn a new one
- Perform volunteer work in your community
- When commuting, take the less stressful route to work if your drive is long
- Patch up conflicts with your friends or family
Relaxation Therapy Techniques for Stress Reduction
- Breathing exercises
- Replace negative thoughts with positive ones
- Progressive muscle relaxation therapy — an example of this is shown in the video below