The dictionary gives one definition of stress as “the body’s reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional adjustment or response.” Stress has also been defined as “forces from the outside world that impinge on an individual that can cause severe problems.” From time to time you will hear someone say that they work better under stress, but would that really be an effective strategy for long-term gain?

Stress takes a toll on the body of each and every person; however, the effects of stress on people who have been diagnosed with diabetes have been found to be more critical as stress makes an already bad situation even worse.  Studies indicate that it is important to practice effective stress management techniques on a regular basis and these should be an active part of managing diabetes. Following are three areas that are affected by stress and recommendations for managing stress:

1. Stress Hormones Raise Your Glucose Level: When you experience stressful situations your body immediately gets into action to provide you with what it thinks you need to fight off attacks. Hormones begin to be pumped like adrenaline, but also the stress hormone cortisol.  These hormones cause your breathing and heartbeat to accelerate and send glucose to the blood for the muscles to use as energy.  Unfortunately, because of diabetes the muscles may not be absorbing the blood and the result is a rise of the sugar in the blood.  Your blood sugar level spikes!

2. Stress Hormones Can Cause You to Gain Weight: The stress hormone cortisol has been identified as being responsible for increasing the appetite. That is perhaps one of the reasons why many people find that when they are agitated or upset, they reach for something to eat.  Cortisol also encourages belly fat, and it has not been proven in the field of medicine that heart attacks are linked to the size of your waistline. 

3. Stress Adds to the Body’s Inability to Absorb Insulin: Many patients with diabetes have already developed insulin resistance.  In addition, stress hormones make it more difficult for the pancreas to secrete insulin that is necessary to move glucose out of the blood again leading to serious spikes in blood sugar.

Stress management includes practicing relaxation techniques like taking deep, slow breaths when you begin to feel agitated. A side effect is that it will strengthen your diaphragm. When possible, get a massage, which could also lower your glucose levels. When stress hormone levels are reduced you will feel less hungry.  Are you getting enough rest?  Sleep is a powerful weapon for lowering your blood sugar. 

Taking a leisurely walk serves two purposes:
1) It gives you time to think and see things in their perspective and hopefully lower you level of stress.
2) It should already be part of your exercise routine, another essential ingredient in stress management and management of diabetes.

I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes four years ago and have worked on controlling it with diet and exercise. Unfortunately I was not consistent until I discovered the Diabetes Reversal Report. This report explains in great detail not only what diabetes is but discusses factors that we may have not considered that can negatively impact our blood sugar levels and our bodies’ ability to absorb insulin. I particularly like that the Report introduces different phases so that changes can be made gradually and effectively. In Phase 3 of the Report the Diabetes Reversal Plan for exercise and physical activity is introduced, which offers a specific approach to target blood control effectively. The Plan includes a workout system called Tabata. I encourage you to learn more about this system and the other strategies at http://www.saygoodbyetodiabetes.com. If you are a home-based or small business owner, I also invite you to visit my website at http://www.mysuccesscircleonline.com for valuable articles and tips.

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