Stress can evolve into illnesses. And stress can exacerbate existing conditions further. It is scientifically proven. The traditional Indian medical term for this imbalance is “Vata Dosha”, and one of the ailments strongly affected by emotional turbulence is diabetes, especially type-2. Studies have shown that tension and strain can affect blood sugar levels, which may force your primary healthcare professional to increase the dosage (medication/insulin). Therefore, it is highly advisable to manage stress through a diabetic diet, mindfulness, and meditation.
Although it may sound bizarre and complex, the link between diabetes and stress is logical and straightforward. Read on to know what causes the spike in blood sugar levels when tensed and the solution for these surges.
Understanding the Link between Stress and Diabetes
Every action has a reaction. The same rule applies to stress, anxiety, and tension. It is a phenomenon triggered by adverse events that compromise physical and mental wellness. During this period, the body tends to release a hormone called Cortisol. This chemical is responsible for increased glucose and fat production. You need to understand that irrespective of your diabetic status, stress will release this hormone, and your blood sugar level will invariably shoot up. Moreover, this increase can also cause hunger pangs which in most cases results in food binges. Over a period of time, weight gain is imminent, and so is the chance of being affected by diabetes, especially type-2.
Practising Mindfulness and Meditation
If stress spikes your sugar level, mind-body exercises are capable of easing the same. A glucometer test can prove this without a doubt. Interestingly, in one of the studies, researchers found that type-2 people with diabetes who performed regular physical and mental routines for stress relief didn’t require extra medications or insulin dosage. In fact, over an extended timeline, these individuals remained free from long-term side effects of diabetes—that is, heart or kidney ailments. Yoga and meditation are some of the mind-body activities for people with diabetes. Certain forms of aerobics, qigong, and breathing exercises can really work wonders. In another study, it was found that people lowered their A1C levels by almost 1% after they started practising mindfulness and meditation.
Exercise for Stress Relief and Blood Sugar Control
Besides mind-body exercises, sleep also plays an important role in managing diabetes. Practising these routines in the form of meditation and mental relaxation can result in profound calmness. If you need support, there are online communities, brick-and-mortar yoga centers, and even digital applications that teach the finer nuances of meditation based on different genres. The idea is to calm the body and also provide quality sleep. Controlled breathing, which is lying down, and inhaling/exhaling, is a good way to begin your stress-free journey. If you are a nature lover, walking, bicycling, gardening, and trekking are some of the effective options you can explore. Keep a glucose test kit handy so that you can monitor the fruits of your efforts.
Cultivating a Supportive Social Network
Sounds unreal, doesn’t it? However, it’s true. Social networking, especially online peer support groups, can make a huge difference in your fight against stress and, thereby, your diabetes. While many diabetes resource websites offer self-care education for free, peer groups/forums are a great place to interact with people with similar issues. It is not uncommon to see independently run peer groups affiliated with a larger organisation providing a state-of-the-art diabetes support environment via self-care techniques, typically yoga, meditation, and targeted routines. Social networking groups often arrange face-to-face sessions with healthcare professionals, a great way to seek clarification. Even so, having a sugar testing machine at home can also make a huge difference.
Managing Time and Priorities – Reducing Stressors
Blood sugar spikes caused by stress are difficult to control and manage. Mindfulness and self-care are the only options. Delaying or ignoring can be fatal in the long run. You need to find time, identify your short and long-term goals, narrow down stress-reducing routines, and redefine your lifestyle/habits. If you are tech-savvy, exploit apps, digital/online calendars, and reminders. In short, prioritize your health goals by reducing stressors.
Stress-Reducing Hobbies and Activities
There is a saying that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. An idle mind also sends us into a whirlpool of negative thoughts. This manifests in unwanted worry, depression, and anxiety. De-stressing not only includes mind-body activities but also utilising free time to perk up our spirits. Gardening, music, arts and craft, and sports are some of the avenues to keep yourself busy during your free time. Analyse your creativity, look back, and narrow down your talent apart from professional / career abilities. Make sure the hobby you choose offers happiness. Do random glucometer tests to check if you are on the right path. A stress-free, joyous mind is your gateway to superior mental health and well-being. Remember, a sprinkle of stress is good for the body’s emotional immune system, but a handful of it can be disastrous.
Seeking Professional Support and Counselling
On the other hand, seeking professional support is always a good idea. In this digital age, diabetes support and counselling, especially when it comes to addressing stress-induced spikes, can be achieved with just a few mouse clicks. Start-ups like BeatO offer a wide range of programs, plans, and consultations. These are affordable options with fantastic returns in terms of health benefits. De-stressing via online professional support is a great way to counter your fluctuating glucose levels and also for “sugar monitor” tasks. These healthcare specialists not only manage your medicines, diet, and exercise routines but also create a timetable for your daily activities.
You need to understand that stress increases glucose levels in the blood irrespective of whether you are diabetic or not, and therefore the above strategies are applicable to everyone. However, suppose you are in a perpetual state of despair or suspect that you are suffering from depression along with diabetes. In that case, it is extremely important that you seek professional help immediately.
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