Stress & Connection

 

reduce your stress

When we’re stressed, our body triggers a fight or flight response – releasing hormones that increase the level of glucose and fat available to our cells. This response was designed to give our cells the energy needed to help us fight or escape in dangerous situations. In individuals with diabetes, insulin isn’t always able to allow glucose into our cells – so the extra glucose stays in our bloodstream. 

Reducing our exposure to stress is easier said than done. Life can be hectic, and the challenges of living with diabetes can cause us to experience added stress. We can lower our exposure to stressful situations by practicing regular stress management exercises and through the power of connection. 

 

What is the importance of connectioN?

Vivek Murthy – the 19th Surgeon General of the United States – once wrote that social connection is so important to human health that a lack of strong social connection has the same effect as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. A lack of connection is associated with many of the same chronic conditions that are linked to diabetes – conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and depression.

Diabetes is a tough diagnosis to receive, and having the right support network in place can help diabetics live healthy, happy lives. Supportive family and friends can get us through tough times, and provide us with the motivation we need to make healthy choices. 

It’s important to have a medical team that is centered around you as well – one that consists of your physician, but may also include a certified diabetic educator, a behavioral health counselor, and a medical social worker that can connect you with the resources you need to succeed.

Tips for living a stress free and connected life

Start a Daily Yoga Routine

Diabetes is exacerbated by stress, and yoga is a proven method of reducing stress. A study in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology found that those who practiced yoga for just 30 minutes a day had fewer fluctuations in their blood glucose levels.

Yoga doesn’t have to be an intense workout either – simple poses alone can help us reduce stress, as well as improve our flexibility and range of motion.

 

Enhance Your Social Connections

Fostering social connection can help us reduce our risk for cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression and anxiety. But what can we do to cultivate a strong and happy social life? Here are some suggestions:

  • Make an effort to carve out time to be with the people you care about.
  • Create a setting where people can let their guards down and safely confide in each other. Practice speaking about your feelings with authenticity and listening to others non-judgmentally and with empathy and compassion.
  • One of the best ways to forge and maintain friendships is through built-in regularity — something you can plan around that is always on the schedule at least twice a month – perhaps meeting with your support group on a regular basis, or gathering around the table to play games, or planning an activity with family or friends that requires preparation and training together, such as a challenging hike.

 

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the art of observing and nurturing your thoughts and feelings. When we practice mindfulness, we’re able to slow our thoughts down and focus on the present.

Through mindfulness, we can more carefully examine our wants and needs, and better understand ourselves. But mindfulness has other benefits too – studies show that practicing regular mindfulness can help reduce blood pressure and stress. Here are simple exercises to get started:

Deep Breathing

Breathe from your belly rather than your chest, and try to focus on the sound and rhythm of your breath. This can help you de-stress and help you stay grounded in the present.

Meditation

This one is easier than it sounds! Simply find a quiet place you can escape to regularly, and empty your mind.

Listen to Music

‘Ekahi Wellness | 500 Ala Moana Blvd, Suite 6-D, Honolulu HI
Phone: (808) 777-4000 | Fax: (808) 465-2505