Your stress is showing
Stress can take a toll on your blood sugar and cause other long-term effects, if not monitored.
May 1, 2014 - Author: Pam Daniels, Michigan State University Extension
It is true that we cannot remove all stress from our lives, nor can we eliminate all the fears or anxieties brought on by stress-triggers (finances, relationships jobs and more). Stress can be found in our private and professional lives. The workplace can especially have a major impact on our stress levels
According to a Princeton research study, “Three-fourths of employees believe today’s worker has more on-the-job stress than a generation ago. Problems at work are more strongly associated with health complaints than are any other life stressor-more so than even financial problems or family problems”.
When we are stressed, our bodies naturally increase production of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. This can cause blood sugar to rise, boosting energy as it readies the body for action. For some, this action appears as the need to over eat, or not eat by skipping meals all together. Food cravings and disrupted sleep patterns are also associated with increased stress levels. For those with diabetes, stress can become another factor in maintaining blood glucose levels.
Studies reveal those who practice de-stressing techniques may be able to keep hormones at healthy levels. By adaptive coping mechanisms we are better equipped to gain control of emotions, find clarity to make rational decisions and help alleviate the physical symptoms associated with stress.
What types of coping mechanisms work well to de-stress?
- Identify – Identify your role in the situation. Some things are out of our control. Why dwell on it? Prioritize and delegate those things that cause stress and those which cause the most anxiety. According to the CDC, we may have to make a change in our environment to avoid stressors.
- Prepare – If you know that you are going to encounter stress, try doing some relaxation therapies; breathing exercises or guided imagery. Music may help calm breathing and heart rate.
- Exercise – Exercise helps reduce stress hormones. Stretches, walking/jogging or yoga may lower stress levels.
- Time – Meeting deadlines may cause stress. Commit extra time to deadlines that cause you the most stress. Find time for activities that help you unwind and de-stress.
- Encouragement – The Mayo Clinic suggests connecting with and supporting others as it keeps us from dwelling on our own stress.
- Communicating – If stress is becoming too much and it seems to be taking over your life, talk with a professional and your health care provider.
Stress not only affects our mental health, thoughts and feelings but our physical bodies as well. If we can recognize feelings and behaviors brought out by stress and stress triggers we can learn how to self-manage them. If you have excessive worry and stress talk with a professional.
Michigan State University Extension offers many health and nutrition education classes and self-management workshops providing support and evidence based resources. For more information on chronic illness and healthier living, visit MSU Extension’s chronic disease page.