Managing Diabetes Related Anxiety: turning anxiety into an opportunity
The first step to positively deal with diabetes related anxiety is to look at it, to simply look at it. Instead of running away from fear we can jump right into fear and get in touch with it. The idea here is not to confront your fears with aggression: confrontation brings conflict, the best is to just stay with it. Simply stay with fear and don’t have a war with it.
By looking at anxiety this way we may be able to turn things around and transform negative emotion into a opportunity to learn. In a way we get involved in the learning process and no longer are so occupied only paying attention to our own anxiety. It is like changing the point of view; the problem still there but we are looking at it from a different angle.
Looking at anxiety in this way offers us the opportunity to use our fears of loosing our health to diabetes into an learning experience that can actually enrich us; when we become curious and we no longer come from a fear place but from a learning and discovery place we create some space and some peace instead of preoccupation with our own problems.
Some practices we can use to reduce diabetes anxiety
- Learn about diabetes. Become a researcher; go beyond what your doctor say or anybody says. Doctors might be right about most things but they don’t know everything. Don’t just believe what everyone say but find out for yourself. If you become knowledgeable about your diabetes you’ll be able to make better decisions when it comes to diabetes treatments and options in the future
- Treatment choices
- Become open about the different treatments that are available. If you acquire knowledge of your own body and health as it relate to diabetes you’ll make better educated decisions. Seek professional help if you are in doubt; always have a second opinion
- Become disciplined about glucose management even if you’ve never been disciplined about anything before. This in another opportunity to get started in practicing something with seriousness: becoming an expert in glucose management
- This is one of the best things you can do to relief your anxiety and stress. Exercise produces endorphin, the feel good neurotransmitter. Exercise improves every system in your body. Your overall health will improve including your glucose control, become discipline about exercising. Strength exercises such as weight lifting are the best type for diabetes. Start slow but start now
- Writing a journal
- Write a journal about your progress, your anxiety, everything with what diabetes means in your life. This is a great way to keep track of what you gone though. Record your progress, your victories. You’ll be able to retrieve it in the moments you are low and feeling disempowered.
- Share with others
- Diabetes get us thinking of our existential fears and how temporary everything can be. Fear of a deteriorating health. This can produce anxiety. Talk to others, share your feelings seek friends who are experiencing the same emotions. The worst is to live in isolation
- Support groups
- If you can’t quite come to a balance on your own is understandable. It is difficult to resolve everything on your own. If talking to family and friends is not working; the next best step is to seek help in support groups
- This might not be always possible depending of the location you live. There are however diabetes support group available online. Support groups can be a great source of empowerment and learning. Is good to know what others are doing and know that they are facing the same fears and obstacles we face. Focus on others; the moment we start caring about others and thinking about their problems we make our problems a little less intense and reduces our anxiety. Good luck.
Helpful ways to reduce anxiety: a guided tour into understanding what makes us feel anxiety
Getting Stuck in the Negatives (and How to Get Unstuck): Alison Ledgerwood at TEDxUCDavis
Image credits: flickr.com