How to Deal with Anxiety When You Find You’re Pre-Diabetic
Anxiety and Pre-Diabetes
Diabetes runs in my family, and while I’ve always been generally in good health, one day when I went to the doctor they found that my blood sugar was running way high, and I was told I might be pre-diabetic. Further tests revealed it was an anomaly – that, at least for now, I am lucky enough to still not have diabetes – but as someone that had severe anxiety for years, I could only imagine what those that find they truly are pre-diabetic are experiencing.
The truth is that there is no easy way to reduce the anxiety of finding out you are at risk for chronic disease. In many ways, it’s good to have a little bit of anxiety about your health, because it keeps you focused on what you can do to maintain your health. But too much anxiety can be problematic, and that type of long term stress can actually exacerbate your risk of diabetes.
Reducing the Anxiety of a Diagnosis of Pre-diabetes
Seeing a therapist is always a useful option. Therapy has been given a bad reputation, but the reality is that cognitive behavioral therapy is a legitimate, healthy option that you should consider if you can afford it. You can also try the following strategies:
• Exercise – Exercise is one of the first things a doctor will recommend if you find you’re pre-diabetic, so chances are it’s something you’re already considering. But the truth is that exercise also has a powerful effect on your anxiety levels. The more you exercise, the easier it is to cope with anxiety and stress, as exercises regulates hormones that cause stress, releases “good feeling” neurotransmitters, and calms your muscles. It’s a powerful tool for relieving anxiety, and something you need to do anyway to reduce your risk of diabetes.
• Educate Yourself – Another serious issue with pre-diabetics is that many only focus on the dangers of diabetes. It’s also important to get a better understanding of what life is like with pre-diabetes. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to motivate yourself to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prepare yourself for living with diabetes should that day ever come. Diabetes is a manageable disease, and education is the key to managing it.
• Have Fun – It may sound like a broad strategy, but one common problem when people find out they have some type of chronic illness is that they allow themselves to lose energy for life. Many believe they need to stay home and relax to cure their anxiety, forgetting that having fun and enjoying life is actually a genuine anxiety cure. Laughter and happiness have a very real effect on anxiety, as does social support from friends and family. If you spend all your time alone moping, your anxiety will only increase.
• Support Groups – Speaking of social support, support groups can also be a beneficial. There are many support groups both online and offline, and participation in these groups is an excellent way to feel less alone with your diagnosis and get the anxiety help you need. Millions of people have diabetes, and likely millions more have pre-diabetes. Support groups can give you a venting space, and help you with tips, advice, thoughts, or worries.
• Start a Journal – It’s not uncommon to feel as though you have no one to talk to – even with support groups, friends, and family. If you have fears and frustrations, let them out in a journal or blog. Give yourself a place to not only vent about your day, but also share your successes. Venting spaces can be incredibly therapeutic, and if you learn to share your positives as well as your negatives, you’ll also have a place to help you remember the things that bring you joy despite your diagnosis.
Pre-diabetes is manageable, and so is anxiety. But both require a commitment to your own happiness and health. As long as you’re willing to give what it takes to manage your anxiety and your blood sugar levels, you’ll find that you can and will still live the great life you expected to live – and maybe even a better one.
Guest Article by Ryan Rivera
About the Author: Ryan Rivera was plagued by intense anxiety for many years. It’s long been his goal to help others reduce their anxiety at www.calmclinic.com.
Filed under: Prediabetes
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