My Favorite Ways to Reduce Stress
You know stress wreaks havoc on your life, right? And, in particular, in those with type 2 diabetes, it’s trouble. It’s associated with having elevated glucose levels, and it can also tangentially disrupt diabetes treatment by making other self-care behaviors, like exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet, less likely.1
6 tips to reduce stress
I’m sure you’ve heard of many, many ways to reduce stress, but I thought I’d throw some unconventional ideas out there in case you’re looking for something new.
1. Try floating in a sensory deprivation tank
Floating in a completely dark and quiet tank may sound unusual, but there’s evidence that it reduces stress and anxiety. You can read more about them here; the article links to some research on the subject. Always check in with your doctor before doing something out of the ordinary.
2. Attend a group meditation class
Yes, they exist. If you’re like most people I come across, you feel like you can’t meditate and it’s not realistic for you. If your mind runs away with you every time you try to make it quiet, attending a group class might be for you. They’re lead by a teacher who will take you through a guided meditation or something similar, and you may be surprised at how still your mind gets. And that’s the goal of meditation: to help you stop attaching to and obsessing over your thoughts. And those thoughts? They’re what’s often causing a big chunk of the stress in your life.
3. Hang out with a pet
Research has shown a multitude of positive effects of being with animals, including reducing cortisol and lowering blood pressure, as well as reducing fear and anxiety.2 Try petting your dog or cat for at least five minutes, or, if you have an animal you can take for a walk, you’ll get the added benefits of exercising and hanging out with your furry friend all at the same time.
4. Get lost in a coloring book
Okay, you probably have seen many, many coloring books for adults in the last handful of years, but I just want to remind you they exist. Having something mindless, yet satisfying, to put your attention on can be very relaxing. Painting by number works, too, or even putting together a puzzle, if that’s more your style.
5. Give progressive muscle relaxation a try
This exercise involves squeezing different groups of muscles in your body in a particular order while you breathe in, then loosening your muscles as you breathe out. It has all sorts of health benefits, especially relaxation, and you can read the entire procedure to follow here.
6. Pick a mantra and repeat it
Many of the ideas on this list come down to one thing: Helping you find a way to relax your mind and let go of worries in order to reduce stress. Mantras may be easier than meditating, because instead of having to keep trying to keep your mind quiet, you get to pick a thought and repeat it over and over, thereby giving your mind something to focus on. Try “All is well,” “I can relax right now,” “I’ve done enough for today,” or come up with your own.
Stress causes troubles, both big and small, so why not try one of these stress busters today?
Have you experienced any complications from diabetes?