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Coping with stress

"Coping with stress" is a part-time job that we all need to take seriously and skillfully. We all find ourselves in patterns of response to life's tensions that go under the headings of escape, avoidance, and hopefully more often, adaptive and resilient. We can learn to "choose" to respond to the stressful feelings and situations which confront us at home, school, and work... with employers, friends, in-laws and relatives ...because of financial, cultural, and gender issues and most certainly underneath all this and everyday.....the impact of living with diabetes.

The choices we can learn include: seeing anxiety or depression as something to get treatment for; training ourselves to be self-aware and identify what we are feeling; planning ahead for situations that frequently return; teaching ourselves to think differently and more positively about the situations that confront us; learning the healthy expression of anger.. knowing how to talk ourselves out of anger rather than talk ourselves into increasing it; accenting humor, optimism, flexibility, imperfection, self-appreciation ; forgiveness in your self and others; concentrating on attitudes of empowerment, hope, giving to others, and spirituality; and seeking and maintaining social support from family, friends, and your medical team.

Daily living and daily living with diabetes are two distinct challenges that share the same set of skills for slowly mastering the challenges.Make sure you ventilate, name the burdens, and share empathy and optimism. The biggest healer seems to be the ideas and support people give one another.

~~Dr. Wendy

Welcome to “my space,” which is of course not really MY SPACE...

You are probably a weary traveler on diabetes...and so I hope to write a few words of direction and encouragement that you will find useful. If you are the family member of someone with diabetes, don’t expect them to find it helpful (in front of you, anyway). Give any caring (and if absolutely necessary, asked-for advice) with low expectations of reciprocating interest. Stay loving for two reasons: first, expectations build anger (which is not the primary emotion...but rather second to fear and worry) and is neither good for you nor effective; second, it is neither good for you nor effective. You get it: I am probably going to repeat myself.

So lets talk of food. There is a new book coming out which I think will be helpful to all of us… and particularly in the challenges of diabetes. It is called “Mindless eating: Why we eat more than we think” written by Brian Wansink, an expert on eating behavior (he actually has a doctorate in “consumer behavior!”) His ideas are tried and true behavioral principles... but he adds that incorporating them with “mindfulness” actually adds joy and pleasure when eating, as well as helping us to not fall victim to cues and triggers in our environment which add on a couple of hundred calories without noticing or enjoying.

The following are some ideas he reminds us of:

  • Avoid fast food restaurants because of the speed in which we consume our meals and the extra calories associated with the types, portions and of food and how they are made.
  • Keeping food invisible to the eye is a good cue stopper: Hershey kisses in a glass bowl on a desk prompted non-thinking eating vs. treats that are placed out of sight (and out of mind, of course.)
  • Avoid doing other activities while eating. His subjects consumed stale popcorn from large vs. medium containers while watching movies.
  • Get away from eating all of the food on your plate and begin by using smaller bowls and plates; he showed that larger plates made people dish out larger portions.

And so on…

Spend time thinking about what issues in your environment trigger your eating habits…

~~Dr. Wendy


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