Although we don't completely understand the mechanisms, there is definitely a link between stress and diabetes. Research studies have proven this. When we are stressed, our bodies produce more cortisol which is involved in glucose metabolism and is known to interfere with insulin.
Given the importance of stress to diabetes, reducing stress is one of the most under-appreciated, largely ignored natural remedies for this serious ailment. If you already have diabetes, pre-diabetes, or you are at high risk to develop diabetes, please do yourself a favor and find ways to reduce your stress now.
If you search the net for ways to reduce stress, you will likely run into the following methods many times over: meditation, sleep more, exercise more, music therapy, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, bubble baths, chamomile tea, etc... These are all excellent methods to reduce stress but I'd like to offer you some additional super fun ways:
Hand Drum Circles... or Is the Ukulele More Your Style?
Therapeutic rhythm is an ancient healing form and different forms of it have been used by a wide variety of cultures. When you're playing in a drum circle, the connection you feel with other people in the circle transcends language. You literally feel rhythmic sounds resonate throughout your entire body. This is an experience that is very for difficult for me to describe in words.
Rhythmic drumming induces altered states. It can increase alpha wave activity by several fold. It basically changes the mode in which the brain normally operates from Beta waves where you have a focused concentration on something to Alpha waves where you are tranquil and relaxed.
Drumming is often used with meditation to induce a trance state. It is also being used more and more in the corporate world to reduce stress and foster cooperation. Workers in high stress jobs like health care givers and executives benefit a great deal. More than 3000 Toyota employees have participated in drum circles and the Toyota American Headquarters has a special drumming room for its executives full of hand drums like djembes and ashikos.
Network With Other Diabetics
Human beings need social support. This is especially true when dealing with a stressful disease like diabetes. Luckily there is lots of support out there. Besides local groups in your own community, there are hundreds of online boards and email discussion groups devoted to diabetics communicating with other diabetics.
One day recently, I saw a younger diabetic post a message about the longevity of diabetics. She was worried about having a shorter lifespan. This was followed by an outpouring of support, particularly from older diabetics who gladly told her about how they had been a diabetic and what a high quality of life they led. It's important to connect with people who truly understand what you're going through.
Adopt a Furry Friend From Your Local Animal Shelter
Pet owners (or should I say people who are owned by pets) are happier, healthier, and live longer. If you are looking for proof, several studies have shown that having a pet reduces the harmful stress hormone cortisol and raises the "feel good" hormone oxytocin.
Pets give unconditional love and are non-judgmental. Some doctors actually prescribe pets to their patients. No kidding. Even people just being around pets for a while can lower blood pressure and stress levels. Animals can work wonders in nursing homes and in hospitals. In the case of dogs, you can think of it as "wet nose therapy" or in the case of cats, "purr therapy."
If you're allergic to fur/dander, you might try setting up an aquarium. Studies have been done to show that just watching the animals in an aquarium lowers blood pressure. I can personally attest to how relaxing this activity (or basically "non-activity) can be.
A Therapeutic Visit To the Ocean
If you live within driving distance of the ocean or you can take a quick vacation, a day at the beach can work wonders. It's an experience that fills all 5 senses simultaneously. The rhythmic sound of the surf and seagulls, the smell of the salty air, the feel of the wind and sun against your face, and the beautiful scenery is enough to rid anyone of stress.
If you want to try something really different, write your troubles in the sand and then watch the incoming tide wash your troubles away.
Watch a Bird Pick Berries From a Tree, Take a Walk Through a Meadow of Wildflowers, Gaze Upon a Glorious Sunset, Lay on Your Back and Star Gaze, Watch the Wind Blow Patterns Through the Leaves, Take In Majestic Mountain Scenery, etc, etc...
Basically, I'm suggesting to find ways to re-connect with nature. It's often the simple joys in life that make us the happiest and nature is full of these. When we're happy, stress just seems to melt away. I personally love doing things that lets you "see" the wind like watching those kinetic sculptures or watching a storm roll in off the ocean.
One of the nicest things about communing with nature is there is always something different and interesting. There are seasons, migrations, and changes in color and texture and what animals you'll see in a given spot. So, even if you go back to the same spot over and over, it will always be a different experience but still familiar and comfortable.
Find Ways To Sing More and You'll Probably Find More To Sing About
The health benefits of singing are very well documented. Although most people don't realize it, singing is actually an aerobic exercise. It promotes deep breathing which is the basis for most styles of meditation. It exercises your face, your heart, and your lungs and delivers an elevated level of oxygen to your entire body. As you sing, your body releases endorphins and stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain. In doing all of this, singing reduces stress, reduces blood pressure, and makes you happier.
So, depending on your style and preference, you might consider joining a chorus group or you might want to go on down to the karaoke bar and belt out a few tunes with your friends. Sing along with the radio every chance you get. Remember Murphy Brown and her motown tunes. I sometimes like to sing or whistle catchy jingles in the store. It must be contagious because often times people start singing along with me and you can just see the stress melt away.
Remember, you don't have to have a good voice to reap the health benefits of singing. So, the next time you're in the shower let lose and sing your heart out and I guarantee the stress will fade away.
Have Multiple Wonderful Orgasms
Whoa hoo! Yes, I saved the best stress reducing tip for last. Scientific studies have shown that having regular orgasms (at least 1-2 times a week) reduces stress more than almost any other natural means. Whether you're dancing solo or with a partner, your oxytocin levels will rise more than 5 times. This in turn triggers the release of endodorphins that reduce stress and give you an overall feeling of well-being. They will also help you blissfully sleep which is a powerful stress reducer.
I have to keep this article G-rated so that's about as much detail as I can give for now... but I'm quite confident you will figure out how to make this work.