Turning diabetes into a positive? ... How is that even possible when I live with a condition that is so physically and mentally draining? Well, we aren't saying it is going to be easy but a positive mental attitude can make living with diabetes a lot easier.
When you’re facing any chronic health problem, you want to stay motivated — not only with help from friends, loved ones, and health care providers, but also from within. You can do this with mood-boosting strategies for staying positive. No matter how discouraged you might feel some days, there’s a lot you can do to tame negative thoughts and focus on the positive. Here are 6 tips on how to stay positive and get the diabetes support you need.
1. Build Your Diabetes Support System
An essential part of handling the emotional impact of diabetes is finding good diabetes support — ideally not just from one person, but from a variety of people and groups.
To help you manage your diabetes, think of expanding your social networks to include both a diabetes support group and an exercise group, which could be just a few friends you go to the gym with or join for walks around the neighborhood, for example.
2. Set Short-Term Goals
By setting yourself a list of long-term goals to manage diabetes and achieve overall good health can lead to frustration and even failure. That’s why it’s better to focus on smaller accomplishments, such as going to the gym an extra day a week or having a healthy breakfast every day,
Attainable, short-term goals are so important — setting huge goals that can’t be measured can cause you to give up. If you are struggling to come up with feasible short-term goals get in contact with your doctor or diabetes educator on smart goals that you can attain.
3. Give Yourself Healthy Rewards
Everyone likes recognition for a job well done, but when you achieve your diabetes health goals, don’t reward yourself with a sugary drink or a whole tub of ice cream, which could derail your diabetes diet. Instead, why not celebrate with an activity you enjoy that boosts your mood or improves your health?
Non-edible rewards like a visit to the hairdresser, a soothing bubble bath while reading a light-hearted magazine, going to the cinema or inviting a friend over to catch up are some great ideas to sensibly reward yourself.
4. Find Strength in Numbers
As lonely as you might feel in your quest to manage diabetes, you’re not alone in living with the condition. Almost 26 million Americans have some form of diabetes, and another 79 million have prediabetes.
There are many online diabetes support groups and forums, which are great for moral support.
5. Focus on Health Improvements
As you start to reach your health goals, mark each one on the calendar or in a journal and use them as motivation to continue moving forward. These can be measurable improvements, such as lower blood sugar levels.
“A positive attitude can decrease your stress hormone level and improve your blood sugar” says Betul Hatipoglu, MD, an endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “Stress management while managing diabetes is very important.” Dr. Hatipoglu said he knows a person with diabetes who changed his high-stress, high-responsibility job to a lower-pay, lower-stress position. “He was a different person within six months, including having much better diabetes control, improved mood, better sleep — everything,” he adds. Although changing jobs may not be feasible for you, pay attention to what causes you stress and look for ways to counter it.
6. Prepare for Setbacks
You may experience setbacks in your diabetes journey. When they occur, the key is to get yourself back on track quickly, and not use the unexpected slip as an excuse to go backwards.
The road to living well with diabetes is not always a smooth and straight one, but it’s one you can navigate successfully with the right support and a positive attitude in place.