Having doubts and fears about the future after a diabetes diagnosis is common, and it doesn’t make things any easier as dramatic changes in your lifestyle are necessary. You can, however, reverse your negative thinking and move forward with changes to live your best life now.
More than a few diabetics become rather skilled at chastising themselves, saying things like, “My blood sugar is high, I messed up again!” But, you can learn how to turn those negative thoughts around, which will help you take better control of your condition.
Negative thinking is simply thinking about what you don’t want, while positive thinking is the opposite. Do you focus more on what you want, or what you don’t want? Most people do the latter and unconsciously are addicted to thinking negatively.
Understand that negative thinking makes your illness worse
Did you know that more people get sick as a result of negative thinking? It profoundly affects the body, mind, and overall quality of life. Part of the reason is that It’s impossible to be depressed or anxious without having negative thoughts. People who think positive, happy thoughts aren’t anxious or depressed. Just realizing this can help you turn things around, after all, you don’t willingly want to make yourself sick, right?
Remember that you’re in control of managing your diabetes
Many people with diabetes dwell on worries that it will lead them to lose their vision, legs, or even worse. While those are potential complications of leaving diabetes unchecked, controlling your condition significantly lessens the risk of those possibilities. Make healthier lifestyle changes like taking your medication as prescribed, eating right and getting regular exercise.
If you have serious concerns about it due to negative memories of how the disease affected a relative, realize that these days treatments are much more effective and that taking care of yourself can help prevent complications. Refuse to allow negative thoughts to get in the way.
It’s not black and white
When initially diagnosed with diabetes, many people are concerned that they won’t be able to enjoy an active social life with friends and family, but it’s not that black and white. Having diabetes doesn’t mean that you have to stop doing everything you enjoy. While you will probably have to make some changes and take a few extra precautions, like carrying healthy snacks and checking your blood sugar if you don’t feel right, you can still lead a full life. It can help you as well as others in your life to give family, friends and colleagues information about diabetes so that they can understand exactly what it means too.
Talk back to your negative thoughts
As soon as you catch yourself thinking negatively, stop. But don’t just tell yourself to stop, picture a huge red stop sign and imagine yelling “Stop!” to yourself. Then, talk back using a positive thought. For example, thinking about something you’ve already accomplished – it doesn’t have to be something big. Perhaps you’ve given up that daily candy bar habit. If you need to, write down a list of things you’ve managed to achieve and keep it with you just for those moments. Doing so is a great way to stop that cycle of negative thinking.
Write down positive messages for yourself
Writing down positive messages for yourself such as “I am healthy,” or “I am managing my diabetes well,” can make a significant difference in turning around negative thinking. Write them on post-it notes or something similar and place them in spots you’ll see each day, like in your medicine cabinet, in your wallet, the dashboard of your car, etc.
The more you concentrate on the negatives of being diagnosed with diabetes, the worse you’ll feel. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself. Take a few minutes every day to think about what you have to be grateful for. It can be something as minor as the sun breaking through the clouds, your dog or cat, your family, friends, or even the fact that your favorite football team is winning. An excellent way to get in the habit of practicing gratitude on a regular basis is to keep a gratitude journal and write down three to five things you’re grateful for each day.
Concentrating on the good things you already have, rather than what you wish you didn’t have, automatically turns things around.
Don’t play the victim
Playing the victim only worsens the situation. Remember that you create your life – you have the responsibility of making it a good one. You are diabetic, but you can take control of it by making the right choices. You always have the choice to make change happen to enjoy a better life.
Help someone else
Helping someone else takes the focus away from you. You can always find someone that is in a worse situation, and it doesn’t have to be monetary. For example, you might volunteer your time at places like a local homeless shelter, soup kitchen or children’s hospital. Or, use your special skills and talents to help the less fortunate. If you’re a hair stylist, you might arrange to give free haircuts to unemployed people who want to look more presentable to land a job.
Not only does helping others make you forget about your worries for a while and feel better about yourself, but it will also make you feel better about your situation, realizing that it could be much worse.
Surround yourself with positive people
If you’re spending your time with negative people, it’s only natural to start feeling negative yourself, and the opposite is true as well. When you feel like you’re in a negative spiral, seek out more positive people. They are likely to help you put things in perspective and won’t feed your negative thinking. Make a point to go out and have fun together, watch a funny movie or television show.
Laughter with friends is truly some of the best medicine there is, and positive people can be a great support system if you let them.
Remember “this too shall pass”
Life has ups and downs – we all go through difficult times, but those moments all pass, and eventually, we enjoy good ones again. Once we realize and accept that every negative obstacle encountered is just a temporary bump in the road, it becomes much easier to let it go, move forward and work on more positive goals. Nothing lasts forever, good or bad, and every moment is an opportunity to learn something new. Try to look for the lesson in each situation – take some time to grieve if you need to, and then move on without dwelling on the negative. If you stay focused on the negative, you’re opening up the door for more negativity to come into your life.
Fight worries and fear with action
The words “I can’t” are one of the biggest sources of negative thinking. They often come out of fear, such as the fear of being judged, fear of rejection or fear of failure. If you’ve lived most of your life not taking care of your body, for example, and want to start exercising but the words “I can’t” are holding you back, fight the fear with action. Change “I can’t” to “I can!” Almost nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. The simple act of replacing “can’t” with “can” can make an incredible difference in your outlook, and even significantly up your happiness level. If that still sounds too scary, think in smaller terms, such as walking around the block after dinner each night instead of aiming to run a 5K.
Think about how you feel
The way you feel physically is often a good indicator of your thoughts. Take a minute to focus on how you’re feeling. Make an effort to regularly stop throughout the day and think about how you feel. Are you physically reflecting frustration, sadness or anger? If so, take a minute to think about a happy memory or something that you’re looking forward to. It can immediately change how you feel, and transform that cycle of negative thinking.
Meditation is not only a great outlet for combatting stress, it helps you relax and clear your mind. It allows you to think about more positive things that make you feel good. It doesn’t take up a lot of time. And it can be accomplished just about anywhere, and adjusted to fit any schedule