7 Ways You May Not Realize Stress Is Affecting Your Behavior

Stress sucks, and it can suck the happiness right out of your day. The stress of dealing with diabetes takes a mental and physical toll, and that stress can make diabetes harder to manage. It’s an ugly cycle.

Stress hormones in your body were meant for good. The initiate the fight-or-flight response, which is wonderful if you’re trying to fend off an attacker or escape from a swarm of bees. Fight-or-flight releases adrenaline, sends blood to your muscles, and raises your heart rate so that you’re ready to take on the world.

But over time, chronic stress can take a toll on your body and your mind. Both people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes (as well as the other lesser-known types) will experience management complications from stress. People with type 2 typically experience raised glucose levels in response to stress, and people with type 1 will have a more unpredictable response.

Stress can cause a host of symptoms: headaches, weight changes, gastrointestinal distress, and more, but some of the consequences of stress are less recognizable. Here are seven lesser-known ways stress can affect your behavior

1. Impaired Thinking

Your thinking and decision-making ability is impaired when you’re under stress. Stress actually causes your brain to freeze up. Again, this is good when you’re escaping from that swarm of bees and just need to rely on pure instinct, but it’s a pain when you’re trying to help kids with homework or remember what you went to the store for.

2. Withdrawal from people you love

Stress keeps you from being yourself, and could cause you to withdraw from friends and loved ones. This could be because the heightened levels of adrenaline and cortisol in your body make you unable to relax and enjoy interacting with friends, or it could be an attempt to protect friends and family from the stressed-out version of yourself. Either way, it robs you of the support you need from the people who care about you.

“NEXT” for more stress-related behaviors

Katie Taylor started writing in 5th grade and hasn't stopped since. Her favorite place to pen a phrase is in front of her fireplace with a cup of tea, but she's been known to write in parking lots on the backs of old receipts if necessary. She and her husband live cozily in the Pacific Northwest enjoying rainy days and Netflix.
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