Quick Stress Management Tip: Remind yourself that you are a work in progress.

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2013-04-01 21:43:12 -0500
Started 2011-09-30 13:55:13 -0500

Looking for another way to stress yourself out? How about telling yourself what you should have done, said, felt, accomplished, worked harder at, etc. All those “shoulds” can turn into a big old club. And if you use that club to hit yourself over the head a few times, you can end up with stress, and probably a headache to go along with it.

Ready to put the club away but not sure how to do it?

You can start by making the decision to allow yourself to be human. That means not always being perfect. Making a few mistakes, a few misjudgments. Pushing too hard, or being a little lazy. Being flat-footed once in awhile and stepping on somebody’s toes.

That’s all part of being human. We learn from our miss-steps. We try to do better next time. Sometimes we succeed. Sometimes we have to keep practicing. Two steps forward, one or two steps back.

Lighten up. Shake your head at yourself and smile. Resolve to keep trying.
Remind yourself that you are work in progress. You may never “arrive,” whatever that means. But it’s all about doing the best you can on this journey of life.

39 replies

lanykins 2013-04-01 21:43:12 -0500 Report

Thank you Dr. Gary. I feel like I am stressed out all the time. My son is the only family I have for 3,000 miles but he doesn't live real close and neither of us drive. He also has AIDS. I worry about him and want to see him but I can't. I also need him to help me with the plans I need to make and be a part of the caring support I need but then I realize that he is dealing with a lot and it's all he can do to stay "above water". The rest of my family don't want me near them and don't want to have anything to do with making the plans I need to make. So I feel all on my own. But God is truly my partner in life and I trust in Him to help me with all the obstacles.

You're so right about smiling! I go to a dining room to eat dinner every night. I am by far the youngest at 64, most of the people are in their 80s or 90s but I have learned to like a lot of them and have gotten to know them so when I go to dinner I keep a smile on my face all the time and talk to them about how they are and give them encouragement. This helps both of us. It's so important. Thanks again.

Anonymous 2012-09-26 00:33:36 -0500 Report

Hello Dr. Gary!
So true ! Thank you for your uplifting words of truth which is a stress reliever just hearing the truth to lighten up, shake your head and smile. There is a song out that say, "You Look So Much Better When You Smile" and you feel better too! You need to smile at yourself a lot in appreciation saying," No I am not perfect but I am a work in progress." The work in progress will be until the day we close our eyes!
I had to put this in practice on yesterday as well to slow down,deep breathing, drink some water, shake my head, stop talking,(haha) took the time to finish the assignment and then submit online.

Thank You again!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-09-26 13:53:29 -0500 Report


Thanks you for adding your thoughts here. You're so right, reminding yourself that you are a work in progress also gives you a reason to smile, to not take everything so seriously. We can always continue to learn and to grow. So slow down, relax, let the learning begin!

I hope you are having a great week!


COOCOOSUSU 2012-09-24 20:21:53 -0500 Report

As a Christian, I know that I'm not perfect, but i am forgiven. My problem was learning how to forgive myself and get on with my life. Yes, I am a work in progress!

Jpie 2012-09-24 14:05:18 -0500 Report

A perfect post for me today. For years now I have worked at keeping stress at bay by reminding myself that I am a work in progress and not perfected yet, if ever, and that's OK. We have just recently made a very big move from Reno, NV to Zephyrhills, Fl. We started packing in July, moved in here on August 23rd. We have so much done and the "to-do" list is getting shorter, pretty much down to the details now. My BG has averaged around 105, but the last few days my a.m. BG has been over 120! This reminder to "slow down and smell the flowers" is just what I needed today because sometimes I just get too impatient to get it all done. Thank you again for the reminder that we are all human and far from perfect.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-09-25 19:19:40 -0500 Report

Hi Jpie,

Thank you so much for checking in and sharing what's going on with you. Wow, you moved to a great place.

It sounds like you have been working non-stop, That does have a way of catching up with you. So glad to hear that you are doing some careing for the caregiver! Our bodies have a way of telling us to stop puahing so hard.

And reminding us that we are not perfect... and don't have to be.

I really appreciate this! Nice to be in touch.


Jpie 2012-09-26 06:21:03 -0500 Report

Thanks Dr. Gary,
My Bg has leveled out now because this post and my sweet husband told me to "slow down, take it easy, rest, it will get done" I feel so much better now, not all wound up to get it done.

We really like it here and our next big project is finding a good medical clinic to take care of our needs for follow-up etc. We have begun to know our way around and I have never hesitated to ask for information when I need it.

DC was a lifesaver for me when first diagnosed and I continue to find info that I need. Of course, the biggest challenge right now is making the time to read, but we are pretty much back on our regular schedual and a siesta every day sure does help!

Thanks again,


huffer 2012-09-24 13:11:18 -0500 Report

Great advise, worry and its ugly big brother, Fear, create undue stress not only with diabetes but any critical disease. As the old song says "don't worry be happy" be forgiving to yourself and others and feel better too.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-09-25 19:11:20 -0500 Report

Hey huffer,

Thanks for checking in. Yes, that fear word also creates stress, certainl for someone dealing with the uncertainties of a chronic condition. You bring up a great point.

Great to be in touch with you!


harleydudeokc 2012-09-24 12:59:48 -0500 Report

I love this advice! I am in a12 step program, clean & sober for over 20 years and this is part of it. We learn the exact principles mentioned here & it makes life so much easier to live and cope with every day problems that arise. LET YOURSELF BE HUMAN AND FORGIVE YOURSELF WHEN YOU ARE NOT PERFECT AND LIVE A MORE CARE FREE AND HAPPY LIFE ELIMINATING GUILT AND I'LL FEELINGS TOWARD YOURSELF!!!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-09-25 19:08:39 -0500 Report

Hey Harley,

Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. You said it so much better than I did. Forgive yourself, let yourself be human. Being free is a great word.

I hope you will stay in touch!


Tony5657 2012-08-28 15:03:04 -0500 Report

Thanks Dr. Gary for posting this. Great info.

Two books that are really helping me with stress management are:
1. You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay and
2. The Tools by Phil Stutz & Barry Michels.

If you're not a "reader" just become one at least temporarily & digest these 2 books. You won't be sorry. Both are worth owning, reading, marking up and reviewing from time to time. They can be found at Alibris.com at great prices.

The 1987 edition of book #1 is the same as the 1999 edition, except for a few updated comments in the Forward & in the Afterward sections. The basic book content was exactly the same but the older edition was much cheaper than the newer edition…Tony5657 in New Braunfels, TX

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-09-25 18:53:33 -0500 Report

Hey Tony,

Nice to hear from you. Sorry I didn't see this earlier.

I have read the Louse Hay book. It is real classic. I think she has some great ideas. I am not familiar with the other book, but will check it out. Thanks for the recommendations.

I hope that you are doing well. It's been awhile since we have been in touch.


Tony5657 2012-09-27 05:46:54 -0500 Report

Dr. Gary,
Here's a review of the book, "The Tools"

The Tools: Transform Your Problems into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity (reviewed on May 15, 2012)
In their debut, Stutz and Michels provide a blueprint to actively change your life.

Their tools are focused on solving problems rather than obsessing over their causes. Told mostly through Michels’ voice, the book outlines a process developed by Stutz in his psychotherapy practice. He found that while therapy elicits valuable memories, emotions and insights, people needed tools powerful enough to bring immediate relief and to connect to life-changing forces. The authors offer five tools to begin change. The first, the Reversal of Desire, helps you break out of your comfort zone, embrace pain and move past it. The second, Active Love, is used when your anger traps you in a maze of negativity. It involves creating and sending out love. The third tool, Inner Authority, asks you to embrace and celebrate your inner shadow, freeing your natural self rather than cloistering it in insecurity. When filled with worry, anxiety and negativity, Grateful Flow, the fourth tool, grounds you in the present and connects you with the ultimate positive force in the universe. The final tool, Jeopardy, provides the willpower to stay on track. These prescriptive tools ultimately invoke higher forces and give rise to spiritual evolution. In the final chapter, the authors help readers integrate the five tools to bring higher forces to bear on a personal problem and, by extension, society as a whole. Illustrated with stick figures and diagrams, the tools are adapted from Jungian psychology but go a step further. Stutz and Michels see problems as opportunities to enter a world of untapped spiritual potential.
A thought-provoking book with a strong prescription to turn your life around—not for armchair self-help enthusiasts.

The following is my review of The Tools:
I'm "big" on self help books from professionals who have actually experienced what they are writing about. To me, two books stand out waaaaay above all others in their council for stress, anger, depression, sickness, disease, … actually all things negative. Number 1 is the Christian "Bible" (New International Version). Number 2 is "The Tools", by Phil Stutz, psychiatrist, and Barry Michels, psychotherapist.
"The Tools" gives step by step guidance in how to transform your problems into courage, confidence and creativity. Their counseling approach is most likely different than any you have heard or experienced. It's a common sense, wise and workable approach involving what the authors call the Source - something/someone infinitely bigger than yourself, something/someone that will grant you renewed strength when it seems like you have nothing left. They wrote this so people of many religions or even atheists could benefit. I choose to interpret the Source as being God, the Heavenly Father of Jesus and I substitute God when the authors mention the Source's involvement. They give you "tools" you can use when you're confronted & imprisoned by negatives of any type AND these tools WILL work to deliver you IF you'll take the time to believe in & use them.
The following is a synopsis of the statements on the book cover/jacket. "These "tools", if used regularly, will ignite your own capacity to transform your life, work through conflicts, get happier & feel a deep sense of purpose. They are common sense, simple & practical but will deliver you to your best & most powerful self. These "tools" allow us to use our problems as levers that access the power of the unconscious and propel them into action so obstacles become opportunities to find courage, embrace discipline, develop self-expression & deepen creativity. Both authors goal is to guide every reader to realize the full range of your potential, so your life will become exceptional - exceptional in your resiliency, in your experience of real happiness and in your understanding of the human spirit."
It's a new book, 2012, so many libraries may not have it. I found my new hardback book, shipping included, for $17 at amazon.com It arrived in 4 days AND it is changing my entire life. It is profound, to say the least. As we said in the 60s, "Man, this is heavy!" :o)

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-09-30 16:06:48 -0500 Report

Hi Tony,

Wow, I really appreciate this. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a great, helpful review. This sounds like a great book, and I hope that a lot of members notice your review.

I also like self-help books, especially when they are written by people who have real life experience. I agree with you on that. And I like the hear and now approach, not caught up in trying to analyze and make the sense of the past. What's important is to make changes in the here and now, to get moving forward in life, living your life to the fullest. I also like the underlying focus on spirituality.

I am going to check this book out for myself.

Thanks again. I hope that you are having a great weekend!


Mickey/CCHT 2011-11-23 01:11:16 -0600 Report

I am so very glad to no longer be apart of the "would've, should've " club! It gets you nowhere fast.
Don't get me wrong, sometimes i start to slide back into that(i'm not perfect), but i am able to quickly pull myself back out. It's a waste of time and energy!
Be strong and look forward. And be nice to yourself!
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

zufritto 2011-11-22 20:18:25 -0600 Report

Thank you for posting this!! Why is the need to be perfect in us so strong? Great advice!! Thank you!! Thank you!!

jayabee52 2011-09-30 16:05:51 -0500 Report

I have to sometimes remind myself of the old saying "Please be patient ————- God isn't finished with me yet"

Buttercupoil 2012-09-24 16:05:32 -0500 Report

It's so hard to remind ourselves to be patient, isn't it? God isn't finished with me yet either and this past month has been extremely difficult, mentally, physically, emotionally as my daughter moved in with me and her furniture, belongings and boxes are everywhere but she can't find a job and we both are beyond measure'!

Chez2 2011-10-03 22:18:42 -0500 Report

Amen. Hi I'm a 58 year old women diagnosed nov 2010. I was placed on oral meds then and had t deal with the stress of fighting Breast cancer. GOD healed me of that. Now my Dr is trying to stablized and control my diabetes with oral meds. I have changed meds twice since July. I know GOD is not finished with me yet. I have just been placed on Janumet. Monitoring my blood sugar 4x a day now. Is there anyone out there that can share their experience with this me?.

hillside lady
hillside lady 2012-09-26 11:04:00 -0500 Report

i can share my story as many times as i can to get people to know it is hard but you can fight back and pray i diiagnosed six yrs ago 1 month ago sugar went to 1000 and i am still here before my diagnosis my doctor had me on pills and my sugar was 800 for a year i fired that doctor and found another things seems to be working out better even though they can't seem to find out my sugar jumped so high but i thank God for his wisdom as well as his humor pray for me and i will pray for you there is a reason i am still alive maybe to let some one else know you may be down today but joy will come. i now on a pump and meds vitamin d 50000 enaperial and two more

mimig1030 2012-09-24 16:50:19 -0500 Report

Hi Chez. I am 62 and was diagnosed with Type 2 in 2007. I had been diagnosed in the same year with leukemia. Prior to that I had kept myself in "prediabetes" mode, stay low most of the time. I start oral meds and did fine until I had to start chemo. I have since had breast cancer. I am in remission for the leukemia and had a bilateral masstectomy in 2010, and reconstruction. I am now on long acting insulin and Januvia. I also have to take glipizide (5mg) with each meal. I have troube controlling my fasting bs. Well, actually it is not under control. They tell me my liver does not "shut off". They "beat my pancreas with a whip" and it did not help, so we have had to split my Lantus into two doses because I take so much. We are trying to keep me off insulin during the day. It is difficult to control when our bodies are in a stress that we have no control over. I have had no problem with emotional stress. For me it was easy to give it all to God. We will get there.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-10-04 09:24:24 -0500 Report

HI Chez!

Great to hear from you. You are a real success story yourself! Certainly a lot of progress along your journey so far, and more ahead!

You might want to start your own discussion here on Diabetic Connect to see if other members can share their experiences with you. It's easy to do!

Let's stay in touch!


HeatherHall 2011-09-30 15:03:51 -0500 Report

Thanks for writing this. Far too often we are our own worst enemies. I find myself wanting to beat myself over the head when I do something I know that I shouldn't, and then I feel awful about it for far longer than I should. I find it funny since we don't usually demand perfection from others, but are quick to expect it of ourselves.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-10-02 22:02:40 -0500 Report

Hi Heather,

We are a lot alike on that. I can also be tough on myself, much, much tougher than I would ever by on anyone else. I try to remind myself that compassion begins from within and works its way outward.

Thanks a lot. Have a great Monday.


hillside lady
hillside lady 2012-09-26 11:11:32 -0500 Report

i agree whole heartlly with that i also after being hospitalize i don't have a taste for smoking i thougt i was a heay smoker i smoke when i was on the phone tpeing on the computer after waking up right before going to bed the way i quit is incrediable it was God i talk to him daily and said i wanted to quit without taking meds for it ii haven't smoke since be discharge pray for me this is very hard i have a teenage son and a husband been married for fifteen years

MewElla 2011-09-30 14:13:01 -0500 Report

Sometimes, the hardest thing to do, is to simply slow down, it is alright, just part of this learning curve we are all on. Knowing we all have to be so deligient in the fight with the diabetes, it almost feels like a vacation when we can let some of our stresses slow to a more relaxed mode..Just have to do our best but not stress to the max with "all of this."

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-10-02 22:00:41 -0500 Report

Hi MewElla,

So nice to hear rom you! You're right. We are not always so willing to slow down and stop pushing so hard! One step at a tme.

Thank you and have a good Monday!