Stress Isn’t Going Anywhere. So How Do We Live With It?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2014-06-11 14:23:06 -0500
Started 2014-05-18 20:19:21 -0500

I read a lot of posts about stress. I could add a few of my own lately. Life just has this way of getting in the way of our plans.

What are you doing about your stress?

You’ve heard all the usual advice about “getting rid” of your stress. I sure have. Along with all those “stress buster” techniques that promise to help us get rid of all that stress. How’s your stress been? Have you busted it yet?

I am all for those techniques that promise to help us cope with day-to-day stress. They can help a lot. But I do have a concern about the idea that stress is an enemy that has to be busted.

After all, stress is a part of life. To assume that we can somehow rid our lives of stress isn’t very realistic. There is too much going on in the world – and in our daily lives – not to experience some stress. In other words, maybe we need to learn to stop fighting stress and learn how to live with it.

Here’s a link to an article on stress and mindfulness I wrote a couple of weeks ago:

I’m really interesting in know more about what’s going on in your life. Where’s your stress coming from? And what are you doing about it? Any techniques to share? Need some ideas?

I’m all ears (eyes)!

Tags: stress

67 replies

JaxCreations 2014-06-10 09:12:53 -0500 Report

I used to fight it, even argue with it, and then I'd get sweaty, have panic attacks and try to change it or avoid it. Now I use relaxation breathing techniques and walk my dog - a lot! I have come to accept, I can't change certain things, so I look for ways to accept them instead - life's too short to care about the things you can't change, try to concentrate on those I can change instead.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-06-11 14:23:06 -0500 Report

Hey Jax,

Well said!!! We aren't in control of everything, so let's give up the fight. And focus on what we can do.

Thank you!


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-26 22:10:28 -0500 Report

Dr. Gary, I know people who stress out over everything. It is almost like watching someone self destruct. I do not stress out over anything I do not control. The best thing I do is face the problems as they happen and try to solve them to the best of my ability.

I can't control other people or what they will or will not do but I don't let them stress me out. Since the only person I can change is myself, I strive to move forward and let others do as they please. I may not like it but I can't change them.

The past is the past. No matter how much a person dwells on it the past cannot be changed. The best thing to do is let it go and move forward.

For the past couple of weeks I was stressed over a problem. I thought I was the only one having the problem until I spoke with a few people and together we are solving the problem. Sometimes when you think you are the only one with a problem you feel alone. When you find others with the same problem, you can work together and solve it.

Life is too short to be stressed out over everything that happens. Letting go of a lot of stress was the best thing that happened to me.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-27 21:29:07 -0500 Report

Hey Joyce,

Thanks for joining the discussion!

I see some of my clients caught up in the cycle of worrying and stressing, and I try to also help them to recognize and accept what they can and what they can't control. Starting with not trying to control other people. Or trying to rewrite or explain the past.

It helps to know that you are not alone. Chances are, other people are sharing your struggles in some way. That's one of the great things about Diabetic Connect, being able to connect people with similar challenges and sharing ideas. But I know I am preaching to the choir when I say that to you.

A lot to be said for letting go!

Thanks, Joyce!


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-27 22:08:26 -0500 Report

Dr. Gary, stress is like a hole. The longer a person holds on to being stressed the deeper the hole becomes and the harder it gets to get out.

The past is like the Titanic. No matter how many different ways the story is told, the ship still sinks at the end. A person can re write the past as often as they chose however, the ending is always going to be the same.

I know from experience with stress that it eventually can become a security blanket. I was in a comfort zone not realizing that it was holding me down. Once I worked with my therapist to learn how to relax and let things go, I realized I didn't need my security blanket and life became much better. Letting go of stress can be a life saver.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-29 15:56:42 -0500 Report

Hi Joyce,

Good analogy. Not doing anything about your stress can feel like sinking into a deep hole. It's always sad to watch someone not taking care of themselves and sinking. And yes, we can't rewrite the past and turn it into a happy story.

I think we get caught in the familiar. Humans don't exactly embrace change. And as you said, the day to day can become comfortable, and a trap. Glad you did the work to get yourself out of that trap.

Thanks for sharing this, Joyce.


elizag1 2014-05-22 09:58:14 -0500 Report

I love my dogs, they do love to be walked too, I try to walk them everyday…
Dr. Gary thanks for your input.

tinkerbell54 2014-05-22 05:50:30 -0500 Report

what cause me stress is my teenager daughter & sometimes my hubby & it affects my Blood Sugar. Ruth Tinkerbelkl54

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-22 22:10:44 -0500 Report

Hi Ruth,

Thanks for checking in. I know how tension at home can cause stress which can in turn have an impact on blood sugar. Take care of yourself!


camerashy 2014-05-21 19:11:00 -0500 Report

Sometimes I go next-door and tell my sympathetic (also diabetic) neighbor all about it. But mostly I just go and take a nap.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-21 22:05:59 -0500 Report

Hi camerashy, glad you have someone close by that you can connect with. Support is power! And nothing like a power nap. Gary

long island girl
long island girl 2014-05-21 13:56:16 -0500 Report

my family is my biggest stress. I live not far from the beach. I was really stressed out the other night I went there and met a friend it was very relaxing. My friend is a cancer survivor and she goes to the beach a lot to relieve her stress. You feel like you are in a different world sometimes like your on vacation it is a very calming feeling

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-21 22:05:02 -0500 Report

Hi long island girl,

And Long Island certainly has lots of beaches to distress yourself on. It's a different world, even if it's not that far from the stress.



artqween 2014-05-21 07:56:36 -0500 Report

Get ur mind off it, my cholesterol is deadly high, chubby, high blood pressure
Walk more, adjusted my meal plans, cut out fried foods it was hurting my lungs, got proactive…
Most importantly don't accept stress, that creates high blood then possible stroke. De stress ur surroundings, the lower your blood pressure is
the better… create a calming things to do this them pace urself to get it done… remember there is no time limit…

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-21 22:03:41 -0500 Report

Hey artqween,

Distracting yourself is a great approach to managing stress. And have a toolbox of techniques you can use to calm yourself when you need to. Good ideas!


neverlowbg 2014-05-20 22:06:54 -0500 Report

Dr.Gary my way was a little extreme but it worked stress over bills, work, t2, food changes and a new grand baby well one day the boss dressed and pissed me off so I quit took out a loan on my 401k started a stress free bussiness out of my barn selling parts online it has worked out very well and I am stress free and my wife is now happier I'm not snappy and grumpy anymore I have tons of free time and take my grandson fishing everyday my health has also improved 200% bp is now low again and I don't get sick any more I love to fish and keep my yard looking good now if it wasn't for insurance I'd tell my wife to kick off her job but she is happy at her job and happy with me as she comes home and all the chores are done and dinner waiting yes I'm domesticated now but I still wear pants lol

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-20 22:22:40 -0500 Report

Hey neverlowbg,

Nice to see you. And wow, this is quite a story. Good for you! Talk about seizing the day! Great to hear how you created your own home business and have made a success of it, and are enjoying life that much more. And glad your wife enjoys her job (and keeps the insurance going). Sounds like you have a great arrangement. I am sure she appreciates having dinner waiting.

Thanks for sharing this!


emausa 2014-05-20 18:14:07 -0500 Report

I play 3D solitaire on my computer when I am really stressed out. Or I will clean my house or work in the yard. I have at times turned to eating sweets.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-20 22:19:48 -0500 Report

Hey emausa, great ways to occupy your mind. And that cleaning and yardwork is also good exercise. Gary

Nick1962 2014-05-20 14:37:14 -0500 Report

Like Lentyl below I try to set aside time for reading and music. I know that the stress isn’t going to go away, (and in some cases I’ve even manufactured it needlessly myself), but at least I can escape for a while, and often the anticipation of that escape helps as well. Sometimes just a line of dialogue by a character or some song lyrics can have a transformative effect.

Often times I have two books going. Right now both are murder mysteries with similar plots – one is set in Sweden, the other in Thailand, so I really have to focus on the foreign (to me) names and places to keep the stories straight.

Music has always been an important part of me, so I always have a list of go-to songs or videos to temporarily remove me and make me smile. My coworkers have discovered though that if they find me humming Zee Avi’s “Honey Bee”, it might not be a good time.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-20 22:18:49 -0500 Report

Hey Nick,

Thanks for stopping by!

I am also a big reader. In fact, I also read mysteries, including some that are set in Sweden and Thailand. A great way to escape.

And so is music. And I agree, it can be transformative. And when you collect favorite songs over the years, it's a great way to relive nice memories.


GabbyPA 2014-05-19 21:38:22 -0500 Report

Usually walking helps me, but today I had to resort to tears. It was just one more thing I couldn't control or handle and it was too much. I get that overwhelmed feeling and usually if I write down a day to day list of things to accomplish, that can go away....but it's not working this week.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-20 22:14:57 -0500 Report

Hi Gabby,

Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do to relieve your stress is just sit down and have a good cry. It is a way to let out all of those pent up emotions. And it can be a big relief. And I think when you just admit that you are helpless and have a good cry, you also open the door to seeing what you can do. It's kind of like you stop fighting yourself, and that can help open up your mind.

Sometimes that list just feels like a lot of work, and you're not feeling up to the challenge.

But you know, this too shall pass.

Hang in there, my friend! Keeping you in my thoughts!


Kats49 2014-05-19 21:14:44 -0500 Report

I swim and do tia chi both relieve stress…so fo 5 days a week I am calm…I also have many different sayings that bring me back to ground…or I volunteer my time or ears to those who need to vent…that makes me feel good and seems to relive any stress

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-20 22:11:36 -0500 Report

Hi Kats,

Tai chi! Wow, I have heard great things about that. Affirmations are also a good idea. And lending a helping hand is a great way to create positive feelings while also distracting you from you own problems. All good techniques.


Kats49 2014-05-23 20:35:49 -0500 Report

Tai Chi or yoga both a health benefits that are amazing. When I was sick for three weeks with a lung infection, put on prenisone
I wasn't able to join my regular group. I really missed the group. I am now back and feel so much better mentally, slowly getting better physically. People of any age or physical capabilities can learn tai chi or yoga. Three members of our group are Vets helps with their PTSS.

teacherspet 2014-05-19 16:31:18 -0500 Report

Dr. Gary and friends, I have contributed what some of my stressors are already, but want to add this to the list, because I think others can relate, and then others can give in put. I just had my quarterly A1C, hemoglobin, and Basic Blood work done. So at our clinic we can get a print out mailed out to us on internet site for the clinic. I've just looked it over, the ONLY two things I understand the gobbly-gook ABC's is A1C which was up, and hemoglobin which was down…the rest of it, was pretty spooky…and rather scares me. So is there a place to compare the ABC's of tests with and see what they mean, or should I calm down and wait till PA and I talk at next appt. This is what stresses me, not knowing information…how do I deal with it? Well, I pray, or freak out, or let it go and figure if they haven't called me in…I'm not going to expire.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-20 22:07:54 -0500 Report

Hi teacherspet,

You bring up a really good point here. I hear this often from clients who end up feeling stressed when they can't decipher what their test results mean. You might want to take the printout and then highlight or underline the areas that you don't understand and then ask the doctor or his/her nurse to explain these areas to you. I know they are busy but if you make it clear what areas you don't understand, you might get some help in understanding them. It's worth a try.


Fairlawngirl 2014-05-19 13:42:22 -0500 Report

Yes, stress is a MAJOR factor. We all experience them in different ways. I agree, that et exercise is a major aid. Meditation. Speaking to my cat. My ups and downs with my blood sugars. Down to the 40's in the wee hours this morning. Dextrotabs and a high protein granola bar, then rechecking a sugar took care of it. The insulin pump is there to aid in management.

tabby9146 2014-05-21 10:52:16 -0500 Report

I like what you said about meditation and speaking to your cat. Being with our pets, even just petting them, studies have shown has lowered blood pressure and it really does help me with stress too. Trying to get into meditation some, seems kind of hard for me to do. But I keep trying.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-20 21:51:50 -0500 Report

Hi Fairlawngirl,

Nice to see you again. Meditation is a good stress reliever, and so is exercise. And pets can help a lot, too. They show unconditional love and that can be comforting during a stressful time.

Glad you are keeping that blood sugar under control.


tabby9146 2014-05-19 09:54:51 -0500 Report

I replied to Trudie's post which I think is great, and I do some of the same things she does it helps!! Also, I exercise daily, even if it is just yoga some days, and yoga helps the mind as much as it helps the body. Soothing music, soothing ocean sounds, and other sounds like that. having quiet time listening to nature.

tabby9146 2014-05-19 10:02:29 -0500 Report

I forgot to mention deep breathing. you can get on you tube and find the right breathing techniques that immediately help and also for anxious thoughts. What stresses me most now and for the last few years, is taking care of my elderly mother, in a wheel chair, with health problems she has and all the various doc appts., errands, cleaning for her, doing her laundry, etc. while having my own family, I often feel "sandwiched" between it all and other days, not so bad, it just depends on what all is going on. Fortunately my job is not too stressful and I am able to work part-time still, if I worked full time, there is no way I could handle all of her care, all of our own personal things, youngest child's activities, school, and the other things I do every day. She refuses to go to assisted living. She wants to keep living on her own, but that is getting much harder and I am doing my best. What they say about how this is one of the top stressers, caring for elderly and having children at the same time, job, etc. it truly is. Dealing with my grown son's drug problems over the last few years has been extremely stressful. He is clean now, and got out of his first (and hopefully only) rehab program not too long ago. He still has no job. We have had to support him again. He is a good person. I hope people do not judge, because we raised him well, but drugs are rampant, and having other parents who are going or have been through this, is a big help. For years, he was a very difficult teenager and I am sure that played a role in my diabetes, as well as the lack of exercise and eating properly, if I could go back and do it all over again, I would have taken better care of myself and would have been better able to deal with all of that.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-20 21:49:09 -0500 Report

HI Tabby,

Yoga is a good way to relieve stress, I have heard.

Wow, you have a lot going on in your life. I took care of my mom and I totally understand what this is like. It's so hard to see our parents get older and it's hard for them to experience, too. Like all of us, they want to hang onto their independence as long as possible. But that is hard on adult children.

And sorry to hear about your son. Good news that he is now clean. I hope he does really well. It's one day at a time.

We can't undo the past but we can certainly decide to make positive changes in the present and going forward.

Thanks a lot for sharing this!


denipink57 2014-05-19 09:02:16 -0500 Report

I think that stress is a normal part of life. I deal with a lot of osteoartritis pain and it causes a great deal of stress. I have to take pain meds just to function but i am still really glad for them. I rest a good deal and use a walker and this seems to help. Good luck to everyone dealing with stress.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-20 21:42:52 -0500 Report

HI denipink,

I agree, stress is certainly a part of life, whether we welcome it or not. Working with your limitations and energy level, not pushing yourself too hard, is a good way to keep the stress more managed. Thanks for checking in, my friend.


Type1Lou 2014-05-19 07:56:47 -0500 Report

I've read somewhere that stress is intrinsic in life and that no stress equals death. When I was working and became stressed about something (workload, co-worker etc.) I would frequently take a walk and try to clear my head and figure out what I could do to change the overly-stressful situation. If something was particularly bothersome, I would write down what it was and try to write down the actions/decisions I could take to ease the stress…it helped put it all in perspective. I recently posted on a similar discussion here that the "Serenity Prayer" gives me the proper focus…to accept those things that I cannot change, to have the strength to change those things that I can and to have the wisdom to know the difference. It's helped.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-19 23:23:25 -0500 Report

Hey Type1Lou,

Very good point you make. Stress helps keep us moving forward in life.

There is a lot to be said for a good walk. I take walks too. It's a great way to clear your head and get perspective on life. Sitting down with a pen and paper and mapping things out is also a good idea.

I love the serenity prayer. It is the key to happiness!



jigsaw 2014-05-19 06:26:39 -0500 Report

Hello Dr. Gary

Some interesting, and helpful info in your article! I've definitely added it to my tool box.

I also find that redirecting my focus on something positive, seems to help alleviate stress. Physically getting involved with positive action by doing something relaxing and enjoyable seems to help. Even a good walk, or any form of exercise, seems to work for me. It also allows me to step back, take a look at the situation from a better prospective, with a clearer head. Makes it easier to deal with the stressful circumstances in a constructive way.

I definitely find that most of my stress is related to the love of my life ( my wife) ! Trying to figure out how to keep her happy, is a tough one.
I hope that this is not my future in the link below.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-19 23:20:28 -0500 Report

Hey jigsaw,

Thanks for checking in. What you described here is what I call positive distraction. Focus your attention away from the stress and toward a positive thought or activity. Get yourself active doing something you enjoy, that's healthy. Spending time with people you enjoy helps too.

Good idea!

And a very funny picture!


Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-05-19 00:58:46 -0500 Report

Thank you Dr. Gary. I enjoyed reading the article. I, like others, have lots of stressful things in my life. Of course diabetes, also sciatica, fribrolmyalgia, nerve damage, migraines, the state of our country & our government, the list goes on.
I am a Christian, and I believe my help comes from the Lord. I also know that I have to do 'my part' to take care of myself, family, and friends, with God's help. I study any and everything I can find dealing with health and well being. I also do as much as I can to help with my community. I help out with the auxillary at our volunteer fire dept., which is an awesome community support group. We are a small rural town, who cares about each other. They/we also help our military by collecting and sending care packages. We visit our seniors & nursing homes and our veterans and collect care packages for them. I do as much as I am able to, but I wish I could do more. Helping others helps me.
I learned a long time ago how to deal with my problems and stress. When I find myself getting stressed by something I pray. Through prayer I find peace. Then I am able to handle what ever the stressful situation is and "Stress has no control over me." This is how I am able to live with it and not let it ruin my life.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-19 23:05:19 -0500 Report

Hi Trudie Ann,

Thank you! This is a great post. You identified two important ways to deal with the stress in life. One is to have a spiritual connection -- that's the ultimate foundation to build on, unshakeable! And giving of yourself connects you to something much greater than your own challenges. As you said so well!

Stress doesn't have to control you. You're right. We can all learn to live with it.

Nice to see you, my friend!


lanykins 2014-05-19 13:34:09 -0500 Report

I have a good deal of stress in my life. Other than the diabetes, neuropathy and now a ulcer on my toe that won't heal, I live in an elderly community where I have very few people to talk to. My family lives 3,000 miles away. My son lives a little ways from me but neither of us drive so we don't see each other very often. He has AIDS and this brings a lot of stress into my life. I love him so much and am fearful of losing him. I feel very much alone and that makes the stress harder. I do have a strong faith in God and I find prayer to be my greatest release. Not only am I able to talk to my Lord, I find that He answers my prayers a lot. This brings healing to my son when he's very ill, solutions to problems and the knowledge that He loves me. Knowing this and being able to talk to Him brings me the greatest relief from stress. I do miss having family or friends to talk to, yet my faith and ability to pray is the strongest relationship I can have.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-19 23:11:54 -0500 Report

Hi lanykins,

Good to see you! And thanks a lot for sharing this. I had no idea you are dealing with so much. Really sorry to hear you are feeling isolated, and sorry to hear about your son. Again, you are dealing with a lot. And a lot of stress.

It is great to know that your faith is so strong, and that you have this solid foundation for your life. I am glad to know this. Now I know you are in good hands!

And you are not alone. You have us!


tabby9146 2014-05-19 09:53:11 -0500 Report

I feel the same way, help comes from the Lord, praying, being involved in my church is very uplifting, and helping others also. It totally does so much. Being around "positive" Christian people and trying to stay away from people that are too negative too often and start drama. Being very thankful and grateful for everything and counting your blessings. So good to see when others feel the same.

Lentyl 2014-05-18 23:53:38 -0500 Report

I take every evening from 8 to 10 to have "quiet time". I read then and have the lighting turned down. It creates a peaceful ending to the day. I'll be 73 on the 24th and sleep well most nights as a result of this quiet time. Also, if I get really stressed/upset I take out my tenor sax and play that for a while. That almost always helps me to slow down. Some time ago I mentioned to my friends that I wouldn't be answering the telephone after 6 p. m. A couple of them liked to call about 9 in the evening and tell me all of their problems - good for them but not for me. The 8 to 10 time is firm unless there is a social engagement or an emergency.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-19 22:43:50 -0500 Report

Hey Lentyl,

Some great ideas here. Setting limits is an important part of keeping your stress manageable. It starts with knowing what your hot buttons are and then deciding what you need to do to take care of yourself. And that's what it sounds like you were able to do with your evening schedule. Congratulations!

Thanks for sharing this.


teacherspet 2014-05-18 23:07:16 -0500 Report

I am 61 and my husband is 64. My stress comes from not knowing what is going to be going on in our lives in the near future when we are living on Social Security and Medicare. It also comes from wanting to move out of this house to a smaller home, and out of South Dakota.. It comes from not having enough money to live on and pay bills. It also comes from my lack of health care for my arthritis and broken knees. The pain is enormous, but neither docs or orthos or pt people will help me put in for a battery operated wheelchair to get around on my own. I'm done most of the time, wishing I could just walk or crawl away from it all and live in a cave,.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-19 18:01:39 -0500 Report

HI teacherspet,

I really appreciate your honesty here. I am so sorry you are facing these challenges. It is hard to live with so much uncertainty. We want to know what's ahead, and it's scary and frustrating when we don't. That's stress.

And it sounds like you aren't getting a lot of support from the healthcare system. That's a tragedy.

I hope you are doing everything you can to take good care of yourself. Get support, get rest, stay on top of your diabetic self care. Making sure you are as healthy as possible is a good way to cope with these times of stress. Keep talking to your doctor, sometimes they need to hear the same thing over and over before they get it.

And stay in touch with us, my friend. You are not alone.


jayabee52 2014-05-18 22:00:29 -0500 Report

Dr Gary, I am kind of like Roberto

As you know I am a rather spiritual man and I pray regularly. I also try to help people when it is in my ability.

One of my stressors AND stess relievers is posting here on DC, and also Depression Connect. I am stressed when I see the problems people have, but I am also gratified when I see that what I do really helps people get their medical and emotional lives in better shape.

God's best to you


Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-19 17:41:52 -0500 Report

Hey James,

I think of you as a very spiritual person. That is a great foundation to have during times of stress. And you are such a source of inspiration to others on these two sites. I have to say that being involved in these sites also keeps me grounded.

Thank you!


robertoj 2014-05-18 21:40:32 -0500 Report

First off I realize that stress is a vital part of life. Last week was especially stressful. Our friend had pneumonia, released herself from the hospital against doctors orders and went into a coma. Her brother came in from out of state and took her off life support (she was brain dead). The next day our cat died. So there was a lot of grieving. We helped make her final arrangements so we weren't idle. Helping to make things go smooth as possible helped us a great deal. The thing we did throughout was to pray and meditate.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-05-19 17:27:29 -0500 Report

HI Roberto,

That is such a sad story you shared, just a tragedy. As you said so well, placing one foot before the other, doing what has to be done, can be a way to cope during a time of grief. Pray and meditating certainly doesn't hurt. Take care of yourself!


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