Think like an Olympian: making lifestyle changes that last when managing Type 2 Diabetes
There is plenty of evidence with Type 2 Diabetes that changes to lifestyle can bring about significant positive changes to the rate and progression of deteriorating symptoms, thereby relieving some of the mental stress associated with having a chronic ongoing condition.
Many of the top athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics this summer employ psychologists to help them perform at their best level and deal with their stress. They learn methods, psychological tricks and theories that not only help them to stay calm and focused on their competition, but also to encourage them to stick to their routine whilst training and preparing for their event. These varied techniques help keep athletes motivated and on track, day to day, week by week, to sustain a change in behaviour or training, that helps their preparation to reach their goal.
Making a change and sticking to it is a challenge everyone who has made a New Year’s resolution will be familiar with. It’s human nature to set off with best intentions, but within a week or two start getting distracted with life’s events and pressures. Finding yourself too busy or too tired to go for that walk, or swim or prepare that healthy snack.
Using regular mindfulness techniques and other psychological mechanisms, can help you take a step out of the pressures of everyday life, give you some breathing space to temporarily relax, focus on a different specific area or topic, perhaps clear your mind of the distracting hubbub of daily events and enable you to re-engage with your original resolution or plan. It helps take away any feelings of guilt, or sense of failure, and helps you realize that you can still achieve, that you can adapt and live with the condition rather than feel constantly embattled against it.
These psychological methods are skills that anyone can learn. You don’t have to be an Olympian! Why not consider using psychological approaches to help you with making those lifestyle changes? Copy the Olympians and inspire yourself.
By Dr Ian O’Connor GP partner at Oak Tree Surgery, Brackla Bridgend.
Dr Ian O’Connor has been a GP at Oak Tree Surgery since 1996. He is the GP diabetic lead, alongside Dr Donagh and is GP cluster lead for the Bridgend East Cluster Network.