Coping with negative emotions because of exercise

We know that many people with diabetes experience negative emotions because of their diabetes. These negative emotions can be any negative emotion, such as anxiety, anger, shame, guilt, failure.
Sometimes these negative emotions are directly related to a specific part of diabetes self-management. Of course, no part of diabetes self-management is really ‘’fun’’ or enjoyable. But some activities might induce more negative emotions than others. You mentioned, that doing exercise gives you negative emotions. This is important to know. We hope we can help you modify those feelings.

  • Do you know which negative emotion you have about exercise? Does it feel boring? Do you feel sad about it? Do you feel angry, that you have to spend time on it? Are you anxious about having hypo’s? Or maybe too self-conscious about your looks while doing sports?
    Or maybe there is another negative emotion that you are aware of.
  • It is important to realize that emotions always are ‘’true’’, these are your individual feelings. They might not be useful, or logical, but that is the way you feel. In the section “Managing your Emotions” you will find specific information about specific emotions, such as feeling anxious about hypo’s, feeling stressed, feeling depressed/sad. If you recognize any of these emotions, please take a look at the website to read the texts that refer to what you are feeling
  • Another thing to ask yourself is: do you feel ‘’good’’ ‘’better’’ or positive in any way, AFTER sports/exercising? If so, you are probably still on the right track…, but your brain might just need more time to ‘’get used to’’ this new behaviour. The positive feeling afterwards works as an important reward for your brain, but it takes time for your brain to ‘’connect’’ this positive feeling (reward) to sports/exercise. If you would continue to perform your exercise/sports, and you would have this positive feeling afterwords, your brain will even learn to long for this feeling …, and make you want to perform sports/exercise more and more…

If you have tried to do sports/exercise for a while, and you keep experiencing negative emotions without the ‘’reward feeling’’ afterwards, then it may be time to adjust your goal. Click here if you want to read more on why and how to adjust a goal. Click here if you want to read more on how chose different ‘’exercise’’ goals.