Module 5: Managing Stress

New Beginnings: A Discussion Guide for Living Well With Diabetes

For the complete discussion guide, download this page as a [PDF – 746 KB]

What You Need to Know
group of people having a discussion

Stress can set off the “fight or flight” response of the nervous system. This response, which relies on animal instinct instead of thought-out decisions, is helpful in a sudden emergency when a person needs to react quickly by running away or fighting back. But when the fight or flight response stays with people all of the time, these feelings can be destructive. When people with diabetes have trouble coping with stress, it might cause them to stop managing their condition or to use unhealthy behaviors to cope. Sometimes this is called “diabetes distress.” Support for coping with stress and emotions is part of the services that people with diabetes can receive through programs or individuals who offer diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) services.

Discussion Time: 45 to 60 minutes


  • Stress reactions
  • Stress management

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify at least two signs of stress
  • Name three strategies for managing stress
  • Name three examples of healthy actions for managing stress

Key Messages

  1. Stress is a normal part of life. People can learn to manage stress so that it does not cause them health problems.
  2. Being aware (mindful) of the signs of stress in yourself is part of the process of learning to manage stress.
  3. Strategies for managing stress include:
    • Reducing or eliminating the source of stress
    • Changing how you respond to stress
    • Taking a time out

Connecting Threads

Connecting Threads are topics that can be incorporated into New Beginnings sessions depending on the goals and needs of your participants.

Recommended Connecting Threads:

Going Virtual Tips

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Page last reviewed: May 18, 2022