Module 3: Understanding Your Feelings

New Beginnings: A Discussion Guide for Living Well With Diabetes

For the complete discussion guide, download this page as a [PDF – 659 KB]

What You Need to Know
group of people having a discussion

Having diabetes can add to the already stress-filled life that most people experience as they juggle work, family, social, and volunteer activities. Sometimes these feelings are called “diabetes distress.” Managing diabetes means making changes in eating and physical activity habits, possibly taking medicines, and dealing with the emotions that come with having a chronic disease. Support for coping with emotions is part of the services that people with diabetes can receive through programs or people who offer diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) services.

Discussion Time: 45 to 60 minutes


  • Emotional effect of diabetes
  • Healthy coping strategies
  • Diabetes and depression

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

  • Identify at least three positive coping strategies.
  • Identify at least five signs of depression.

Suggested stories for this module:

  • Yvonne’s Story A: Yvonne talks about how she learned she had type 2 diabetes and overcame denial to make the lifestyle choices to manage her diabetes (audio: about 4 minutes)
  • LyCynthia and Terry’s Story: 14:30–18:00 – LyCynthia and Terry talk about the importance of family support in managing diabetes (audio: about 4 minutes)


Key Messages

  1. It is normal to experience a range of emotions when living with diabetes.
  2. Awareness of feelings and emotions is an important first step. People can do this by taking frequent pauses throughout the day to see how they are feeling.
  3. Healthy coping strategies can help a person with diabetes manage his or her emotions and take actions that support healthy behaviors.
  4. People can develop healthy coping strategies by adjusting how they think, feel, and act in daily life and when faced with stressful or upsetting situations. Asking for help is important too.
  5. It is important to recognize the signs of depression and get help, if needed.

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

  • The video stories for this module can be played by sharing your screen (and computer audio) through your video teleconferencing platform. Another option is to share the links to the videos with your group members by email before the session starts.
  • The audio stories can be inserted into the New Beginnings PowerPoint template [PPT – 599 KB] along with images that reflect the story.
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Page last reviewed: May 18, 2022