Reduce Stress and Blood Sugar: Beginner-Friendly Meditations
Stress can elevate blood sugar since the hormones our body makes to fight stress can also cause blood sugar to rise.
An excellent method for reducing stress and glucose levels is the practice of meditation, and these simple beginner-friendly techniques can help anyone get started.
Three Ways To Start Meditating
1. Guided Meditation
If sitting quietly for more than five or ten minutes seems daunting, guided meditations might work best for you. A guided meditation is led by someone else, sometimes in person, but typically via a recording (e.g., CD, audio download). You simply sit or lie comfortably and follow the guide’s voice.
Most guided meditations have a theme such as deep relaxation, balance, inner peace, healing, or gratitude. Some are more motivational, addressing issues such as procrastination, or living with purpose. Soothing or inspirational music usually plays in the background.
TIP: Start with shorter guided meditations of five, ten, or 15 minutes, and if possible, listen to a meditation sample before purchasing to make sure the guide’s voice is a pleasant one for you.
2. Loving-Kindness Meditation
The Loving-Kindness meditation relieves stress by cultivating qualities that nurture and soothe our heart: friendliness, compassion, appreciation, and equanimity.
There are several variations of the Loving-Kindness meditation, one of them goes like this:
- Close your eyes, take a slow deep breath, and think or silently say, “May I be filled with loving kindness. May I be well. May I be peaceful and at ease. May I be truly happy.”
- Now, bring someone you care about into your heart or mind, and think or silently say, “May you be filled with loving kindness. May you be well. May you be peaceful and at ease. May you be truly happy.”
- Now, bring someone who challenges (e.g., angers, annoys, bothers) you into your awareness, and think or silently say, “May you be filled with loving kindness. May you be well. May you be peaceful and at ease. May you be truly happy.”
- Next, bring all of humanity into your awareness, and think or silently say, “May we be filled with loving kindness. May we be well. May we be peaceful and at ease. May we be truly happy.”
Steps two and three can be repeated to include as many individuals as you wish.
TIP: Try doing the Loving-Kindness meditation just before getting out of bed each morning, or after pulling up the covers at night. It’s also a great way to spend all or part of a break from work.
3. Breath Awareness
Breath awareness meditation is nothing more than sitting comfortably, typically with the eyes closed, and noticing the inhalation and exhalation of your breath.
You might focus on the rising and falling of your belly, the sensation of air passing through your nostrils, the expansion and contraction of the lungs, or simply hold a general awareness of your breathing. Begin by doing this for a couple minutes at a time, and gradually work your way up to five minutes or more.
As a regular practice, breath awareness calms the body, strengthens our mind-body connection, and cultivates body awareness. It’s also an effective as-needed tool for taming tension; use it when standing in a long checkout line, or while sitting at a red light—eyes open, naturally.
TIP: Having trouble sleeping? Breath awareness will help quiet your mind.