Mindfulness for Diabetes Management
The practice of mindfulness is good for what ails anybody, including anybody who has diabetes.
There is already a slew of research proving that being mindful, or learning to keep our attention in the present moment, does wonders for human health.
Being mindful breaks up thought patterns that trigger and sustain stress, anxiety and depression. By not paying attention to our negative self-talk and worries, we starve them and they lose energy. Our mind is free to focus on our needs and take care of business, including managing symptoms of diabetes.
Why Mindfulness Helps with Diabetes
The regular practice of mindfulness has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure. This is more important for the management of diabetes than most people realize.
Research done in the UK revealed that diabetics who have controlled blood pressure, meaning it stays within the normal range most of the time, are 30 percent less likely to experience complications from diabetes such as heart attack or stroke.
The researchers also discovered something quite surprising: Keeping blood pressure normalized had more of a positive impact on a diabetic’s quality of life and longevity than monitoring blood glucose levels. (That’s not to say managing glucose is unimportant.)
Managing Glucose Levels
Mindfulness practice also increases glycemic control, helping individuals avoid episodes of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. In a different research study, one group of participants was educated about diabetes. A second group received the same diabetes education and participated in an eight-week mindfulness course.
The group that received diabetes education and mindfulness training had significantly less anxiety and lower blood pressure than those who had only the education sessions. Participants who took the mindfulness course also reported better diabetes self-care. They were more likely than those in the education-only group to maintain their glucose (glycated hemoglobin) in the target range.
Consider Learning Mindfulness
The practice of mindfulness also helps people manage the psychological issues that arise with having a chronic disease. Learning to stay in the present moment and remain non-judgmental makes is easier to deal with the uncertainty of an illness as well as issues related to self-esteem and mood management.
Acquiring mindfulness takes effort, but the mechanics of it are not difficult to grasp. You can pick up the skill by taking a class, reading a book, visiting a website, watching YouTube videos, buying DVDs, or simply making an effort to keep your mind on whatever task is at hand.
Even a few moments of mindfulness scattered throughout the day helps the body recover from stress. Mindfulness also allows us accept the things in our life that we would rather not accept.
Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t). ~ James Baraz