Mindfulness exercise training has been proven to be therapeutic in various aspects of health. It can improve cognitive function, reduce stress, and ease distress, anxiety and depression(1,2). But did you know? It can also have an impact on your blood sugar levels, especially for individuals who struggle with type 2 diabetes.
Mindfulness and Diabetes
Key to the management of diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, is impulse control, especially when it comes to food. Mindfulness exercise training has been proven to be effective in the treatment of impulse-based eating disorders like binge eating disorder, according to a foundational study published in 2011 in the journal Eating Disorders(3).
Mindfulness training can greatly improve one’s sense of self-control with regard to eating, which is key not just in managing eating disorders but in managing diabetes as well.
A pilot study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2013 explored the premise of mindfulness training in helping adults with type 2 diabetes manage their weight and blood sugar levels.
Participants included adults between the ages of 35 and 65 with type 2 diabetes mellitus, who were randomly assigned to a three month session of mindful eating or Smart Choices-based intervention.
The study concluded that “training in mindful eating and diabetes self-management facilitate improvement in dietary intake, modest weight loss, and glycemic control” – all of which are hugely important for the management of type 2 diabetes(4).
Blood Pressure And Depression
Mindfulness meditation has also been shown to lower blood pressure(5), which is another important factor in the management of diabetes.
Another aspect in diabetes management that is far too important to overlook is the impact that living with a chronic disease can have on an individuals mental health. Diabetes is intimately linked to depression in adults living with both diseases; mindfulness meditation can not only help with managing the physical aspect of diabetes, but help mitigate the emotional toll it takes as well(6).
Exploring Mindfulness Meditation
There are many ways to begin exploring mindfulness meditation: instructional videos can be found on youtube, and books detailing the processes are accessible in the self-help sections of most bookstores. While the mechanics of mindfulness meditation are not difficult to grasp, acquiring true mindfulness can take significant effort and patience.
However, even just a few moments of mindfulness in the midst of a hectic day can go a long way towards helping your body and mind recover from stress. Over an extended period of time, mindfulness exercises can help with managing your diet, blood pressure, and mental health as well.