Benefits of Meditation

Better diabetes control, lower blood pressure, reduced stress, improved focus, less depression, and better relationships.

How can you increase your chances of achieving all of these things?

Have you considered meditation?

According to historians’ meditation is believed to have originated in India over 5000 years ago. For quite some time, meditation has been (and continues to be) a customary spiritual practice of many religions.

According to PhD, Susan Chow, “Many meditation techniques commonly practiced today originated from ancient Buddhist meditation texts, which continue to be used by followers of the religion today.”1

Since the 1960’s, the Western World has practiced meditation outside of the context of religion as way to reduce stress and be more present with oneself.2

Having a chronic condition, such as diabetes, can be a stressor, making diabetes management a challenge. When a person with diabetes is stressed blood sugar control can deteriorate. The reasons for this are two-fold.

  • Counter-regulatory hormones released in response to stress counteract insulin activity thus making a person more insulin resistance which can lead to elevated blood sugar levels.
  • Stress can also impair a persons’ ability (or willingness) to take on the daily self-care tasks required for diabetes management.

Health Coping is one of the 7 self-care behaviors described by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). These self-care behaviors are used to help guide diabetes education and goals of day-to-day diabetes management. According to the AADE, developing healthy coping tactics can help with stress reduction. AADE suggests many ideas for healthy coping, one of which includes: MEDITATION!3

Forms of Meditation

Psychologist, Joseph B. Nelson describes 3 forms of meditation:4

Mindfulness Meditation

This form of meditation aims to achieve moment-to-moment awareness by focusing on breathing.

Transcendental Meditation

In this form of meditation an individual chooses a mantra, that is not shared with anyone else. A mantra is a single word or phrase that is repeated by the individual, in their mind, to improve focus.

Focused Awareness Meditation

In this form of meditation an individual starts with their eyes partially open while staring at an object, such as a candle, during which time the breath is also focused on.

In the article, Meditation and the Art of Diabetes Management, Nelson reviews the basics of mindfulness meditation.4

  • The goal of mindfulness meditation: learn to “live life more fully” and to be more present in the moment.
  • Mindfulness meditation can be practiced either sitting upright in a chair or seated upright on the ground (usually on a cushion).
  • This form of meditation begins with focusing on ones breathe. If your focus gets pulled away from distractions (i.e. doorbell, phone ringing, ticking clock, the sound of someone talking, etc.) be an “objective observer” and then bring the focus back to your breathing.
    • An example of being an “objective observer”
      • Instead of hearing a person talking and thinking: “That person’s voice is so annoying!”
      • Instead the “objective observer” would think: “That is the sound of a person’s voice”
    • According to Nelson, when it comes to meditation breathing is not the only focus, but also “maintaining your awareness of the present moment so that you can recognize when your thoughts have drifted” …… “breathing acts as an anchor to the present moment and helps you maintain a peaceful state of mind.”
    • Focusing on the present helps you let go of the past and can help free you from worrying about the future.

Have you practiced meditation? What was your experience like? Did you take a class to learn the basics of meditation? Please share your thoughts with the type2diabetes.com community.

References:

  1. Chow S. Meditation Spirituality and Religion. News-Medical.net. http://www.news-medical.net/health/Meditation-Spirituality-and-Religion.aspx. Published November 22, 2015. Accessed April 15, 2017.
  2. History of Meditation – Mankind’s Oldest Getaway. Project Meditation. https://www.project-meditation.org/mankinds-oldest-getaway/. Published October 18, 2016. Accessed April 15, 2017.
  3. American Association of Diabetes Educators. AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors. Accessed April 15, 2017.
  4. Nelson J. Meditation and the Art of Diabetes Management. Diabetes Self-Management.
This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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