Mindfulness is a technique that teaches a person to focus on their day-to-day emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations in the present without criticizing or judging anyone else. Being mindful doesn’t help solve all the problems, but it can help us deal with them calmly.
By focusing on the present feelings, thoughts, and actions, we can see things more objectively and clearly.
In addition, we will learn to stop auto-responding in certain situations in unhealthy ways. For example, instead of giving in to the cravings, we can take that moment to think about our options and choose to eat something that won’t increase our weight.
How Does It Work?
Mindfulness can help deal with the constant anxiety, stress, and depression that come with diabetes. It can help people avoid negative thoughts and emotions like anger, sadness, guilt, and frustration. Instead, people will be attracted to feelings of contentment and pure happiness.
In fact, people have thought that having negative emotions is not good.
As a result, they believe that having these emotions means that they are in a way mentally ill. Well, mindfulness encourages people to focus on the present and pay attention to their development without judging or criticizing the people around them or themselves.
In the long run, this technique allows a person to accept their feelings instead of avoiding them.
Supported By Research
Many researchers try to find innovative and more useful ways to treat and properly manage this chronic condition.
Moreover, at the Diabetes Professional Conference in the UK, many new developments were presented, including the way mindfulness can help with the management of this disease. This new treatment method for managing type 1 diabetes was introduced in March 2016.
While it is still unclear if mindfulness can only help with self-management or with every issue related to the disease, there is evidence that suggests this technique could make it easier for people to manage their condition.
Mindfulness is a technique that allows a person to be completely aware of their external and internal environment and be completely present in the moment. When we learn to focus on our body, the body will send us signals and let us become more aware of what it needs.
Dr. Andrew Keen was the lead researcher who carried out the research. He believes that there are multiple ways this technique can help manage the condition.
- It can help people become more aware of their body and what it needs.
- It can help them make decisions by increasing their awareness.
- People will have better clarity which can result in better decisions.
Besides, we have known for a long time that self-management can naturally improve a person’s well-being, which is why we focused on mindfulness as an effective way of managing this lifelong disease, said Keen.
Furthermore, other research in Germany and the Netherlands supported these claims.
It seems that mindfulness may indeed be useful for managing this serious condition. As a technique, it can help people lower the psychological distress they have to deal with while managing this chronic illness.
According to German research, practicing mindfulness combined with yoga and meditation for 8 weeks seems to work best. Moreover, researchers from the Netherlands used mindfulness as cognitive therapy.
However, Keen warns that there isn’t enough evidence about whether mindfulness can help those with diabetes type 1 or people who had trouble controlling their disease.
In other words, it is still unknown to what extent mindfulness can help reduce blood glucose levels, depression, and anxiety.
According to Keen, whether mindfulness will become an effective way of treating the disease, still remains to be answered. However, he is optimistic.
Thankfully, it is very easy to learn and practice this technique. Here are a few ways we can do it.
- While looking at an object with fresh eyes, we should try to completely erase what we know about that object and try to pay attention to every detail we previously didn’t notice was there. We should identify these details as if we have never seen them before;
- When we are talking to someone, we should completely erase the thoughts of judgment and thinking. Instead, focus completely on the things that the person is saying;
- When we are driving, we should focus only on the road, instead of daydreaming or worrying about what comes next;
- Relax, sit down, and breathe. We should focus on our breath and feel the air as it starts to move in the nostrils;
- The next time we want to eat something, we may take our time and look at the food, smell it, and feel its skin. We should imagine ourselves eating it. Now we should slowly put the food in our mouth and feel its surface and shape. Slowly chew the food and feel the textures changing.
Lastly, notice the impulses and changes these will cause in the body. Don’t forget to practice this technique for a few minutes every day.