Mindfulness meditation: a new way to help diabetics?

Research is showing a certain type of meditation may help people suffering from diabetes. This stress reduction works in many different ways and provides calming strategies as well as ways to discipline the mind.

“There is little research on this process when it comes to this treatment of diabetes,” Joseph B. Nelson, MA, LP, CST, told Ivanhoe. He defines mindfulness as “intentional awareness of each moment; non judgmental; internal and external awareness.” Nelson stresses mindfulness is not about relaxing; rather, it is about becoming fully awake and aware. In addition, Nelson said, “Mindfulness is not meditation; it’s a way to live.”

Nelson believes through mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), people with diabetes will be able to relieve stress and anxiety. At the 2010 American Diabetes Association Conference, Nelson talked about a pilot study that was conducted on diabetic patients. He said through the practice of MBSR, patients showed lower blood pressure levels as well as reduced stress, anxiety, and depression.

Nelson presents seven attitudes that are taught during mindfulness meditation. They are: Be non-judgmental, have patience, use a beginner’s mind, trust (yourself and your environment), be non-striving (do not try to make something happen, concentrate on the present moment at hand), accept what you are given, and lastly, let go.

Through self-calming strategies and skills, such as using breathing as an anchor, practicing the seven attitudes previously mentioned and being self-aware of your internal dialogue (your triggers), you will be able to calm down and rid yourself of any other stressors and anxieties in your life. In addition, Nelson says it’s important to discipline the mind by not getting carried away with trivial things.

Nelson firmly believes that MBSR practices will decrease depression, anxiety, fears, and eating disorders (common among diabetic patients). By practicing mindful meditation, patients are able to decide what is important to stress over and what is not. The key is being honest with yourself and allowing your mind to relax, according to Nelson.

[via Ivanhoe.com]
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