You’ve likely heard how beneficial meditation is for reducing stress, but did you know there are actually numerous benefits of meditation for diabetics? Making a simple lifestyle change to calm your mind also has a profound effect on your health. While it might not seem like sitting quietly for 20 or 30 minutes is all that useful, the benefits have something different to say.
Significantly Reduce Your Risk of CAD
While coronary artery disease is a risk for many people without diabetes, diabetics have a 2-4 times higher risk of developing CAD. But a six-month meditation study with those at high risk for CAD uncovered a promising result – meditation significantly reduced this risk.
While the study doesn’t mention exactly how long participants meditated at a time, they did practice multiple forms of meditation. This included body scans, mindfulness, forgiveness, and breathing.
Reduce the Chance of Depression
Depression often goes hand in hand with diabetes. A common benefit of meditation for diabetics is reducing the chance of depression. The act of mindful breathing calms the mind and reduces stress. It can also help with acceptance, making diabetes feel like less of a burden. As a result, you’re less likely to develop depression.
By reducing or eliminating symptoms of depression, you also help better control your stress, anxiety, and even blood pressure. All of this makes you feel better overall and makes treating and managing diabetes a little easier.
Reduce Your Glucose Levels
Stress wreaks havoc with your blood glucose levels. But it’s impossible to completely eliminate stress. What you can control is your reaction to stress. As a diabetic, it’s even more important to manage your stress and keep your glucose levels in check.
The practice of meditation helps bring your mind and body into a calmer, more relaxed state. As you develop a regular practice, you gain more control over how you react to stress. The result is a more balanced state of mind and far less stress overall. Of course, this leads to healthier glucose levels and fewer spikes.
Easier to Maintain Lifestyle Changes
A commonly overlooked benefit of meditation for diabetics is making it easier to maintain lifestyle changes. When you’re depressed or stressed, it’s far too easy to give into bad habits, such as reaching for comfort foods that are no longer good for you. It can also lead to weight gain, lack of exercise, and even forgetting your medications.
Meditation helps clear your mind, reduces depression and stress, and helps you stay focused. By feeling better, you’re less likely to succumb to temptation, making choosing healthy foods easier. You’ll also feel more energized to stick with your doctor’s recommended exercise regime. Having diabetes means making major life changes and meditation makes accepting and maintaining those changes easier on you.
Limit the Release of Cortisol
Cortisol, often called the stress hormone, is released when you’re stressed. Prolonged stress can actually lead to diabetes as the body releases far too much sugar into the bloodstream. The body releases sugar to give you the energy to deal with stressful situations, such as your fight or flight response. But, when you don’t expend the anticipated energy, the sugar just builds up and starts to damage the pancreas.
For a diabetic, your body can’t handle constant stress and the release of more and more stored sugar into your system. Meditation gives you the power to control your stress better, reducing how much cortisol your body releases. The less cortisol, the less sugar your body releases to fight the stress.
For those who are pre-diabetic, meditation may actually reduce your stress response enough to help you heal before you become diabetic.
Give the Body a Chance to Heal
Chronic stress, free radicals, and even diabetes itself don’t give your body much of a chance to rest and heal. Instead of healing, you find yourself just managing the symptoms and hoping for the best. Taking 20-30 minutes to meditate and let your mind and body enter a deep, restful state gives your body time to heal.
This period of healing every day can help reduce insulin resistance, aid the body in eliminating free radicals, reduce cravings for sugary and fatty foods, and help your nervous system become more balanced.
Think of it the same as peaceful sleep when you’re sick. Meditation for diabetics gives you this same level of peace and healing for both your mind and body.
May Reduce Weight Gain
Stress is a major factor when it comes to weight gain. Whether it’s just causing you to eat more, especially junk foods, or slowing down your metabolism, stress and weight gain are common partners. For diabetics, controlling their weight is often a challenge. However, meditation may help reduce weight gain by reducing stress. Plus, you may become more mindful of what you eat and what you do. This can lead to a healthier diet and a more active lifestyle.
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