Meditation is a way to relax the mind through techniques such as focus and controlled breathing. This practice has been around for centuries and many people continue to use it to benefit both the body and the mind.
People meditate to reduce stress and relieve a variety of physical ailments. Recent research has shown that meditation can also help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Achieve a more serene state of mind
Meditation helps people to achieve a more peaceful state of mind. It takes focus and practice to achieve a peaceful meditative state of mind. No special equipment is required to meditate. Effective meditative techniques have been shown to reduce mental stress and hormone release.
Cortisol, one of those hormones, can increase blood sugar levels when it is high. Today's world is fast-paced and there are many stressors on a daily basis, so taking time for "yourself" through meditation is important for overall health, and for managing diabetes.
Types of meditation
There are different types of meditation. Research has shown that mindfulness meditation is beneficial for people with diabetes. Silent contemplation helps you let go of worries about the past and the future.
Slow, steady breathing movements can transport you to the present moment. This helps you calm your mind. Mindfulness meditation relieves anxiety and depression, which are common symptoms for people with diabetes.
Mindfulness meditation can be done sitting in a chair, on a cushion, or on the floor. You can also lie on the floor. The goal is to be in the present moment by focusing on your breath. When your mind begins to wander, slowly refocus on your breathing. At first, your mind may constantly wander.
Don't judge yourself, just focus on your breathing. While you meditate, always wear loose and comfortable clothing. Find a quiet and orderly place with natural light and fresh air for a better experience. The singing of birds or a small waterfall are sounds that you can put in the background without making you lose concentration.
Beginners can start with 10 minutes of practice a day and then eventually meditate for up to an hour a day, if they wish. Use a timer to set your time limit.
Another type of meditation is transcendental meditation practiced by millions of people around the world. Transcendental meditation originated, by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This practice is usually done sitting on the floor with your eyes closed.
In transcendental meditation you focus on a word or phrase in silence, which is called a "mantra." Your mantra can be as simple as the word "one" or "om". Repeat the word and breathe calmly for 10 minutes each day. After a week, try to do it for 15 minutes a day and then do it for up to 20 minutes twice a day.
Transcendental meditation does not require mindfulness or "thought monitoring" as in mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation helps you clear your mind of any thoughts.
According to research, transcendental meditation can help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, addiction, PTSD, and boost the immune system.
Meditation in motion
Moving meditation is another type of meditation which includes tai chi, qigong, and walking meditation. Tai Chi originated in ancient China and encompasses the mind, body, and spirit. There are multiple styles, but all tai chi practices share the same principles. These principles integrate the mind and body through movement and breathing.
This practice brings peace of mind, better health, and helps you think more clearly. Qigong is another type of moving meditation that also originated in China. It is a "practice of mind, body and spirit" that can improve mental and physical health. Qigong integrates posture, breathing, concentration and intention by performing slow and smooth movements.
Walking meditation involves bringing mindfulness and awareness to your walk. It can be done indoors or outdoors and does not require a lot of space. Take 10-15 steps forward and then go back the same way. The point is to use your brain, your breath, and your feet at the same time.
Walking meditation involves taking slow, small, natural steps, nothing exaggerated, with your arms and hands dangling at your sides. The main goal is to focus on your sensations while experiencing the walk.
Concentration meditation is another form of mediation in which you focus on a single point. It can be a mantra or word, hearing a repetitive sound like a gong or a bell, or looking at the flame of a candle. When your mind wanders, refocus your awareness on the specific object. After a while, this will help you improve your concentration.
How Meditation Can Help You
If you are unsure about how to meditate, there are classes, books, DVDs, YouTube videos, and mobile apps available that can help you learn. There are also websites on meditation. Yoga instructors and community centers also offer meditation classes.
Meditation helps minimize stress levels and lowers blood pressure. Reduces levels of stress hormones, including cortisol, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Hormones like cortisol contribute to weight gain, belly fat, and insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance increases the risk of diabetes. Being overweight increases your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and related heart problems.
A recent study showed that transcendental meditation can help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels. It can also lower blood pressure and reduce insulin resistance. Meditation can also be used to relieve chronic pain.
People with diabetes who experience nerve pain, neuropathy, or back pain are subject to increased stress and blood sugar levels. Reducing pain through meditation minimizes anxiety and related health problems, as well as blood sugar levels.
Use blood pressure monitors or blood pressure machines before and after meditation sessions to measure your progress. Have a glucose meter handy to keep track of your blood sugar levels before and after meditation. Take a few weeks to master the techniques and start seeing real results.
Exercise trains the body and meditation trains the mind. Many people with diabetes find meditation a good way to reduce stress, lower blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure readings, and minimize pain.
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