How to Manage Type 2 Diabetes With Meditation
Did you know that stress can directly contribute to higher glucose levels? Physical and mental stress is an unfortunate part of everyday life, but most people with diabetes or those concerned about prevention are unaware of how important managing stress levels are. Unmanaged stress can not only raise cortisol levels but also impact ghrelin, the “hunger hormone”, causing changes in lifestyle that make symptoms of the disease worse. Luckily, new research demonstrates that incorporating meditation as part of a holistic lifestyle can powerfully help regulate blood sugar levels. Meditation can de-stress the mind and body, lowering cortisol levels, allowing insulin to do its job properly.
The Relationship Between Stress & Glucose Levels
Stress not only blocks the body from releasing insulin, it also lets glucose accumulate in the bloodstream. In fact, prolonged stress is a unique contributor to glucose levels which can continue to build up over time if not managed. Why? Cortisol is known as “the stress hormone” - the body’s fight or flight hormone. It rises during stressful situations and life events. The body reacts to cortisol by releasing extra energy in the form of glucose. Since people with insulin resistance are unable to properly process glucose, it starts to build up, causing swings in sugar levels. In addition to cortisol, stress also raises levels of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone.” This explains why you may have a larger appetite for junk food when stressed, because eating it has a calming and soothing effect. Eating sugary junk and comfort foods cause extra weight… and to higher insulin levels. Stress also makes it harder to lead the healthy lifestyle needed to successfully manage the disease. For example, it can cause changes in eating habits, behavior, and exercise routines. So, not only does stress cause high blood sugar levels—it can impact aspects of daily lifestyle that is critical to successful disease management.
Meditation and Type 2 Diabetes
Research strongly suggests that practicing meditation as part of a healthy lifestyle can transform the way the mind and body respond to stress. It can help lower blood pressure, slowing heart rate, and changing brainwaves into a state of relaxation. Moreover, practicing “mindfulness” allows time to reflect and dedicate time to think about your actions before taking them. Perhaps the likelihood of grabbing a chocolate bar or high-carbohydrate food would diminish, and the chance of exercise would increase with the incorporation of meditation into daily life. Meditation allows time to reflect upon ourselves, and our choices. Those who have a deeper understanding of themselves can actively work to de-stress the mind and body. Having a clear sense of goals can help you better cope with stressful life events and contribute to your successful disease management. Practicing meditation regularly as part of diabetes management can pay off tremendously. Reduced stress and successful diabetes management can lower blood glucose levels, blood pressure, create more self-awareness, better relationships and help mitigate depression and anxiety.