When you are living with a chronic illness like diabetes, a wide variety of emotions can percolate at any time. Your emotional life is key to your physical well-being, and vice-versa, so being aware of how you're "being" with your diabetes is important to consider.
Mindfulness practices can help to reduce stress, keep your awareness in the present moment, and even help to manage blood sugars, blood pressure, and other physiological markers impacted by stress. This article discusses a Mindulness-Based Diabetes Management (MBDM) course that is based on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) work pioneered by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn.
This type of paying attention to your condition can elucidate many challenges, feelings, sensations, and awareness that can boost your ability to manage your diabetes with equanimity and optimal self-care. Your mind can be your ally or your friend, and mindfulness can assist it in more regularly being the latter.
Present Moment Awareness
When we worry about the future or delve into rumination over the past, we can quickly get caught in the unhealthy quagmires of regret (for the past) and worry (for the future). As we strive to maintain present moment awareness, we stay focused on what is before us, rather than diving into the past (which we can't fix) or jumping into the future (which we can't really control).
Rather than worry about what your blood sugar may be tomorrow, why not stay focused on the present and how to best control it today? Instead of ruminating and worrying about how to talk to your doctor about an upcoming diagnostic exam, write down your concerns and send them in advance of your appointment. If you can take that worry off your plate—even if only for a few moments, hours, or days—it's worth doing in order to decrease your stress, which you know will only negatively impact your blood sugar levels, anyway.
Being in the present focuses you on the here and now, your family, your loved ones, your work, your health, and your life in this moment.
Being and Acceptance
Being with diabetes, involves being in the present, and accepting what is. Was your blood sugar a little high last night? Worry and regret won't get you anywhere, but accepting what is, and coupling that acceptance with inspired action, can help to turn the vehicle of your diabetes onto a new, healthier track.
Self-acceptance can be difficult, but practicing self-acceptance and being with what is can help you to be in the present moment, and be your truest self. We humans have a tendency to dwell on the past and project into the future, but if you can turn that around as often as possible, your health will receive a boost based on the power of your mind, your intention, and your ability to be in the present while making healthy choices for the future.