What is Mindfulness? The Key to Long-Term Health

What is mindfulness? How can it help diabetes?Take a look at this past month of your life. Think about every time you intended to do something positive for your health and didn’t. Think about how many times you have awakened with the motivation to change your eating habits, increase your level of physical activity or do something to reduce your stress levels. Now,  how many times have you done all those positive things for your health? See, it’s never as easy we want it to be.

We think it has everything to do with motivation, or we believe our own excuses to comfort us because why we didn’t do something we believed we should. Motivation, excuses and your current habits are built upon the way you feel about your own situation and yourself as a person.

Maybe you don’t believe you can ever change and feel it’s too late. Maybe you see “becoming healthy” as too much work and would rather just deal with your health issues the way you always have. Maybe you’re comfortable and content with your way of life and don’t see the true benefits of better health. Regardless of your reasons for not achieving your health goals, the main driver is your mind.

Your mind is the reason you slip in and out of diets, it’s the reason your autopilot is set to some comfortable and unhealthy habits, and your mind is the reason you get frustrated when achieving better health seems too hard. It takes more than just mastering healthy eating and exercise to enjoy a long healthy life. Being aware and understanding why we make the decisions we do on a daily basis is key to staying the course and not falling off the proverbial “wagon.” Mindfulness or being mindful is the practice of simple techniques that allow us to take a moment to discover for ourselves exactly why we’re feeling the way we are and why we make the decisions we do.

Being aware and understanding why we make the decisions we do on a daily basis is key to staying the course and not falling off the proverbial “wagon.” Mindfulness or being mindful is the practice of simple techniques that allow us to take a moment to discover for ourselves exactly why we’re feeling the way we are and why we make the decisions we do.

Thousands of studies have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness in general and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in particular, inspiring countless programs to adapt the MBSR model for schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans centers and more.

Most people don’t pay attention to the connections of mind and body on a day-to-day basis. Have you ever felt so stressed that your stomach turned. Maybe you wake up feeling tired and sluggish, and it affects your mental clarity throughout the day or at work. How about those days you’re just not in the present and are constantly thinking of what you did in the past or how things could be in the future? There are so many connections of mind and body that happen throughout your life, and mindfulness will help you understand and control those connections in a positive way.

Mindfulness Is for Everyone!

The techniques of mindfulness help to actively reduce stress levels throughout the day. Everyone lives with a certain amount of stress in their lives that can negatively affect our mental and physical health. We practice many mindfulness techniques in the Complete Wellness Program so we can determine exactly where the stress is coming from and how to counter it on a daily basis.

Some of the poor health decisions we all make on a daily basis can be related to the amount of stress in our lives. For instance, have you ever left a stressful day of work, didn’t feel like cooking something healthy and just went out and splurged on some comfort food like a burger, fries and soda? How about those times you’ve been stressed out from a relationship with a significant other or family and binged on a whole pint of ice cream?

Everyone goes through similar situations and reacts in different ways. The goal of mindfulness techniques is to give your mind a moment to catch up and react more positively to stress.

When we don’t take that time to catch up, we call it living on autopilot. This essentially means that we do things without thinking about them. Have you ever eaten a whole bag of chips, a whole pint of ice cream or even a whole pizza without even thinking about it? One minute you’re just taking one bite, and next thing you know it’s all gone. This is what happens when we live our lives on autopilot. It tends to override the bursts of motivation we get to do things that benefit our health and wellbeing. Combine autopilot with stress, and you can see the negative health cycle can take over our lives.

How Mindfulness Can Help Manage Diabetes

Unfortunately, when that negative health cycle goes too far, it leads to health complications and diseases like diabetes. Whether you have type 2 or pre-diabetes, mindfulness can help you discover exactly why you do what you do on a daily basis. This can even help for people with type 1!

The ability to use the techniques to reveal what triggers binge eating, eating unhealthy foods or to make better decisions when out of the house can help you bring your blood sugar levels down and stabilize them within a normal range.

The techniques of mindfulness are to actively reduce stress levels throughout the day. Everyone lives with a certain amount of stress in their lives that negatively affects our mental and physical health. For those with diabetes, it’s that much more important to determine what the stressors are in your life and handle them in a more positive way.

The stress pitfalls that occur on a daily basis will always try to steer you off course, but by being mindful you can stay on course and move toward better health. And that is what this is all about, doing the right things for your health more often than not is the key to becoming healthy. You never have to be perfect to be “healthy.”

Here are just some of the simple techniques our members use to combat diabetes

  • Mindful Breathing: A great way to take a moment for yourself, focus solely on deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth for five minutes a day to help reduce stress. Standing or sitting, inside or outside, will work. Just focus on your breathing and relax your mind.
  • Mindful Observation: Focusing your mind on an object, usually in nature, will allow you to take your mind away from the things that are stressing you out in the present moment. Doing this for five minutes a day even when not overly stressed allows you to actively keep stress levels down.
  • Mindful Awareness: Staying aware of the things you do on a daily basis helps you feel more connected with the decisions you make. Understanding where feelings, urges and cravings come from will help you to allow them to flow through you and not affect you.

The combination of proactive stress relief and being more aware of the decisions we make help us to keep the motivation for a healthier life flowing. “Falling off the wagon” only happens when we stop thinking and let old habits take over.

To stop those old habits in their tracks, take a moment for yourself, think through the decisions you’re making and how they are impacting your health. Use the techniques above and schedule them into your daily routine to ensure you stick with the healthier choices you’re making.

If you’d like to learn more about mindfulness and how to use it to help manage your diabetes, we have an entire mini-course on it inside the Complete Wellness Membership!

Check out how we use these mindfulness techniques in the Complete Wellness Program to help people with type 2 and pre-diabetes reverse their diagnosis… just like Holly and George did!

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-9-55-25-am

Want results like these? Click here to learn more about the Complete Wellness Program and join us today!

 

Kyle Jensen is the Wellness Coach at Smart Diabetes Solutions. After being overweight and unhealthy for too long, he took action and found his way back to great health through natural and simple healthy habits. He now spends his time coaching members of the 21 Day Jumpstart Challenge and Complete Wellness Program.

Comments