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How Mindfulness Can Help With Diabetes

The practice of mindfulness meditation is linked to health benefits, including improved sleep, stress management, and even heart and brain health. However, new research suggests benefits for patients with diabetes as well.

Mind-body activities such as meditation have been shown to improve blood sugar control and glycemic control. Incorporating practices such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises into your daily self-care routine is worth considering for those struggling with metabolic health.


Studies Indicating Mindfulness Can Help Diabetes

It has been found that mind-body interventions improve the glycemic control of adults with type 2 diabetes, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published in the Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine in 2022. More than half of people with type 2 diabetes don’t keep their blood sugar levels within the target range, making this a promising finding.

This analysis included 28 studies and focused on changes in HbA1c and fasting blood glucose among patients with type 2 diabetes after they engaged in mind-body practices. HbA1c is a hemoglobin test that reveals average blood sugar levels over the past several months. Fasting blood glucose (FBG) measures one’s blood sugar level after an overnight fast.

All intervention subgroups, including those who participated in mindfulness-based stress reduction, qigong, and yoga, experienced an improvement in HbA1c that was statistically and clinically significant. In this study, yoga shows the greatest impact. Mind-body practices resulted in a reduction of 0.84 percent in participants’ HbA1cs. Yoga led to an average decrease of around 1 percent. Although yoga is better at lowering HbA1c, no significant correlations were found between the frequency of weekly yoga practice and fasting blood glucose change over the research period.


What’s The Best Meditation For Diabetes?

In the analysis described above, yoga significantly lowered blood sugar levels; however, other types of meditation can be beneficial for diabetics, such as sitting quietly and focusing your attention on your breath, sounds, images, mantras, or sensations.

Photo: Tadevosian

How Does Mindfulness Help With Diabetes?

Stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, are thought to affect insulin levels, which regulate blood sugar levels. In addition to helping people reduce stress, mind-body practices can also positively influence hormone levels.


In one study, meditation is associated with an improved patient attitude, health-related behaviors, and coping skills, along with a reduction in anxiety and negative emotions. By becoming more mindful, you can increase your self-awareness, improve your self-care, and improve your quality of life. This can lead to a healthier lifestyle, including eating healthy foods, drinking less alcohol, and getting enough sleep.

Photo: Samborskyi

Is Meditation Helpful In Preventing Diabetes?

The use of mind-body practices is considered to be complementary to a healthy diet, weight management, physical activity, and medication. The benefits of mindfulness and meditation are likely to promote metabolic health, but alone they cannot prevent diabetes.

The following tips can help you start practicing mindfulness and bettering your health:

• Whether you are new to yoga or you have taken a yoga class in the past, start with a beginner class. Keep breathing throughout the class, and link your movements with your breath as much as you can.
• Being active in general and maintaining a healthy diet is a great way to keep up with your overall health.
• The first step to meditating is to find a quiet and calm place to sit or lie down. Close your eyes, breathe in and out slowly and try not to think about anything besides your breath. If your attention is somewhere else, just try to refocus on meditating. Your meditation can last for up to 20 minutes.
• Talk to your doctor about medication that could improve your health.

Concluding the studies on how mindfulness affects diabetes, among patients with type 2 diabetes, mind and body practices significantly improved glycemic control. As a result of the analysis, yoga has the greatest impact on glycemic control, but meditation, qigong, and tai chi also contribute to its effects.