In another win for mindfulness, a new study has found a link between healthier blood glucose levels and individuals who practiced everyday mindfulness.
This new information raises more questions about what mindfulness can do for you, and provides some potential therapeutic or intervention possibilities for patients at risk for type 2 diabetes.
Everyday mindfulness linked to glucose levels
Mindfulness has to do with being aware of your thoughts and feelings within the present moment. It is an active process of attention and living in the moment, and those who practice mindfulness meditation focus on improving this ability. “Everyday” mindfulness refers to the tendency to be aware of your thoughts and feelings regularly.
The findings come from a study where the investigators were interested in mindfulness and cardiovascular health. Participants were evaluated on physiological and psychological tests including glucose tests and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, which is a questionnaire that measures dispositional mindfulness. Other aspects of their health were recorded as well, including body-mass index, blood pressure, perceived stress, sense of control, smoking, depression, and education.
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There were 399 volunteers, and analysis showed that participants with more mindfulness were 20% less likely to have type 2 diabetes. The results were not statistically significant with the size of the study, but it raises questions that will likely be pursued further.
It is important to note that the link was an association but the explanation remains mysterious. When analyzing potential underlying factors of the link between healthy blood sugar and mindfulness, analysis of the data pointed out lower obesity risk and sense of control also being associated with mindfulness.
Mindfulness and health
What does this connection mean? The researchers hypothesize that a more mindful disposition could aid in making healthier decisions – choosing lower calorie food, eating only when hungry, and sticking to diets. It may also aid in motivation for exercise and keeping to goals.
Mindfulness has been linked to increased focus, lowered stress, and overall improved health. Since stress can be a factor in unhealthy eating, and high blood glucose has been implicated in unhealthy stress responses, mindfulness practices could make a lot of sense as intervention.