My life is crazy these days—but no matter how busy I am, I schedule a few minutes every day to meditate. That’s because I learned a long time ago that meditating makes me feel happier, calmer, and more focused. In addition, research shows that it lowers stress and inflammation.
And guess what: There’s another big plus to meditating! According to a new study, the mindfulness you achieve by meditating can actually lower your blood glucose.
Why is that such a big deal? Because rising blood glucose levels can lead to obesity and metabolic syndrome, and eventually can result in diabetes. And high levels of blood glucose damage every part of your body, from your eyes to your heart to your brain.
The best way to reduce your blood glucose, of course, is to cut high-carbohydrate, low-nutrition foods like sugar and grains out of your diet and replace them with foods like pastured meats, eggs, vegetables, and healthy fats. You can also lower your blood sugar by exercising and by fasting. But here’s why adding mindful meditation to your arsenal is also a good idea.
In the new study I mentioned, researchers evaluated nearly 400 people using the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). After adjusting their data for a number of factors, they found that people with a high MAAS score were 35 percent more likely to have healthy blood glucose levels than those with low MAAS scores. One reason, they speculate, is that mindfulness gives people a greater sense of control over their lives, leading to healthier habits.
So cultivate your own mindfulness through daily meditation. It may take time to get the hang of it—but when you do, you’ll love the results.
If you haven’t tried mindful meditation, here’s how to do it:
· Find a quiet place where no one will interrupt you.
· Get in a comfortable position in a chair or on the floor. Rest your hands lightly on your thighs.
· Notice how you feel. Are you cool or warm? Are you experiencing any tension or pain in any part of your body? How does your clothing feel against your skin? Are you hungry or full? Are you wide-awake, or tired?
· Notice your surroundings. What do you see, hear, and smell?
· Let your mind wander where it will. At first, it will probably be swirling with thoughts about work, money, or family issues. That’s okay. Simply examine each thought without judging it, and then gently let it go.
· Focus on your breathing. Take deep breaths in, as if you’re filling your abdomen with air. Then slowly let each breath out. Focusing on your breathing helps you stay anchored as you meditate. When your mind wanders, let it—and then return your attention to your breathing.
· Say a word or a sound as you breathe out, if it helps to relax you.
When you’re first starting to meditate, aim for just five or six minutes each day. Keep practicing every day, getting up to 10 or 20 minutes a day, and keep focusing on your breathing because that’s the key to success.
Above all, be patient. At first, you may think that not much is happening. But you’ll soon discover that meditation is powerful medicine for your mind and body—and your blood sugar levels!
Keep Thinking Big & Living Bold!