One of our Diabetic South Africans community members, Krsangi Radhe, has offered to write us a series of articles on mindfulness for diabetes. If you can reduce your stress and remain present, you can improve your blood sugar. Krsangi is the founder of Sankalpa Coaching, an NLP practitioner, life coach, time-line therapist and educator in the public sector.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness means being present, being in the moment. This is important in living our life to the fullest. We so often worry about what the future holds (and rightfully so) yet the downside of that is actually missing out on enjoying the present relationships and moments in life – and becoming way too consumed with matters of the future, that we miss out on the ‘here and now’.
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, our fear and anxiety has been increased ten-fold. This is especially true for those with underlying health concerns. This extreme anxiety can sometimes cause panic and stressful situations within our mind and have an adverse affect on our physical well-being and our relationship with those closest to us. Keeping focused on the present is a gift that we can give ourselves today.
Being mindful means to embrace the current – live in the moment without focusing too far ahead.
Mindfulness for diabetes
Here are a few simple and practical ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life:
Focus on what you can control
Our stress often stems from focusing on matters out of our control. When you feel stressed and anxious, look at whether you are in control of the situation or whether the matter rests elsewhere.
Let us look at the COVID-19 pandemic and how we respond to it. Yes, we worry about what tomorrow holds and we look at stats, infection rates and trends locally and around the world. So often this can becoming overwhelming, which can lead to a constant feeling of stress and anxiety.
Let us spin this scenario around. Rather than focusing on the numbers that are presented to you in the media, look at how you can bring about safety within your life and your home. Focus on your safety precautions – ensuring that you follow the guidelines as set out by the World Health Organisation. Focus on you and how you can be safe!
By doing this you are shifting the focus from something you cannot control (statistics of infections) to something you can control (your personal safety measures to keep you safe and healthy).
Ground yourself in the present
When you feel your thoughts are running away, take a deep breath and ground yourself in the present moment. Literally STOP what you are doing. Remind yourself where you are. This can mean taking a step back – spending a moment or two just feeling grounded. Drink some water. Be physically present.
Stop look listen
I love this technique as it works wonders.
STOP – stop your thoughts – identify when you are falling into this trap!
LOOK – look at your surroundings. Be present.
LISTEN – listen to your emotions. Connect with your inner feelings.
STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN helps you to remain focused and ground yourself in the present.
Yoga / Meditation
This is an age-old method of creating inner calm and peace. Yoga is not only great for the physical body but also brings great calm to the mind (here are some tips for yoga and diabetes). Meditation can be performed through silent space (dedicated time within the day). Many choose to start the day by fitting in some yoga or meditation in order to create a wonderful calm feeling to set the tone for the rest of the day. This helps – especially at sunrise. The suns energy (surya) is a powerful tool to regain your focus and draw from the positive energy of the sun’s rays, which bring hope and warmth. This can be done within your home, individually or with your family. Use this as a simple way to introduce mindfulness to children.
A powerful and wonderful inclusion in your life – mindful eating will help keep you healthy. Being aware of what we eat, and how food affects our physical and mental health is important. Binge eating often stems from the lack of mindfulness around your food consumption. Being mindful of what you eat, your portion sizes, times to eat and water intake can really bring about overall mental and physical balance.
Make the change
Being mindful may be challenging at the beginning. But with practice, it will become second nature and you will feel a world of difference. Just being focused on the present, through being conscious and present will change the way you see the world.
Go on try it, you can do it!
Krsangi Radhe is the founder of Sankalpa Coaching – a coaching practice based in Durban. She consults locally and internationally (via online platforms) and can be reached on email@example.com. www.sankalpacoaching.co.za