• Diabetes is a life-threatening illness that causes strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure, and blindness. Every year, 1.5 million Americans learn they have the illness. For those people, the news can shock, leaving them with feelings of denial, anger, and depression. Not only is appropriate medical treatment critical, but research shows that dealing with emotional issues is also important.

    The Research

    A 2018 study from the Department of Community Health at the Technical Institute of Karbala in Iraq looked at 856 diabetic students and found that awareness, knowledge, attitude, and practice play an important role in the successful treatment of the illness. Other studies suggest that modalities that encourage relaxation may also be helpful. In other words, coping with negative emotions may improve the mental and physical health of diabetics.

    Reducing Stress  

    The fight-or-flight response is the body’s way of escaping danger.  Blood pressure goes up, heart rate increases, and muscles tense. The body releases fats, proteins, and glucose to build energy to fight, and digestion slows down. This hyper-alert state leads to physical, emotional, and mental problems. Practices like the ones below reduce stress hormones and decrease the effect of stress on mental, physical, and emotional health:

    • Meditating
    • Getting a massage
    • Doing yoga or qigong
    • Listening to music
    • Journaling
    • Practicing neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques
    • Learning cognitive-behavioral techniques

    and cognitive-behavioral therapy reduce stress and make it easier to communicate with others, but they also help to stop the negative chatter going on inside a person’s head. Diabetics may benefit from stress reduction in more ways than one. Studies show that anxiety causes blood sugar levels to go up in some people. High glucose levels, in turn, make it harder to maintain a healthy routine that monitors diet and exercise.

    Finding Support

    The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation says support groups can help diabetics feel understood, encourage them, and give them a way to share knowledge, feelings, and hope. Groups may be structured or unstructured, led by medical professionals or by laymen, and online or local. Online, groups cater to specific interests, such as parents of diabetic children and senior citizens. This to ten reviewed groups can break the ice and make it easier to reach out for support.  

    Benefits of support groups include the following:

    • Improving coping skills
    • Reducing distress, fatigue, anxiety or depression
    • Being able to share feelings
    • Staying motivated
    • Gaining a sense of control
    • Understanding diabetes and its effects
    • Gaining a sense of control
    • Getting feedback from other diabetics
    • Learning about available resources

    Harnessing the Subconscious Mind

    Researchers from Carnegie-Mellon University discovered the keeps working on a problem even after thoughts turn to another task. This may work on the same principle as “sleeping” on a problem before making a decision.

    In the study, scientists recruited 27 healthy adults to undergo magnetic resonance testing, also known as MRI testing, while completing mental tasks. Participants learned about cars while their brains were being scanned. Researchers gave each person a series of numbers to memorize before showing them information about cars. This was done to distract them and keep them from thinking about the cars. The brain scans showed the prefrontal and visual parts of the brain that handle learning and decision-making kept working even when subjects were focusing on cars. This means that the subconscious mind continues to work on problems even when the conscious mind is unaware and focused on something else.

    Results showed that people who were distracted by the numbers made better decisions when choosing the best cars that those who were not. Could the subconscious mind be healing the body when the brain moves on to thoughts other than illness? If so, the subconscious may have the ability to orchestrate healing when given the right programming.

    Putting It All Together

    The subconscious mind plays a major role in health,and feeding it the right thoughts facilitates recovery even when no other actions are being taken. Relaxing, finding support, and caring for the subconscious may be the key to well-being for diabetics.


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