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Diabetes Management
with Mindfulness (DMM) Course

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The mind (emotions and thoughts) has been scientifically proven to influence physiology (physical health and wellbeing). Mind states can either be healthy, neutral or unhealthy. An unhealthy mind state is one in which there is a detrimental impact on ones psychological and physical health.

The expression or suppression of emotions can also impact on how they may influence physical health. The suppression of emotional expression has been linked to both cancer and high blood pressure. In addition anger has been shown to directly affect blood pressure; subsequent studies have found links between anger, hostility and cynicism with increases in coronary heart disease.

The following table indicates some physiological changes as a result of emotions and thoughts that arise during diabetes:

Emotion Physical impact on the body Effect on Diabetes Management

Fear
e.g. "I am scared my diabetes will mean I am unable to have a normal life"

The imbalance of the autonomic nervous system, over active sympathetic nervous system and underactive parasympathetic nervous system.

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased blood glucose level
  • Decreased digestion and other bodily functions

Anger
e.g. "Why me?"

Psychoneuroimmunology research has reported significant interactions between anger and both nervous system and immune system dysfunction.

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased blood glucose level
  • Disrupt immune system
  • Increase susceptibility to infections such as a cold or the flu
  • Longer wound healing

Anxiety
e.g. "How will others react to my diabetes?"

Anxiety causes excessive activation of the freeze-fight-flight response generating and exacerbating many health problems such as cardiovascular disorder, insomnia and gastrointestinal problems.

  • Increases in blood pressure
  • Increases in blood sugar levels
  • Heart attack, heart disease and stroke
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Insomnia

Guilt
e.g. "I should have taken better care of myself"

Guilt can have immunological effects which can cause problems with both the nervous system

  • Increased susceptibility to colds and flu
  • Poor circulation
  • General lack of physical wellbeing

Resentment
e.g. "That person takes worse care of themselves yet it is me with diabetes."

Research on resentment and hostility has shown an association between hostile characteristics and coronary blockages and increased risk of heart attack.

  • Neglecting self-care for diabetes which could increase risk of long term complications.

Shame*
e.g. "I brought diabetes onto myself and every one will recognise that."

(*This is more often associated with type 2 diabetes)

Shame has similar physical manifestations to guilt, most clinical research shows that shame can have more of an impact on health related quality of life and its components; physical wellbeing, function and global well-being, emotional and social well-being, and cognitive functioning

  • General lack of physical wellbeing
  • Increased chances of depression
  • Neglecting of self-care
  • Self-induced isolation
  • Suicidal thoughts

Mindfulness is the art of becoming aware moment-by-moment thoughts, emotions and physical sensations in a non-judgemental way. In our Mindfulness-based series of courses for diabetes, this fundamental understanding is integrated with evidence based applications of mindfulness, compassion and acceptance therapies, transpersonal psychology and emotional intelligence. In particular, research on the stress and relaxation response, the mind/body connection, the soothing and contentment system, diabetes burnout and transpersonal processes associated with life changing events.

Participation in the course will enable one to learn techniques and skills that promote self-awareness, acceptance and self-compassion. Such skills empower you to break-free from the self-perpetuating cyclic cognitive and emotional patterns which are detrimental to the physical health of people with diabetes. Through guided experienced based learning and the cultivation of mindfulness (self-awareness) provide a sense of control and help choose responses to situations rather than react automatically or mindlessly.

This respected fusion of mind and body medicine has proved reliable in the successful treatment of stress, physiological distress, anxiety, panic, depression; medical conditions such as pain, heart disease, blood pressure, stroke and cancer. It is recognised by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the Mental Health Foundation, both have recommended UK GPs to prescribe Mindfulness based treatment rather than drug treatment alternatives for depression (2010).

 

"Diabetes management with Mindfulness DMM” - courses designed by D S Panesar and associates in partnership with Diabetes.co.uk - All rights reserved (2010-2012)