A study has just been published in the journal Obesity which suggests that the art of mindfulness could help reduce blood sugar levels.
Mindfulness can help menopause symptoms
This research has been warmly welcomed by Miss Tania Adib, consultant gynaecologist at Twenty-five Harley Street, and a menopause expert. The menopause is a time when many women find their weight levels creep up.
Miss Adib, who teaches women mindful techniques alongside more conventional therapies to help reduce menopause symptoms says she's not surprised at the findings, as she has observed a positive effect on her patients' wellbeing after introducing mindfulness alongside more conventional therapies.
Miss Adib comments: "Of course, exercising and a good diet will make stress less acutely felt - and this will have a positive effect on your health.
"Simply focusing on your breathing for five minutes can have a positive effect on how you feel. Just slow down and be present in yourself. Mindfulness, yoga, breathing all help give a sense of objectivity so physical symptoms, like hot flushes, aren't so keenly felt."
Mindfulness decreases stress
In the Obesity study, 86 women randomly assigned to 8 weeks of mindfulness-based stress reduction or health education
The mindfulness group reported increased mindfulness and decreased stress compared with health education.
It also appeared it had a positive effect on their health, as their fasting blood sugar levels decreased.
The women who had the health education did not report these benefits.
Blood sugar levels lowered
After this they were tracked for four months. While the mindful group significantly reduced stress and tests revealed beneficial effects on blood sugar levels, there were no significant changes in blood pressure, weight, or insulin resistance.
Dr.Nazia Raja-Khan reported: "Our study suggests that mindfulness-based stress reduction lowers perceived stress and blood sugar in women with overweight or obesity. This research has wider implications regarding the potential role of MBSR in the prevention and treatment of diabetes in patients with obesity."
Harness the power of mindfulness
So, what are the practical ways we can harness mindfulness into our lives?
- Make sure your day begins mindfully. Set an intention to be mindful as you wake each morning. Check into your body, how does it feel? Are there any aches? Observe them. Do not judge them or attach emotion, but notice them and move on.
- When you're preparing a meal and eating, put your full attention on to each task. From measuring out the ingredients, to cooking, to putting each forkful of food in your mouth. What does the texture feel like? The taste: focus on it. Can you distinguish each individual flavour.
- Out walking? Take a deep breath, and simply place one foot in front of the other, but open your eyes and view the world. Feel the breeze on your cheek, the sensation of your foot planting its self on the pavement one step at a time.
- Do worries invade your thoughts? Don't try and stop them, or fret about them. …Each time you become aware of an anxiety-provoking thought, or a feeling, turning your attention towards it, acknowledge it, give it a label and simply accept it.
Miss Tania Adib is a consultant gynaecologist and specialist in helping women to manage menopause.
Book an appointment with one of the doctors at Twenty-five Harley Street Day Clinic, 25 Harley Street, Marylebone London W1G 9QW. Telephone 020 3883 9525, or email [email protected]. Visit 25harleystreet.co.uk
The time of a woman’s life when her ovaries stop releasing an egg (ovum) on a monthly cycle, and her periods ceaseFull medical glossary