July 19, 2021

How to Quiet Your Mind | Mental Health Matters

Your mental health is equally important as your physical health. Let's review methods one can use to reduce anxiety, lessen the feelings of stress, and quiet the mind.

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Home / Living with Diabetes / How to Quiet Your Mind | Mental Health Matters

If you follow US MED, you know we talk a lot about physical health, which makes sense since we focus on helping people with diabetes. Physical health is important, but it’s essential to take good care of your mental health, too. Here, we’d like to share some expert advice on reducing anxiety by quieting your mind. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by juggling diabetes management with the stress of everyday life, this is the article for you!

Why Is It So Important To Quiet Your Mind?

It can be hard to go even a minute or two without thinking about what you’re currently dealing with or what the future holds in today’s fast-paced world. But if you have diabetes, fears about your ability to handle this condition may lead to a vicious cycle. The fight-or-flight response caused by stress can cause glucose levels to rise in your bloodstream. In turn, these increased blood glucose levels can make managing diabetes more difficult, adding to your diabetes-related stress. So, while it may sound nearly impossible, carving out some time to get away from it all should be among your top priorities.

“Americans suffer from a case of ADD. With technology, economic pressures, work, and family, it’s impossible to be on top of everything and it’s upsetting our natural balance,” Victor Davich - the author of 8-Minute Meditation: Quiet Your Mind, Change Your Life - said in an interview for Fast Company.

As the name of Davich’s book suggests, one way to work towards this goal is with meditation. According to Davich, the purpose of meditation isn’t to stop your brain from thinking. Instead, he encouraged people to reach a state of mindfulness, where they can observe and consider their thoughts without emotional attachment.

That said, meditation isn’t the only thing you can do to get your mind off life. Read on for additional tips that might help to quiet your mind.

Breathe to Center Yourself

If you’re already doing this, good job! (If you’re not doing this, you have bigger problems than anxiety to deal with.) Seriously, though, deep breathing is a fantastic way to get your mind off what’s bothering you.

When you want to quiet your mind, place a hand on your stomach and take deep, slow breaths. Focus on how your hand rises as you breathe in and falls as you breathe out. Aim to take about six breaths a minute while doing this.

Watch Fish Swim for a Moment of Zen

Have you ever felt at ease while watching fish swim around a tank? If so, you’re not alone.

One study showed that people’s blood pressure levels and heart rates fell while observing fish in an aquarium. You can benefit from this effect by setting up an aquarium of your own or visiting a public aquarium if you happen to have one nearby.

Exercise to Improve Your Mood

The benefits that exercise has on physical health are well-known, but did you know that getting active can also boost your mood? That’s because exercising can cause your brain to release endorphins, improving your state of mind (along with other positive effects).

You can begin to experience these perks after just five minutes of aerobic exercise. If you have diabetes and haven’t been physically active in a while, though, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about beginning an exercise routine.

Listen to Music to Feel at Peace

How-to-Find-Peace-of-MindHearing music you enjoy doesn’t just sound good - it feels good, too! Listening to music can slow down activity in your brain’s amygdala, which plays a role in expressing fear.

The next time you feel on edge about something, try listening closely to some music. By focusing on this, you’ll literally “tune out” less pleasant thoughts!

Help Someone to Create a Connection

Have you been feeling isolated and anxious? Try doing something nice for another person: it can activate portions of your brain dealing with happiness and interpersonal connection.

Surprisingly enough, the health benefits of altruism might even go beyond helping you feel better. Acts of kindness could have a positive effect on your heart and immune system.

Go Outdoors to Reduce StressMotivational-outdoor-stress-release

When the going gets tough, the tough get going...outside! Getting out of the house can have many positive effects on your mental state, including reduced stress.

Along with that, being in the natural world can improve your ability to focus. One study found that children with ADHD showed improved concentration after spending just 20

minutes outside.

Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation

If you’re having trouble falling asleep, progressive muscle relaxation might help. Though this process is simple, it can have profound benefits.

All you have to do is choose a part of your body, keep it tense for a few seconds, and then relax it for a few more seconds. Then, keep going until your whole body is relaxed!

Hang Out with a Dog for Relaxationdiabetic-alert-service-dogs-everything-you-should-know

They’re known as “man’s best friend” for a good reason, after all. Playing with dogs can lower your stress hormones! But that's not even close to all that a furry friend can provide: pets provide companionship, are intuitive and will provide comfort, ease your anxiety, and show you the joys of living in the moment! Perhaps most importantly, though, a dog can add real joy and unconditional love to your life.

Not a dog person? No worries - playing with a dog, cat, or other pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.

Use Guided Imagery to Focus on the Positive

If you’re dealing with fears about the future, you already know just how powerful your imagination is. Take that imagination and use it instead to transport your mind to a calming locale. This method is called guided imagery or visualization and is an excellent way to manage your stress.

This process involves imagining a peaceful place of your choice and focusing on the details. For example create a scenario in your mind where you are walking through a field of flowers or feeling the calm ocean lapping at your toes. To get started, look for smart device apps or audio recordings dealing with guided imagery.

Practice Hatha Yoga to Reduce Anxiety

Yoga-for-stress-reliefYoga can improve your flexibility and strength, but that’s not all it can do! Hatha yoga (which is an umbrellas term for yoga that combines breathing techniques and poses) has been specifically researched for its health benefits. That study found that in addition to greater strength and flexibility, practitioners of hatha yoga experience fewer anxiety symptoms.

If you can make a habit of doing yoga, you’ll see even more benefits related to reduced stress. Furthermore, joining a class will allow you to meet new people.

Get Creative and Express Yourself

Do you remember how fun arts and crafts time was back in elementary school? Filling out coloring books, putting together a scrapbook, and other activities along these lines can help you find inner peace.

One caveat: if you’re a perfectionist by nature, it’s important not to focus on the end result of your creative process. In this case, the destination isn’t what matters: it’s the journey that counts.

Take a Break to Ease Work Tension

Being a workaholic isn’t always a bad thing, but it has some drawbacks. If you’re feeling overworked - or just stressed out - take at least a five-minute break.

You can use this time to stretch your muscles, talk to friends, or even do nothing at all. Whatever you end up doing, you’ll appreciate this chance to clear your mind.

Dig in the Dirt to Focus on the Small Joys of Nature

Gardening combines two tips that have already made an appearance in this article. When you’re taking care of a garden, you’re getting outside and getting some physical activity.

However, the benefits might not stop there. Surprisingly enough, microorganisms in the soil itself might improve your state of mind!

Consider Biofeedback

Biofeedback is a technique that can assist you in dealing with stress directly. You’ll be hooked up to a computer displaying your brainwaves, and a therapist will help you learn how to control reactions to stress.

Biofeedback takes more time and effort than some of the strategies listed here. If you’ve been dealing with stress for a long time, though, it can be beneficial in the long run.

Simplify Your Diabetes Supply Needs

By now, you’ve hopefully found at least one or two tips on clearing your mind that should work for you the next time you run into stress. But in some cases, you can also get rid of anxiety by tackling problems head-on, including issues related to diabetes supplies.
If you’ve ever felt nervous about the prospect of managing your diabetes supply needs, US MED can help. Our automatic reorder reminders will ensure you won’t miss a refill, and you can rest easy knowing we have a 96% patient satisfaction rating. Take a look at our product catalog today!

Shirley DeLeon Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist

Medical Review by Shirley DeLeon, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

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