Stress can wreak havoc on your body, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. One negative effect of stress is that it raises your blood sugar levels. Stress will always be a part of life, but stress-reduction techniques can help us bring it down to manageable, healthier levels. Research suggests that practicing meditation helps reduce our body’s response to stress, and in turn, may help us keep our blood sugar levels in check. Whenever meditation comes to mind, most people think of sitting completely still in an uncomfortable position, and in complete silence for an extended period of time. Good news: there are many different ways to cultivate mindfulness and practice meditation without sitting still! We’ve made a list of some great ways to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine, without having to sit still:
1. Just Breathe:
Simple, right? It’s easy to forget this basic, yet powerful way to center ourselves and keep stress levels in check. Try this: inhale and count to 1, exhale and count to 2, repeat this until you get to 10, and then start over. Do this as many times as you can, several times throughout the day. Or try box breathing to really slow down and relax.
If you want a little extra help with practicing your breathing, we like an app called Breathing Zone: Guided Breathing for Mindfulness. All you need to do is breath in and out according to the animated breathing guide.
2. Walking Meditation:
Don’t worry, you can keep your eyes open for this one! This is one of the most basic ways for cultivating mindfulness, and involves focusing closely on the physical experience of walking, and the specific components of each step. Try it without music or other electronic distractions. Start with 10 minutes a day. Here’s a link to walk you through the practice. Get it? 🤣
Remember to record any blood sugar readings you take before and after your walk on the Brook app. By tracking the blood sugar readings around even gentle exercise, you can get a better sense of how this type of activity is impacting your sugars.
3. Mindful Chores:
The dishes need to get done somehow, so why not toss in a little meditation as you scrub away the remnants of a delicious meal?! The idea behind this is to experience every moment of what you are doing, instead of letting your mind wander.
Here are some tips: wash the dishes one at a time, choosing less oily dishes first so the water stays cleaner longer. As you rinse each dish, give it a brief inspection to make sure all debris and oil have been removed, then gently place it onto the drying rack. Repeat this until you’ve completed the dishes, and if you find that you are lost in thought, gently note this while bringing your focus back to the dishes. By simply focusing on the dish in your hand, the sound of the water running, and the smell of your dish soap you’re using, you’re bringing more awareness into your day. The more you practice, the easier it becomes.
4. Music Meditation:
Listening to music we love makes us feel better. Pick an album and listen to it from start to finish, or pick just a few of your favorite songs. While you’re listening, try to really focus in on the lyrics and the beats. Focusing on just one aspect of the music is like focusing on your breath: everything else melts away. If random thoughts come up, gently note this, and bring your attention back to the lyrics.
Pro-tip: don’t multitask during this meditation, it allows you to really focus on the music and get distracted less.
5. Mindful-Practice Cooking:
Next time you cook, focus your attention entirely on the process of preparing your meal. Note the colors of the foods, the texture, the shape of the knife and other cooking utensils. Listen as the knife slices through an onion and the sizzle of it cooking in a pan. Breathe in the aromas and taste the food along the way, paying extra attention to how each ingredient interacts with the others. Notice how heavy or light each ingredient is, and the utensils feel in your hand. Try to pay attention to all 5 senses.
When we incorporate mindful meditation into our daily lives, it becomes ingrained in us and provides us with the tools to respond to stress in healthier ways.
How can you start being more mindful today? Set a goal and get more ideas from the Brook Experts on your Brook app.
NOTE: Always check with your doctor before making changes to your exercise or activity regime.
Chat soon 💬