There has been a paradigm shift in way diabetes has been managed over the past few decades, right from simple instructions such as “avoid sugar” and take one’s medicines on time to a much comprehensive approach that involves exercise, reduction in stress and the need to have personalised meal plans.
Diabetes management guidelines, as recommended by the American Diabetes Association, reflects a more extensive style that involves looking at the well-being of the person as a whole and not just the presence of a specific health condition. This has promoted a more comprehensive approach to wellness that could push diabetes self-care efforts to a completely different level.
“For the part can never be well unless the whole is well.” – Socrates.
There is an Indian proverb that states that everyone is like a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual one. To feel complete, one must spend equal amount of time in each of these four rooms every day. For example, getting adequate rest and eating quality food can satisfy physical needs; learning about our surrounding environment and putting it to use would enrich our minds; understanding and dealing with our feelings can help meet our emotional needs. In a similar manner, we must address our spiritual needs.
So what is spirituality? Spirituality may not necessarily mean being involved with any organized religion. It is taking the time to contemplate our place in the order of things, paying attention on what gives life its meaning. It could be anything..such as a community, social group or just your family. Spirituality could be viewed as a part of a journey that leads you toward being a complete person.
Similarly, diabetes care now addresses the four areas that need attention in one’s life. For example, insulin and medications for diabetes can help your body. Diabetes counsellors can teach you how to monitor blood glucose and exercise. Nutritionist can suggest personalized meal plans. Also, a diabetes care team can teach you to manage stress and recognize the warning signs of depression to maintain good emotional health. When all the areas of our lives are addressed, we move closer to a comprehensive form of diabetes management.
Treating the body as a whole helps enhance the body’s natural healing ability. Recent studies in the domain of mind/body medicine (psycho-neuroimmunology) reveal that the mind can and does have a profound impact on the body. Meditation and relaxation techniques can contribute to better health and improve medical outcomes.
It is time that we see spirituality in a new limelight and uncover the positive influence of the mind in the process of building good health.