Listen to Dr. Anup’s Podcast about the Link Between Depression and Diabetes

 

Last week, I looked at a study that found depression can raise the risk of diabetes by 60%.1DailyMail.co.uk. Borland, Sophie. “People with depression are 60% more likely to develop diabetes.” The Daily Mail. June 27, 2016. Online article accessed August 30, 2016. The link between depression and diabetes is often the behavioral change that accompanies depression.2Reuters.com. Gobel, Reyna. “Self-compassion may help diabetics control their disease.” Reuters Health. July 1, 2016. Online article accessed August 30, 2016.

Depression often involves lack of motivation to undertake healthy behaviors, like exercising, socializing, preparing food, doing chores, and taking steps toward our dreams. A large portion of people who experience depression turn to over-eating, eating more sweets, and eating heavy and undigestable foods. These cravings are as much associated with emotional distress as they are related to adrenal stress.

Adrenal stress is a result of depression and “the daily struggle.” Every day is a fight against the world’s oppression or your own demons. Adrenal stress activates fight-or-flight mechanisms, which produce digestive cravings in some individuals. Adrenal stress and adrenal fatigue lead to weight gain, and that raises the risk of diabetes.

So I’d like to share with you a daily exercise that helped me to break through my own struggle with depression. I came across another study that found the benefit of self-compassion in fighting depression and diabetes.3ADA.org. Friis, AM, et al. “Kindness Matters: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mindful Self-Compassion Intervention Improves Depression, Distress, and HbA1c Among Patients with Diabetes.” American Diabetes Association. June 20, 2016. Online article accessed August 30, 2016.

The exercise I am sharing is a kind of mindfulness practice that invokes the power of gratitude and self-compassion. Oddly enough, I learned this from a patient who had used it to overcome anger. He was successful using this technique, and I applied it to overcome the lethargy of depression.

Every morning when I awoke, I listened for what was going through my mind. Whatever, it was, I would say to myself, “I understand, and I have a plan.” Then, I would take my journal and write out three things:

  1. Three to five things for which I am grateful;
  2. Three things that are working well for me; and
  3. Two things I am working on.
A Link Between Depression and Diabetes

Listen to what nature has to say when making your daily lists.

First, take the time to feel every gratitude. Gratitude is the engine that drives this vehicle; it is both inspiring and motivating at once. In turn, it will open the doors of imagination and creativity in your mind, and it will improve your skills of self-compassion and problem-solving.

Then, take time to notice three major things that are working. Sometimes, you might repeat from your gratitude list, and that’s okay. These three things keep us alive, safe, connected, loved, and interested in living.

And finally, observe the two desires that you would like to fulfill today. These should be two steps you would like to take in a positive and beneficial direction to improve your life. Many days, it will be things like exercise; other days, it might be more specific—“work on being more grateful,” “work on forgiveness,” “cooking fresh at home,” or “cleaning up the bedroom.”

Also, think about how can you use the “what’s working” list to help you to achieve your goals for the day. Ask yourself, What can I look forward to when I have accomplished these things?

Many days and weeks, we will repeat what we’re working on. This is fine because every day, there is new curiosity to understand the problem as well as new clarity to execute and solve the problem. In this way, we accomplish more than before. And the more we accomplish, the more excitement and motivation we can access, the more creative we feel, and the more we accomplish. Thus, the cycle of creativity continues.

And that’s the GOOD NEWS!

The struggle, the fight experienced by a depressed person is best treated through a clinical setting. But using self-motivating tools can help overcome mental-emotional obstacles. They create new brain patterns and create permanent behavioral change. This allows people to make better choices and have the mental-emotional reserves to follow through with those choices.

References   [ + ]

1. DailyMail.co.uk. Borland, Sophie. “People with depression are 60% more likely to develop diabetes.” The Daily Mail. June 27, 2016. Online article accessed August 30, 2016.
2. Reuters.com. Gobel, Reyna. “Self-compassion may help diabetics control their disease.” Reuters Health. July 1, 2016. Online article accessed August 30, 2016.
3. ADA.org. Friis, AM, et al. “Kindness Matters: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mindful Self-Compassion Intervention Improves Depression, Distress, and HbA1c Among Patients with Diabetes.” American Diabetes Association. June 20, 2016. Online article accessed August 30, 2016.