When managing an illness like diabetes, there are many so many things you have to think about, and so many things you need to do just to keep yourself functioning and going throughout the day. Especially when you have an illness like diabetes, that is a very high-maintenance disease, where a lot of your time is taken up by treatment and other self-managing requirements. There’s a whole list of requirements and self-managing techniques, all of which you need to do, just to keep yourself feeling good and keep yourself functioning. But, is one of them spirituality? And, what is the Importance of Spirituality in Managing Diabetes?

Well today, we’re going to be exploring the question “how important is spirituality when dealing with and managing your diabetes?”

But, let’s talk a little bit about the disease first before going into details of the importance of spirituality in managing diabetes.

Written by Shani Liyanage, an Australia-base Registered Healthcare Practitioner with a Masters qualification from the University of Newcastle (Australia) and with decades of hands-on experience working for hospitals and in aged-care.

 

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease where a person’s immune system destroys the cells in their pancreas that make insulin, resulting in too much ‘sugar’ in their blood.

There are 3 different types of diabetes.

  • Type 1, which is where your pancreas produces very little insulin, or sometimes none at all.
  • Type 2, which is where your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or it resists insulin.
  • And finally, Prediabetes, which is when your blood sugar is high, but not it’s not high enough to be full-on type 2 diabetes. However, without some changes made in your life to lower your blood sugar, it is likely to become type 2 diabetes, most likely within 10 years.

Type 1 is classified as an autoimmune disease, while there is some controversy as to whether type 2 is or not.

Diabetes Self-management

Diabetes self-management includes the below.

  • Taking any medicines, you’re prescribed, whether it’s an oral medicine or insulin

But how important is spirituality when dealing with and managing your diabetes? Let’s explore that now.

Before that, I think knowing what’s spirituality for you is important.

What is Spirituality?

Depending on your definition of spirituality, it can affect you greatly, or not at all, based on what you do or what you think, that, to you, is classified as spirituality.

Spirituality can be just keeping a positive mindset. It can be keeping your spirits up, remaining happy and keeping a smile on your face even during the hardest times.

It can be having faith that something will happen or having faith in something bigger than yourself. It can be believing that God
has it all under control, and fully trusting in him…etc.

It can be a lot of things, and everyone has a different idea of what spirituality is, and have it can impact and potentially help them.

But in my experience, if you just keep your head held high, you keep your spirits up, and you find ways to keep a positive mindset and remain as happy as you possibly can while dealing with this, or anything like this it can make all the difference in the world.

Importance of Spirituality in Managing an Illness

There’s a lot of controversy on topics like this. Pretty much any topic that includes the subject of spirituality.

But, as someone who manages a handful of chronic illnesses, I can tell you that it often gets you down, and for most people, especially if you’re young and haven’t had a full chance to live your life yet, you end up developing depression, and in some cases, you develop anxiety as well. Spirituality is something that is really important when you’re battling those types of illnesses.

It can help to improve the disease fairly quick if you’re the type of person who has faith. If you tend to have a negative mindset, you tend to stay where you’re at, as the mind is one of the most powerful things in this world. If you believe something enough, it’s possible it can happen, and it can change your world. So if you stay positive, even when it’s hard, and keep faith things will work out, it’s not definite. However, it is more likely that things will pick up and becomes easier to manage over time.

If you believe you won’t get better or things won’t work out, and you don’t try to lift your spirits or find ways to keep a smile on your face, even though these hard times of managing your illness, your body will respond to those thoughts and that mindset by keeping you right where you are.

If you believe things won’t get better, they probably won’t. If you believe things will get better, and become manageable, it’s likely they will.

This isn’t always the case, though. Sometimes, you can have all the faith in the world, but it doesn’t make much of a difference. Everybody’s experience with faith is different, but its situations like I’ve explained where it’s obvious mindset has a lot to do with what happens to you.

Still, the fact is that some people have faith and nothing really happens makes you wonder if the people who do get better have faith at all. And, if spirituality actually has anything to do with it, or if there’s a scientific reason you got better.

Unfortunately, this cannot be proved or disproved, as there’s no way to test this theory that would be reliable and give close to 100% accurate results. However, everybody’s viewpoint is different, and the people that do have faith and access their spirituality to help heal them usually have different experiences from each other. Still, for the majority of people, it seems to work. It at least seems to work an awful lot more than it fails.

Spirituality and Diabetes

Spirituality is, in a way, it’s own type of medicine. If you have faith, trust that you’re okay, and believe things will get better, or at least become more manageable in some cases (usually in cases of chronic illness, just like diabetes), a lot of the time, they will.

Whether it’s just the power of your mind, when you change your state of mind, that causes this positive change, or there is an actual scientific reason causing the change, people who do have positive mindsets tend to at least feel better quicker, and tend to feel more at peace with their illness.

So even if you don’t get better, even if it doesn’t cure you, or at least lower the severity of your symptoms, basically doing nothing that wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t found and practiced spirituality. It should at least relax you a bit, and it should make it easier to deal with and manage, as it changes your mindset and keeps your spirits up, making you not as stressed and just making it easier to deal with and manage in general.

Most importantly, it might also help you come to terms with your diabetes, which can also, on its own, help it becomes easier to manage.

Conclusion

In conclusion, spirituality is something that affects everyone differently. But when it comes to the mental health side of having a chronic illness such as diabetes, it can change your world.

Having an illness, especially something like diabetes, can take quite an emotional and mental toll on you, in addition to the physical toll it takes. In some cases, spirituality can lift you up, and it can change your life.

It can help you accept your illness and come to terms with being sick, it can help you manage your chronic illness, and it can rid you of depression and anxiety, calming any fears, sadness, or numbness you might feel from it, making it very important to some.

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