Those who score high on mindfulness — the ability of being aware of one’s current thoughts and feelings — are significantly more likely than people with low scores to have healthy glucose levels, suggests new research. Elevated glucose levels may increase risk of Type-2 diabetes. The researchers also sought to identify factors that might explain the connection they saw between higher mindfulness and healthier glucose levels.
Their analysis of the data showed that obesity risk (mindful people are less likely to be obese) and sense of control (mindful people are more likely to believe they can change many of the important things in their life) both contribute to the link. “This study demonstrated a significant association of dispositional mindfulness with glucose regulation, and provided novel evidence that obesity and sense of control may serve as potential mediators of this association,” said the study led by Eric Loucks, assistant professor at Brown University School of Public Health in Rhode Island, US.
“As mindfulness is likely a modifiable trait, this study provides preliminary evidence for a fairly novel and modifiable potential determinant of diabetes risk,” Loucks noted. The study was published in the American Journal of Health Behavior.
The researchers measured health indicators including dispositional mindfulness and blood glucose in almost 400 people. The study used the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) — a 15-item questionnaire — to assess dispositional mindfulness on a 1 to 7 scale.
The researchers found that people with high MAAS scores of six or seven were 35 per cent more likely to have healthy glucose levels under 100mg per decilitre than people with MAAS scores below four.
Participants with high levels of mindfulness were about 20 per cent less likely to have Type-2 diabetes, but the total number of people in the study with the condition may have been too small to allow for definitive findings, Loucks said.