The Value of a Growth Mindset in Diabetes Management: FAQs

This blog is designed to answer prominent questions about a growth mindset, including what it is, why it matters, what it can change, and how to build one.

What is a growth mindset?

A growth mindset focuses on moving forward, learning, and growing even when mistakes and challenges are present. There is an emphasis on learning and figuring out what is working and what needs to be altered. Failure is seen as an opportunity to shift things that aren’t working to make them more effective. A growth mindset is inspired by other successes and uses mistakes and feedback as a springboard for growth and learning.

The opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset, which operates on the assumption that failures are the individual’s fault and have no potential to foster growth. A fixed mindset says, “What is the true right of my situation is all that will always be true of my situation. There is no hope for change or growth.” It operates on the belief that change is not possible, not even given the opportunity for growth.

As it applies to diabetes management, a growth mindset can lead to a sense of control of diabetes management, while a fixed mindset can make it all feel out of control. A growth mindset breaks diabetes management down into steps and focuses on used challenges as ways to learn and grow, figuring out what works for you and what doesn’t. By contrast, a fixed mindset views every challenge as a failure, which can lead to burnout and result in a lack of motivation to do daily tasks relating to diabetes if they feel useless.

Why does mindset matter?

Have you ever heard the phrase “mind over matter”? Mindset plays a surprisingly large role in health outcomes. It can also reframe unpleasant, negative experiences as positive opportunities to build resilience. In many cases, mindset can help us to look for specific results, and then we see those results occur in real life. Mindset is vital in the management of many health conditions, and diabetes is no exception. A positive attitude is often associated with more positive health outcomes, and a growth mindset is linked with behaviour change.

What are the benefits of a growth mindset?

There are so many benefits to a growth mindset!

  • Resilience is developed
  • Improved health outcomes
  • Treatment feels more manageable
  • Mistakes lead to growth, rather than just frustration
  • Encourages reasonable goal-setting
  • Fosters personal improvement in diabetes management
  • Improved feelings surrounding the self and diabetes management (not blaming yourself)
  • Lower chance of diabetes distress and other similar mental/emotional challenges related to diabetes

How can I develop a growth mindset?

The development of a growth mindset is based on an individual’s choice to improve and utilize this specific mindset. Healthcare providers and other influences can also encourage a growth mindset. The primary way to practice a growth mindset is through working with a counsellor or psychologist who can give you tools and strategies that can help shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

Where can I learn more about this?

Want to learn more about developing and practicing a growth mindset? Check out these great resources!

“Changing Mindsets to Enhance Treatment Effectiveness” 

“A Growth Mindset: Changing our Diabetes Management”