One thing I’ve learned is that you need to be mentally tough to manage bipolar. I’m referring to having positive attributes that help you cope with difficult situations. This is very important to me because when living with bipolar any small situation can throw me off. And I need to be mentally strong to overcome this adversity. When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder I noticed certain situations would cause me enormous stress, anxiety, and mood swings. However, over the years I’ve gotten better at handling them through mental preparation and successfully controlling my manic episodes. What do I mean by mental preparation? It’s important to view negative things as a positive learning experience, and to understand that everything happens for a reason. In other words, I believe if you are facing adversity, it’s because something better is in store for you later in the future. It’s tough to have this mindset, and I’ll admit that it does take time and practice to build it. But…
The beginning of the month is always special for me because it gives me a chance to look back at the previous month, and evaluate what I can do differently going forward. Even though I believe every day is a fresh start and you can begin making changes right away, looking back over a 30-day period allows me to build a pattern and understand those habits which held me back. This has been something I’ve been doing for 2 years and I’m finally ready to write about it. Why? Because making a single small change every month can combine into something great transformation, changing you into a completely different person. That’s right, I try and make one change each month, small or big, which improves me as a person. Specifically, the change centers around what was holding me back the month before. For example, if punctuality caused me to lose great opportunities with work, friends or family, then the following month I would work hard at being on time the next month so it’s ingrained into my character going forward.
April 1, 2017 marked a new month, and this month I’m going to be focusing on the concept of gratitude.
I’m always looking for inspiration, something that keeps me growing and moving forward. Several years back, after my bipolar diagnosis in January 2000, it was tough because I didn’t know what to expect. Personally, I didn’t think I would ever be happy because there’s this stigma associated with someone living with bipolar. People think when someone has bipolar they are damaged goods and can’t excel at things that others are excelling at. Anyways, I’m here to tell you they are completely wrong. I’ve managed to accomplish some of my dreams and am working towards conquering others. But, for you to conquer and stay motivated, you need to find happiness in the smallest things. By doing this, you attract positive energy into your life and know there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Every day, I’ll do these 15 small things that give me a reason to live and truly be grateful for what I have. This works to provide the positivity I need to be happy. I want you to utilize these same awesome ways to be happy too.
I know, some days can be very tough and put you in a depressed mood. But, you have to keep pushing forward no matter what happens. Use these days to learn more about yourself, and how you can snap out of your depressed mood. Remember, your mind can play a lot of tricks on you, but you have the control to change your thinking process right away. You just need to catch yourself in the negative thinking pattern; then transform that thought process into something more positive. Once you snap yourself out of the negative thinking and depressed state, you’ll start to attract more positive thoughts and energy. However, it takes time to change this habit. So, in addition to the strategies below, you should give the 10-Day Mental Diet Challenge a try too.
I’ve been through a lot, and learned a lot about myself along the way. I know living with bipolar disorder was going to be tough so I had to start learning quick strategies to gain control of my negative thoughts. or otherwise face full blown manic episodes. I started to read motivational blogs, productivity hacks, and books like Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins. I’ve now branched into other kinds of literature like meditation, mindfulness, and how to live in the now.
I’m always trying to find ways to improve myself. Growth is the ultimate gratification because you feel pleasure knowing you’re making progress. Well, I know I do! A lot of the growth I’ve experienced throughout the years has to do with trying different, positive things that I know will make a good change in my life. Just being able to read, learn, and apply them has done wonders for me because I can truly say I’m happier than I was a few years ago.
Living with bipolar disorder opened my eyes because a mental illness is no laughing matter, and it can stop you dead in your tracks. You have to consciously make changes in your life if you’re going to beat bipolar disorder successfully. It’s hard to manage it because it’s so easy for this disorder to take control of you. I had to learn this the hard way because for several years my mind kept playing games on me, forcing me to think that no one liked me, and that I was no good, and lesser than everyone else.
It’s your bad habits that get in the way of your success. For example, you’ll know you have an assignment due, but you choose to go out with friends or continually take smoking breaks throughout the day. This slows down your momentum, and you lose focus on your end goal, not completing what you set out to do. Think about the amount of times you’ve created a list of daily goals and many of them were marked incomplete because you decided to hang with friends, watch TV, or procrastinate by doing a less important task. Napoleon Hill said it best –
“Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.” – brainyquote.com
I think managing bipolar has a lot to do with conquering your goals because each one you complete serves as motivation and progress forward. It also gives you a feeling of accomplishment, success, and self-worth, all of which is important when beating depression.
After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I had to make some serious lifestyle changes. I needed to find ways to manage my bipolar by incorporating exercise, nutrition, and positivity (from surrounding myself with positive people). I knew learning to manage bipolar and living a joyful life was in my control, so I had to make these changes on my own to conquer the highs and lows.
Like other lifestyle changes, I wanted to research how certain foods can help control my highs and lows.. Some people don’t mind the high points, but I noticed it can get out of control sometimes. During these phases, my alcohol consumption and spending would go through the roof, which I’d regret afterwards. I wanted to find a fair balance so I would have better control of my mood swings and my life.
When I did my research, and talked to my psychiatrist about managing bipolar, she told me to incorporate a nutritious diet in the following ways:
- Incorporate foods that fight depression,
- Incorporate foods that are calming and help manage mania.
Below you’ll find my list of foods to avoid when living with bipolar disorder. It has been split into two categories to keep things organized. Everyone is different and some foods may not affect you the way it does me. But skim through and let me know your thoughts.
Managing bipolar is tough since we all have our own set of triggers that throw us off. After 17 years of living with bipolar, I’ve become good at understanding what triggers my manic episodes. For example, factors like stress, anxiety, and personal struggles like a life-changing event can set off a manic episode. During the last 7 years, I became fascinated with understanding how the mind works in managing triggers. I’ve learned it’s all about the way you view a situation or a life-changing event. By practicing mind over matter, something that would have bothered me before no longer has the same effect.
A quick post to encourage all of you to hit the gym because the benefits cannot be underestimated. If you do a quick search in Google, you’ll find articles on the relationship between bipolar and exercise. Research and studies conclude that exercise is an anti-depressant in itself. Exercising on a regular basis will release natural pain killers called endorphins. These play a major role in elevating your mood and reducing triggers caused from negative thinking or anxiety. If you’ve been reading my previous content, then you know how I’ve stated several times that stress, anxiety, and negative thinking over time can trigger an episode. Endorphins released through exercise can be attributed to lowering stress and anxiety as well as combat negative thinking.
The power of positive thinking cannot be underestimated. Over the years, I’ve connected with a lot of people who successfully managed their bipolar by switching their approach to situations. I believe everything comes down to the following – the power of negative and positive thinking. But, it’s important to mention both have a huge impact on your life in distinct ways.
When I started to practice “the power of positive thinking”, I noticed it was important to break down thought processes. For example, internalizing the power of positive thinking (in the beginning) should be an approach taken systematically. That’s one of the best ways to really understand how and what you should be doing when put in a negative situation.
Why is this important when managing bipolar?