Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder was the one thing that got me thinking outside of the box. It made me realize that I have great things in my life, and that I’m very lucky because things could have been worse. I believe people look at life in two ways: the glass being half empty or half full. Specifically, they either look at all the wonderful things they have in life, or they complain about all the things that are missing. I also believe for those looking at life half empty, it takes something life-changing to happen for you to think otherwise. For me, it was being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
I remember when I was first diagnosed with bipolar, and several years after that, I would complain about everything that was missing in my life. Very rarely would I stop and think about all the wonderful things around me. It doesn’t help that media equates happiness with materialism, leading people to fall victim to this unrealistic mentality. I’ll admit, I did. But you should always take the time to think outside of the box, at the things which money can’t buy—family, friends, safety, support, and companionship. When I finally fell in love with motivational books and the power of now, I needed to let go of the negative energy holding me back and start to attract the positive surrounding me. This changed my life because I started to discover how viewing life from a different perspective can help you manage bipolar successfully. Think about it…
Isn’t a lot of your stress, anxiety, and depression caused because you view the glass half empty? You feel like you are missing something or feel that you are at a disadvantage because you’re bipolar. However, maybe you’re at an advantage because you have something like bipolar pushing you to conquer your dreams and prove to people that you can achieve anything you want in life. I know for me, bipolar disorder has allowed me to be grateful for not only the big things I have, but all the small things too.
Awesome #6 – I’m a Lot More Grateful
My bipolar disorder has forced me to implement new routines into my life, which enlightens my day first thing in the morning. Yes, it’s because of bipolar why my routine has changed; because before, I had no real reason to even consider this change. Every morning when I wake up, I say 5 things I’m grateful for in life. The things you’re grateful for could have happened at any time—years ago, yesterday or even the week before. The main objective for me is to tune my mind into positive energy instead of thinking about something negative. This keeps me focused and puts a huge smile on my face because it gives me a reason to get out of bed and push forward.
Getting into the habit of doing this every morning did take time so I started slow by writing things down the night before. In the morning, I would pull out the piece of paper and repeat each one 2-3 times. This isn’t time-consuming because all it takes is a few minutes. But it can have a long-term effect going forward. I decided to do some research, and found a connection between being grateful and its effects on the brain has been studied, with interesting results. For example, research has shown how practicing gratitude daily can lower depression and increase well-being.
Ever since I started a gratitude journal years back, I can honestly say I’m happier and pay less attention to negative things which normally would put me in a downward spiral. Even when I’m with people, I’m more focused on the good things and how lucky I am to be out with friends. This thought would never enter my mind before I was diagnosed because I had nothing to give me a kick in my ass. It was only after my diagnosis that I realized how bipolar can stop you dead in your tracks from living a normal life if you let it. I’ve read the stories online and have heard how people with mental illness still struggle every day. I’m empathetic towards them because I know the struggle firsthand. But, gratitude is a great first step towards changing your mindset, and it’s such a natural way to rewire your mind since you can show gratitude almost every second of your life. This means every second you can be exercising your gratitude muscle, taking a positive step forward to beat bipolar. Let me ask you guys something, are you not grateful right now for…
- The light in your room…why? Because some people don’t have light or can’t afford it.
- This day…why? You have life while some people lost theirs the night before.
- Television…why? Because you can watch your favorite shows. Some people can’t afford cable.
- The delicious food on your table…why? Because you have food. Some people around the world don’t have much or any.
Tonight, before going to sleep, create a list of wonderful things you have in your life and are grateful for. Tomorrow, when you wake up, repeat each one 2-3 times; do this every day going forward. I also suggest keeping a gratitude journal so you can get in the habit of writing positive things and continually practice gratitude. Before finishing, I want to let all of you know how grateful I am that you took the time to read this…now that’s awesome!