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.
I believe managing bipolar becomes a lot easier when you can just let go of the situation and learn to accept what happened as a single event does not affect the outcome of anything else happening in your life.
Letting go can be combined with the power of positive thinking to really manage your bipolar so you can live a peaceful, enjoyable, and loving life. In my previous post, I mentioned a website I’ve been reading everyday to help me on my journey – calmdownmind.com.
Here are a few pointers to help you attain peace mentally and manage bipolar by tweaking the way you view specific struggles in your life. Learning to let go and stay positive has helped me attain happiness and better my relationships with people. I believe it will do the same for you. Please follow this advice because you’re ready to try something new and commit to it!
Let’s get started…
1) Don’t Resist Change…Allow It!
“It’s quite normal for the mind to become attached to familiar circumstances, and it’s always afraid of change. This habit of the mind to cling to circumstances is also the reason for its constant fear of loss. Life by its very nature is in a state of expansion or movement, always. Nothing remains the same for long, everything changes. If you don’t resist this movement of change, you will notice that it’s all working for the better.”- calmdownmind.com
Over several years, I developed a pattern throughout life and felt safe in it. For example, the places I would go, the people I would meet, my sleep/wake cycle and eating routine was always the same. As you go through life you’re going to face certain situations that you’re not ready for. You haven’t prepared for them because you are accustomed to doing things a specific way. However, change is inevitable, especially if you desire to grow as a person. Avoiding change will keep you stagnant in life limiting your success, development, growth, relationships, and the list goes on.
The fact things are constantly changing in your life can disrupt your comfort level. I remember life being tough when first diagnosed with bipolar because each change brought on stress, anxiety, uncertainty, and disruption. Every one of these factors has been proven to trigger manic episodes in those living with bipolar.
Here are some resources listing potential triggers in those living with bipolar:
One of the most positive steps forward is my ability to view change as beneficial. Knowing that everything happens for a reason is a great way to accept changes and not to resist them. I learned resisting change will just cause stress because there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Understanding the world is in constant movement will force you to stop trying to push pause on life. Let go of resisting and accept everything is changing for a good reason. Know that what’s happening right now in your life will benefit you positively… maybe tomorrow, next week, or even 3 years down the line.
2) Let Go of Your Need to Know Everything
This is a beautiful passage:
“The mind always wants to “know” how things are going to work out. Since there is no way of knowing it, the mind then starts to find means of securing its future through “pseudo” means of security. The paradox is that you come to deep security when you embrace, or surrender, to the inherent insecurity or uncertainty of life. Let go of trying to know, and let life bring you the knowing as and when it’s truly needed in the now.” – calmdownmind.com
It’s normal to try and find an answer to everything. I was always trying to figure out why things happened, or what the outcome would be, and what the other person was thinking. The reality is I’m not going to find out the answer to everything because some things simply can’t be explained. Every time I tried to find an answer to something that was unexplainable, I would make thoughts up that were not genuine. They were thoughts that brought temporary relief, that were bound to fail. Soon I would find myself trying to figure out an answer again causing stress, anxiety, and sleepless nights. (For someone living with bipolar these are all sensitive triggers, and should be avoided.)
It was only when I stopped questioning what happened and believing it all happened for the right reasons that I was able to attain a peaceful state of mind. I remember applying to a job with great expectations because of how well the interview went. However, when I wasn’t hired I drove myself up the wall trying to figure out what I lacked. The constant stress of trying to find the answer transformed into the feeling of not being good enough. But, two weeks later I was offered an even better job, fitting my schedule and in a profession I was passionate about. Two months later, I found out the company that had rejected me during my first interview was out of business. This would have meant I would have been out of a job too.
Let go of trying to find out why things happen to you because it’s hard to find out “why”. Just know whatever happens is for a good reason, and soon you’ll learn why because life will show you.
3) Find Happiness Within, Not Without
“If you want to be in a peaceful state of being, you need to find the peace which never leaves you, the peace which is the very nature of the being that you are. Stop trying to find peace from external objects or circumstances. Everything physical is bound to change and hence can never give you a sense of peace if you are attached to it. The being that you are is always the same, it’s not changing, and it’s always at peace. Find your inner peace, by knowing who you really are. “- calmdownmind.com
To manage bipolar effectively and avoid external factors influencing my mood, I had to let go of the need to find happiness from external factors. For so many years, I relied on external factors to bring me joy, peace, and stability in my life. However, external factors are always changing and are uncontrollable so I needed to find a source of happiness that I could have full control over.
I started working hard at bettering myself by accomplishing small goals every day. Accomplishing these goals made me better because this provided me with the internal happiness I needed. Once you attain happiness without having to cling to external factors to find it, you can then control your mind and emotions to effectively manage your bipolar.
Your assignment after reading this:
1. The next time you’re faced with a small or big change, it’s important to practice not resisting it. Open your arms and allow change because resisting will only make you fight your emotions, causing stress, anxiety, and may even trigger an episode. Remember, the key phrase is “letting go” and accepting what life throws your way. Start off by letting go of small changes and then slowly begin to let go of bigger events in your life.
2. Stop trying to find out the answer to everything. This week I want you to let go of your need to know everything and question why things happened a certain way. The way the universe is designed will make it impossible for you to know everything. Believe whatever event that happens in your life is for the best and you’ll one day figure out exactly why something happened the way it did. The answer will come when life brings it to you, not when you force it.
Letting go of the need to find answers will force you to stop making up temporary solutions, which one day will prove faulty leaving you even more emotionally distraught.
3. It’s time to start finding happiness within. One way to do this is by setting small goals for yourself. Create a list of things you want to accomplish daily like eating healthy, exercising, finishing your personal journal, or spending 1 hour with your family. As you start to cross each one off the list, you’ll find happiness knowing you, not someone else, completed those goals. The main idea is to learn to have mental stability from within and not find the stability you need externally. When you learn to do this, the external factors will slowly stop influencing your mind. You can control your inner you, not the external factors.