Are There Mindfulness Tools For Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a condition in which the person experiences extreme highs and lows, such as hyperactivity or depression, which can last for weeks or months at a time. This disorder can affect every aspect of someone’s life, and often interferes with their school, work, relationships, and social interactions. Having bipolar disorder can be overwhelming, but thankfully there are a plethora of resources available for one to utilize to manage the symptoms of this disorder.
Mindfulness is one effective tool to use, and can provide many benefits to aid the person in overcoming negative thought patterns. Listed below are a few of the ways that mindfulness can help someone who is suffering from bipolar disorder:
Observing vs. reacting – mindfulness helps the person simply watch their thoughts instead of acting on them. With practice, it becomes easier for a person to stay mindful that their thoughts are just “thoughts” and do not need immediate reaction.
Change of perception – mindfulness teaches the person to act in a state of “being” rather than a state of “doing”. Too often we get caught up in day-to-day activities, but mindfulness trains us to be aware of what we are thinking, saying, and doing.
Awareness – mindfulness helps us become more aware of our triggers and thoughts/feelings/actions we typically take when confronted by our triggers, enabling us to change those patterns which do not benefit us.
Here are a few effective tools used in mindfulness:
Body scan meditation – the person starts by tightening their toes, and then releasing them. They then move on to tightening the entire foot, and then relaxing it. Moving up slowly through the entire body, tightening and relaxing, the person becomes more grounded and can relax.
Mindful walking – the person finds a relaxing, quiet place with no distractions. They begin walking very slowly, focusing on the heel of the foot leaving and the toes touching the ground.
Mindful breathing – with this, the person focuses on breathing in through the nose, and out through the mouth. They pay close attention to the feeling of breathing – the body’s movement, the natural rhythm of the body’s breath, and how it feels when the air flows in and out of the person’s lungs and nose.
Mindfulness, when practiced regularly and thoughtfully, can be extremely powerful. We can overcome negative thought patterns by learning to simply not react on those thoughts. In this sense, we are taking control over our behavior and not giving our thoughts power. The best way to know if mindfulness is the best tool for anyone is for them to try it. We all deserve to be given a chance to overcome our challenges and be on our way to recovery and happiness.
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