Meditation

Meditation is an ancient form of mental discipline that can be used to cope with the stress of daily life. Its goal is not to change the world around you, but rather to help control your reaction to it, which can help reduce stress and provide a more enlightened view of the human experience and existence.

How Meditation Fits In

Meditation won't cure bipolar disorder, but it can help calm someone down. There is evidence that bipolar disorder is complicated by stress, and is stressful in and of itself. Relaxation techniques can be a useful part of an overall treatment plan for managing the disorder.

How Does It Work

There are many types of meditation, but the overall idea is clearing the head of the thoughts that can clutter it up, like dirty laundry collecting in someone's house.

It helps strengthen the connection between the body and the mind, something many health experts believe can help with bipolar disorder and other mental conditions.

It can be quite easy to do meditation. One of the more basic forms involves someone sitting quietly and concentrating on their own breathing. Another involves focusing on a pleasurable moment and trying to recreate it as realistically in the mind as possible.

Guided meditation, usually done in a group setting with someone providing cues and guidance, is available in most areas through trained instructors.

The idea, again, is to clear the mind of the numerous thoughts that are filling it and potentially causing stress.

There is evidence that meditation can calm feelings of anxiety and also help quell insomnia. Both of these can be issues for someone with bipolar disorder.

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Who Can Take It

Meditation is easy and free to practice, making it accessible to anyone willing to give it a try. It is also a practice that can become increasingly challenging for those seeking more difficulty.

Side Effects

There have been reports that practicing meditation can have some unwanted side effects on someone who has mental illness. These can include disorientation and negative thoughts, according to the American Cancer Society.

Availability

Meditation is an easy relaxation technique to practice, and it can be done in formal classes or be self-taught and practiced at home.

Highlights

Meditation can help someone cope with stress in their daily lives and can be practiced in many situations to help maintain calm.

A big goal of meditation is clearing the mind of the thoughts that can clutter it and cause stress. Doing this can be as simple as sitting quietly and concentrating on breathing.

What The Expert Says

“Once mania has resolved, meditation is extremely useful,” says Dr. Soroya Bacchus, a psychiatrist who practices in California. “Learning how to sit quietly and experiencing your breathing is a powerful sense of self that eludes people with bipolar disorder, particularly if they have been ill for a long time.”