Highlights

  1. Bipolar disorder causes extreme highs and lows in mood.
  2. Meditation helps to relax and reduce stress, helping people with bipolar disorder manage their mood.
  3. There are many levels and techniques of meditation, and it’s free and easy to practice.

The extreme highs and lows of bipolar disorder can be hard to cope with, and difficult for those around you. The disorder causes mania at one end and depression at the other. Everyday life can be difficult for people with bipolar, and it can be hard to perform well in school or at a job. In addition, personal relationships can become strained.

Treatment for bipolar disorder aims to help you control your mood by keeping it balanced and minimizing the ups and downs. One technique that can help you in this effort is meditation. Meditation is an easy and natural method for relaxing and reducing stress, and can be helpful for people with bipolar disorder. Read on to learn how it could help you.

Meditation is an ancient technique that involves deep contemplation to help you better understand your inner self. It can relax your mind, help you cope with the stresses of daily life, and give you a more enlightened view of life in general.

There are many different kinds of meditation, but they all usually focus on:

  • posture
  • breathing
  • attention
  • relaxation

Q:

During the ups and downs of bipolar disorder, when is the best time to practice meditation?

A:

Once a manic episode has resolved, meditation can be extremely useful. Learning how to sit quietly and experience your breathing can provide a powerful sense of self that can elude people with bipolar disorder, especially if they have been ill for a long time.

Soroya Bacchus, MDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Meditation won’t cure bipolar disorder, but when added to your treatment plan, it could help you stabilize your mood. Bipolar disorder can be complicated by stress, and having bipolar disorder is stressful in itself. Relaxation techniques such as meditation can reduce the stress you experience from bipolar disorder, which can help you keep your mood in check.

One particular type of meditation that can be helpful is called mindfulness meditation. This method, which has received increasing attention in recent years, requires you to “pay attention” to your meditation and to be aware of what you’re thinking and feeling in a nonjudgmental way. It helps you develop an awareness of distressing thoughts and feelings, which enables you to disengage from those thoughts, rather than try to change or fix them.

Meditation is not a quick fix for bipolar disorder, but it can help you over time. One showed that medication can help people with bipolar disorder in the short term, and that meditation is helpful in promoting a more balanced mood over a longer period of time.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)

  • Mindfulness practices are being incorporated into bipolar treatment methods. MBCT, which has shown promise for people with bipolar disorder, combines mindfulness practices with cognitive behavioral therapy. This showed that two years after taking part in MBCT, people who continued to practice mindfulness still found that it improved their quality of life and helped prevent depressive relapses.

Meditation helps strengthen the connection between your body and mind. It’s free and easy to practice. It can be done in formal classes or practiced at home, making it accessible to anyone who wants to try it. There are many different levels, from beginner to experienced.

One simple technique requires you to sit quietly and concentrate on your breathing. Focus on the natural rhythm of your breath as you slowly inhale and then slowly exhale.

Other techniques involve:

  • focusing on a pleasurable moment, and then trying to recreate it in your mind, as realistically as possible
  • repeating a soothing mantra, such as “om”
  • slowly focusing on different parts of your body for different sensations, such as heat, tightness, or soreness
  • taking a walk and focusing on the sensation of walking

Guided meditation is another option. It’s usually done in a group setting with someone providing cues and guidance. Classes are widely available from trained instructors. In addition, there are many mindfulness apps available for your smartphone. These apps make it easy to practice meditation at home.

Meditation cannot replace traditional therapy for bipolar disorder, so check with your doctor about other treatments you may need, such as medication or psychotherapy. Even though it’s not a cure for bipolar disorder, meditation can help you relax and reduce stress. It can also help you disengage from stressful or anxious thoughts, and better control your mood.

Meditation is easy and anyone can practice it, at home or in a class. It can be a helpful addition to your bipolar disorder treatment plan.