Date Tags help

They are especially important when you are trying to manage a mood disorder. The basic steps include maintaining a regular pattern of sleep, a healthy diet, and regular physical exercise; taking prescribed medications; keeping up social contacts; and having a routine and structure to your day. The steps are your foundation for a healthy emotional life, and on them you will build the components of your treatment plan. These may feel like common sense recommendations, but they are essential to controlling your symptoms. Controlling your symptoms in this way improves the quality of your life. When you follow these steps regularly, you will decrease your vulnerability to fluctuations, or changes, in your mood disorder symptoms. Taking care of your overall self is important to your general health and to preserving your emotional balance and strength. It also boosts your resilience. This helps you to recover more quickly from setbacks or episodes of depression if they do occur. Following these fundamental steps can be especially challenging when you are struggling to manage a mood disorder because the symptoms of depression often interfere with your ability to actually do them. For example, the symptoms of fatigue, poor appetite, and lack of interest can make it difficult to do the grocery shopping and cooking necessary to follow a healthy diet. To meet this challenge, you may find it helpful to break down the tasks of daily life into small steps, to plan for what you have to do, and to pace yourself. In the current example, you could write down your grocery list, shop at a time of day when you have more energy, and cook healthy foods in large batches so that you can freeze some for later meals when you are too fatigued to cook. You will learn more about these techniques in the following chapters. The key is not to wait until you feel like doing something. Just do it as best as you can now and the motivation for doing it will follow. Many people with depression have found that to be so. It is crucial that you keep trying despite the difficulty and that you give yourself credit for the effort. We saw earlier that negative internal dialogue has physiological consequences: It can result in chronic adrenaline arousal, elevated blood pressure, and so on. It stands to reason, then, that if you are thinking rationally positive and empowering thoughts, each cell in your body responds with more positive and empowering energy.

Sports psychologists have been studying this mind-body connection for years. Their research has shown, again and again, that the thoughts we have about how we are going to perform a physical event determine how well we do it. Weightlifters lift more when they hold self-affirming thoughts. Swimmers swim faster and runners run faster. The testimony of Olympic athletes demonstrates how much importance they place on their internal dialogue. The things those athletes know are equally true for you, in everything you do, hence, the reason my coaches taught me what they did about my thinking. It's why I so readily adopted the advice of Paul Vishnesky to watch what I told myself on the tennis court. I am no Olympic athlete, but this stuff works for you and me, just as it does for them. Now let's consider what positive internal dialogue is not. Positive internal dialogue, as I suggested earlier, is rationally optimistic self-talk, not unfounded rah-rah hype. Positive internal dialogue consists of thoughts, messages, and fact-based rhetoric that allow you to live in accordance with reality--not lies, assumptions, or opinions. Internal dialogue is truthful engagement with the world, not smiley-faced denial. In short, that's the difference between passion and motivation. Motivation is instilled whereas passion is innate. You should develop, cultivate, and nurture your passion over time. After all, the wellspring of emotionally charged energy called passion is the vehicle that carries you toward your expectations and is ultimately responsible for fulfilling them. Does that mean passion cannot be learned? Of course not! It's not unusual for motivation to ignite passion over time. But there are even more specific ways of making it happen.

Techniques like surfing the urge and thinking of our cravings as leaves on a stream are mental skill-building exercises that can help us stop impulsively giving in to distractions. They recondition our minds to seek relief from internal triggers in a reflective rather than a reactive way. As Oliver Burkeman wrote in the Guardian, "It's a curious truth that when you gently pay attention to negative emotions, they tend to dissipate--but positive ones expand." We've considered how we might reimagine our internal triggers; next we'll learn how to reimagine the task we're trying to stay focused on. Given what we know about our propensity for distraction when we're uncomfortable, reimagining difficult work as fun could prove incredibly empowering. Imagine how powerful you'd feel if you were able to transform the hard, focused work you have to do into something that felt like play. Is that even possible? Sleep problems often occur during an episode of major depression or bipolar disorder. When depressed, you may sleep a lot but still feel tired. You may sleep too little or have interrupted sleep, with frequent awakenings during the night. Or you may wake up too early. The quality of your sleep may be affected so that you don't feel rested or restored the next day. Without enough sleep you become irritable and have difficulty concentrating and doing small tasks. In contrast, in bipolar disorder with mania or hypomania you may feel that you don't need very much sleep at all, that you are energized and awake during normal sleep times. Why does sleep matter to your mental health? Sound sleep optimizes brain function and has a positive effect on your mood disorder. A change in the amount or quality of sleep will affect your illness. For example, periods of insufficient or poor-quality sleep can worsen your depression or bring on your bipolar illness. A consistent period of good night's sleep can help improve your mood. Changes in your sleep may or may not be fully under your control. They may be related to a physical condition or stress.

Sleep difficulties may be Warning Signs or Symptoms of your mood disorder, which you and your treatment team can recognize and address. Sleep disruption may also be related to environmental conditions, such as noise level, excess light, or extremes in room temperature. The good news is that you can control some things to help yourself achieve a good night's sleep. This is called Sleep Hygiene. It's not a litany of "feel-good" mantras ("I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, doggone it . When you need to jack things up in your life and make a change, it does not say, "I am good enough as I am." The fact may be that you're not good enough--that you've been living like a lazy slug. If so, a rational, healthy internal dialogue would be telling you the truth, so you can do something about it. By having an honest conversation with yourself, you can identify something to put at the top of your to-do list. If you're a slug, admit it. If you're not a slug, then stop telling yourself you are. This is not rocket science here. You just have to start listening and start challenging your internal dialogue. Whatever the case may be, start talking about fact, not fiction. You may know people, for example, who experience no fear whatsoever, even when they ought to. That is not even close to what I call a positive, healthy internal dialogue. I call these fools the "bulletproof people"--they think they're immortal. Their brand of internal dialogue is just as dangerous as the kind that unduly criticizes. Look, this internal dialogue business is not an exercise in blind affirmation. It comes back to your personal truth and you know by now that that is a truth that you live. Lie to yourself and you will pay the price.

Whether your personal lie is one of denial, self-derogation, or a bunch of rah-rah hype, it is still a lie. Your personal lie can be intentional or the product of distortions that have silently invaded your life. Nothing but candid truth that has survived the challenge of your honest self-appraisal will do. If your personal truth is to be riddled with self-doubt and self-incrimination and self-flagellation, you will live that truth as you go out into the world. If you know yourself to be confident, streetwise, and durable, then you will not necessarily be fearful, even in a high-risk situation. Your reaction will be the result of what you perceive about yourself. Stop dealing with self-opinion and start dealing with self-fact. I always have my best ideas in the shower. There's something about the mindlessness of daily routines like bathing that can paradoxically encourage greater mindfulness. For me, the rhythmic, circular motions of lathering shampoo helps my mind relax, but these activities also leave me more open to Eureka moments. Perhaps you've had some shower epiphanies too! The same idea goes for working out, shopping, or any activity that allows you to become introspective. Those moments are vital. Another great way to find passion is to rekindle your childhood recollections. Did you ever color for endless hours as a youngster? Did you like to put on puppet shows? Return to those early memories. Maybe you're a natural artist and have forgotten untapped interests and talents. Along these lines, ask what others remember about that time of life, and what inspired them. Don't be afraid to seek help.