7 Natural Mood Stabilisers For Bipolar Disorder4 min read
For most people living with bipolar disorder, avoiding manic and depressive episodes often requires a blend of medical and natural therapies. Though no single natural therapy has been proven as a better alternative to bipolar medication, when combined with prescribed medications, these natural mood stabilisers can help with managing bipolar disorder symptoms.
Get enough Sleep
Whether it’s sleeping too much or having insomnia, changes in sleep are very common for people living with bipolar disorder. Waking up at the same time every day is an important technique to build a better sleep schedule.
Getting about 30 minutes of morning sunlight is the second most important step to take to reset the circadian disruption caused by bipolar disorder.
Avoid or minimize napping, especially if it interferes with your sleep at night. Using your smartphone to help you keep track of your sleep cycle, but to also alert you when your bedtime is.
Face your Stress
Stress can trigger manic depression symptoms and episodes. Relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are very effective at reducing stress.
Make leisure time a priority and incorporate relaxation practices into your daily routine to improve your mood. Choose activities that have personal significane to you. They don’t have to be popular. Whether it’s kickboxing or reading that helps you to release stress, go with it.
“I’d describe my ability to withstand stress and pressure like lifting weights. I didn’t start with the 100-pound dumbbell. It began with the 5-pounders. By incorporating the basic coping skills such as developing a healthy support system, incorporating exercise, practicing my faith and developing proper sleep patterns, I started to realize that I could withstand more stress as time went on.” – Karl Shallowhorn
Establish a routine
Routine disruptions can trigger mood changes and bipolar episodes. Schedule your day using a planner and commit to one or two daily habits. Plan set times for meals, work, and socializing. Having a regular pattern of activity you can follow no matter where you are can help you avoid mood swings.
Clinical research has shown that exercising can in some cases produce the same benefits as popular antidepressant medications.
Regular movement is an important part of mood management for many people with bipolar disorder. For some, going to a gym for exercise will provide the structure they need to get moving. Others may find it easier to focus on building everyday habits into their routine, like going for walks during their lunch break.
Follow a medication schedule
Bipolar disorder medications help to bring symptoms under control and prevent relapse from mood stabilisation. Use a daily reminder system to keep track of your medications. You can also take things a step further by tracking your symptoms. When you start to feel better, this symptom journal will remind you of the impact that the medications had, and deter you from stopping your medications suddenly.
Abstain from substances
Substance abuse and bipolar disorder often go hand in hand. Alcohol often worsens depression, while recreational drugs can trigger mania. They both can interfere with bipolar medications. When socializing with people who drink, try an alcohol-free mojito or a virgin bloody mary cocktail. Non alcoholic beer is also an option.
Eat a healthy diet
Whole grain foods are shown to have a calming effect on the mind and boost the brain’s production of serotonin. Omega-3 is also shown to help decrease mood swings. Up your intake of cold-water fish like salmon and incorporate eggs, flax seeds, and walnuts to get more Omega-3.
Selenium-rich foods are essential for a healthy brain and help to stabilise mood swings. Brazil nuts, ham, shrimp, steak, and turkey are all high in selenium.
Avoid eating dried fruit, fermented foods, cured, processed, and smoked meats, and aged cheeses that contain high amounts of tyramine. This substance can interfere with with bipolar disorder medications.
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