by Alexandra
(Kinnelon, NJ)

The famed author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, Sean Covey, delegates 7 habits such as Be Proactive, Put First Things First, and Think Win-Win.

Although these habits or rules to live by may lead to success for many adolescents, teens and adults with bipolar disorder need to follow another set of 5 habits.

Best habits to effectively manage Bipolar Disorder

Living with Bipolar Disorder is a challenging and exhausting task that does not bring many rewards, but rather episodes of depression and mania. Living a healthy life while coping with Bipolar Disorder is even more challenging. This illness will never be easy to overcome, but by using the five Bipolar Rules to Live By, the adaptation process will be more successful.

Sleep is first of the five Bipolar Rules to Live By. Not just sleeping on a couch, sleeping for 3 hours, or no sleep at all, but a regular pattern of sleep cycling with proper sleep hygiene is necessary. Sleep in conjunction with exercise, the second Bipolar Rule to Live By, will help conquer the depressive and manic cycles that accompany this disorder.

Exercise is the second. Running on a treadmill, joining the local gym, or simply walking around the house twice can contribute to the release of healthy chemicals in the brain that can counteract the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. In addition, more exercise will in turn lead to more sleep.

The third Bipolar Rule to Live By may seem insignificant or too obvious, but many people with Bipolar Disorder find it difficult to devote themselves completely to their diet and nutrition. People suffering from Bipolar Disorder often find comfort in foods with high sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. Sometimes we eat, attempting to forget a difficult day or prevent an oncoming anxiety episode. Healthy Bipolar diet include colorful foods, such as carrots, red peppers, plenty of greens, and other fruits and vegetables. Try going by the general rule that if it’s in a box, bag, or packaged in any way, it’s most likely processed and, therefore, you should keep consumption of these types of foods to a minimum.

Most often, the last two of the five rules listed here may seem like the most important rules to many Bipolar individuals.

Taking your medications, as prescribed, can literally be a life saver to someone with Bipolar Disorder. Hence, following our medication regime is considered the fourth Bipolar Rule to Live By. Medications have the ability to change our mood, prevent anxiety, suppress anger, and elevate our depressive states.

Last but not the least, the fifth Bipolar Rule, recommends that we stay connected to our support system, which includes a psychiatrist, therapist, family, and friends. Our psychiatrist is the medication expert and can help find the right balance of medications so that makes the world does not appear as overwhelming. Our therapist helps us understand and cope with our feelings, guides us in productive direction, and provides us with exercises and interventions to make our Bipolar lives easier. Family and friends are an essential part of the Bipolar support system. They help us put our anxieties and fears in perspective. Unfortunately they are sometimes the victims of our anger and frustration. Yet, true friends and supportive family members grow to understand our illness and comfort us when we need or ask for help.

And while the Five Bipolar Rules to Live By do not cure Bipolar Disorder by any means, they sure can help you live a healthy and productive life. But you need to follow all five, not just two or three, to accomplish a successful and healthy Bipolar lifestyle.