I am not a mindful person. It is difficult for me to stop and focus. I have trouble with taking the time to stop, stay in one place, focus on my breathing and clear my mind. This is the hallmark of meditation. Since I teach others how to make healthy and positive in change their lives, I’ve felt like a hypocrite because of this. My hypomania allows me to do one thing well and that is to get many things done . . . or at least started.
I was listening to a co-worker the other day, and they spoke of walking meditation. It’s the simple solutions we don’t often think of. Walking meditation consists of being mindful of the present moment. It is just walking while focusing on the movement of your feet on the pavement, hearing the leaves crackle beneath you, noticing the sensations that your body feels as you begin to work muscles, and watching the beautiful view of the scenery pass by. So I tried this and found that it was so easy, even if I was only able to do it for one to two minutes. It felt so good to just slow down and give my racing thoughts a rest.
Another practice I decided to try is a five-minute breathing exercise that my therapist suggested. In this exercise, you inhale all the positive feelings and thoughts you want and exhale all your negative feelings and thoughts. When I tried this I had a feeling of happiness and was a little less stressed. Even though it was only for thirty seconds, it was a start! I told my therapist I am going to try it throughout my day; in the shower, in the car, and anytime I can focus during work. The thing is, I can only do it for one minute at a time right now. My therapist, of all people, didn’t understand why five minutes could be so difficult. She must not have racing thoughts.
The point of this is to let you know, at least I am trying. Isn’t that better than nothing? Afterall, how often do you associate mania and meditation? Sounds like a new fad. Manic Meditation! While I admit my practice of mindful meditation is new, the research on the effectiveness of this method of treating bipolar symptoms is not: Mindfulness and Bipolar. Some will say that bipolar hypomania is not a problem and there is no need to calm it down but it is my professional opinion, the higher you fly, the farther you fall. Before you crash and burn, take the time to calm down symptoms of bipolar hypomania whenever you can.
If you also experience hypomania and have creative ways to meditate, that work for you, please share in the comments below!
About the author: JR is a CA Addiction Treatment Counselor Level 2 (CATC II), Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Alumni Coordinator, Veterans Support Group Counselor, and USMC Veteran Sgt. He spends his days helping others make positive changes and set goals on their road to recovery.