Seems like it’s been a while since we blogged about the title of the blog. Why is it called “Moodsurfing”? Living creatively with moods means we accept that there are going to be ups and downs in life, and rather than aim for an ideal “stability” we learn to manage life with moods and, ultimately, even to exploit the strengths they bring.
A lot of the time, even “surfing” the moods seems like a reach. We are battered and thrown by the waves, not lifted triumphantly up onto their crests. At this stage, people begin to use medication because it helps tame the moods and bring a measure of control. Just remember, medication is not a sentence handed down by a Judge. Medication is a tool that you, with a competent and caring medical practitioner, can use to move from crisis to security.
Once you move out of crisis control, there are other strategies that can be helpful.
For controlling the excitement and high energy (or irritability) of a hypomanic or manic mood –
- Practice strategies that increase your sleep (medications may be helpful). Sleep is your brain’s natural restorative – it is when the brain and the body rebuild and recharge. If you are just a bit energized, strengthening your natural biorhythms may be enough to help you get the extra sleep you need.
- Mindfulness practice is one of the best (and hardest) things to do to help get a bit more control of energized states. The good news is that when you are energized even a few minutes of mindfulness practice can make a difference. That’s good news because a few minutes may be all that you can do.
- Turn off the technology and restore your connection to nature. Much of what drives us to unnaturally high energy these days is technology based. We have lights that allow us to stay awake all night. The internet allows us to jump from idea to idea practically forever. Advertising is a constant invitation to do and want more. So, turn off the technology, go for a walk (slowly) in the evening and practice mindful walking.
For controlling the powerful waves of depression (low, slow but irresistible) –
- Focus on getting up earlier and getting plenty of bright light. Morning bright light is for many people the fastest anti-depressant we know of. Read more under the Morning Ritual.
- Try to get some exercise outdoors.
- Read more tips in Depression 101.
Once you are feeling a bit more confident, you may want to try tricks to surf the waves more creatively. There are advantages to mood variation, moods allow us to access different possibilities in ourselves and others.
- Manic energy allows us to create and achieve and change the world.
- Depressive energy can allow us to connect more deeply to others, to see and not be overwhelmed by the pain that we all share.
Stay with the Moodsurfing blog for more on living creatively with moods! –