2.6% of the US population have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and it is the sixth leading cause of disability on a global scale (World Health Organization).

This complex disorder is incurable, but may be managed with bipolar meditation.

How does Bipolar manifest itself?

Also called manic-depressive illness, bipolar disorder is characterized by sudden and intense shifts in mood, energy and activity levels and significantly impacts an individuals ability to perform daily tasks.

A person can shift from extreme highs (“manic episodes” of feeling extremely up, high, energized and elated) to extreme lows (“depressive episodes” of sadness, hopelessness, despair and despondency).

In the most common (“Bipolar 1”) type of the disorder, manic episodes can last up to 1 week and depressive episodes up to 2 weeks.

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Manic symptoms include: feeling extremely “up”; having excessive energy; increased activity levels; feeling “wired”; sleep disturbances; rapid speech, jumping from topic to topic; agitation and irritability; racing thoughts; and risky behavior.

Depressive symptoms include:

feelings of sadness, emptiness and hopelessness; extremely low energy; sleep disturbances; decreased activity levels; inability to enjoy life; disruption in eating habits; being stuck in a worry loop; lack of focus; forgetfulness; suicidal thoughts.

It is possible to have both a manic and a depressive episode all at once.

While there is no cure for the disorder, a recent study by Harvard University’s Dr. Sara Lazar, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice, found that mindfulness-based meditation may be an effective treatment option for improving cognitive functioning in affected individuals.

Bipolar Meditation

Here are several ways Bipolar meditation can turn such a debilitating disorder around:

1. Meditation boosts feel-good neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. Serotonin is the brain’s mood stabilizing neurotransmitter. Scientists are still debating whether depression is caused by low serotonin levels or whether depression leads to low serotonin levels (thus complicating and prolonging depression). Either way, low serotonin levels contribute to bipolar disorder. Meditation helps manage stress, which is the first crucial step in restoring healthy serotonin levels. In bipolar patients, healthy serotonin levels smooth out manic episodes and lessen depressive episodes for more balanced moods. Nature’s feel-good neurotransmitters, endorphins and dopamine, help lessen the depressive episodes, and because the brain is better able to balance them to healthy levels, they also manage manic episodes.

2. Meditation relaxes the amygdala. The amygdala is the brain’s stress center. Its job is to keep us safe and so it triggers the fight-or-flight response to any physical or emotional threat. Physical threats are most often very real, but emotional threats essentially originate in the imagination (“what if (x) goes horribly wrong?” “what if everybody laughs at me?” “what if she leaves me?”). A buildup of stress hormones has been linked to bipolar disorder (one reason that the disorder seems to strike otherwise healthy 40- to 50-year-olds – they’re chronically stressed). Meditation actually shrinks the amygdala over time, making the fight-or-flight response less intense when it does happen, and lessening its occurrence.

3. Meditation increases activity in the left prefrontal cortex – the orchestrator of thought and decision-making, and behavior modulator. Meditators are happier, calmer, more compassionate, and more in control of their impulses and emotional responses than non-meditators.

4. Meditation also balances and synchronizes activity in the two brain hemispheres which has been linked to greater cognitive functioning, enhanced creativity and better problem solving and decision-making.

In essence, bipolar meditation creates an environment within the brain that is hostile to the disorder itself. In time, the bipolar patient can develop a powerful toolkit of skills and techniques including self-soothing, being able to ride out emotional waves, and impulse regulation. Over time, the brain literally changes both physically and functionally. It reorganizes and upgrades itself, and creates a state of equilibrium that helps the bipolar patient cope with the world in healthy ways.

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Share your thoughts on this blog post below...

    8 replies to "Bipolar Meditation – Could This Be The Answer?"

    • Haroun Kola

      Living with a bipolar person and I can say that its not fun at all, I’ve probably only witnessed the manic, hyper phases

      • Project Meditation

        Thank very much for taking the time to comment and share your experience with us Haroun Kola. Hope the Blog Post was of help to you.
        Namaste – the Project Meditation Team 🙂

    • Susan Breton

      Thank you for this article. It explains a great deal. I meditate regularly, and have noticed that I’m calmer and able to make better decisions. I’m also happier.
      Bi-polar seems to run in my family. Two of my nieces and a cousin have been diagnosed with it, and my granddaughter is suspected of being bi-polar. She is 13 years old and has not yet been diagnosed by her psychologist/psychiatrist, although she is on medication. Her father, my ex-son-in-law, is also bi-polar. He and my daughter are highly supportive of her.
      I will send this article to all concerned. Thank you again.

      • Project Meditation

        We’re so pleased you enjoyed this blog post Susan and really appreciate you sharing your own personal experience with regards to how meditation is of benefit to Bipolar Disorder.
        If any of those you send the article to wish to see these benefits for themselves, feel free to share our contact ([email protected]) details with them as we have a remarkable free meditation course they could each download instantly and begin practicing. Namaste – the Project Meditation Team 🙂

    • Pamela de Jager

      I have been using the 1st 20 min Life Flow meditation for a while now.I find it helps me a lot as I do suffer from Bipolar intense mood shifts,& find listening to the music most restoring & relaxing.Pam de Jager

      • Project Meditation

        That really is music to our ears Pamela. We’re so pleased to hear how Lifeflow Audio Technology is helping you with your symptoms of Bipolar.
        The free 8 Minute Demo alone can bring fantastic results when listened to daily : https://www.project-meditation.org/demo-signup/
        Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with us. It truly is appreciated. Namaste – the Project Meditation Team 😉

    • Rikke Duelund

      My husband suffers from bipolar disorder. He is medicated, but sometimes the medicine isn’t enough. He suffers mainly of manic periods. It was very interesting to read that meditation can alleviate some of the symptoms of mania and depression. But it is correctly understood that the meditation preferably eliminate the depressive symptoms? Or is it just as effective against the manic symptoms?
      If he should start to meditate, what would be best?
      1) “Just” to listen to the Life Flow Audio
      2) to listen to Life Flow Audio while he focuses on a mantra
      3) listening to Life Flow Audio while he focuses on his breathing
      4) to listen to a guided meditation?
      5) other?
      In advance thank you very much for the help

      • Project Meditation

        Hi Rikke,
        Thank you very much for taking the time to comment and we’ll have a member of our support team contact you and advise you further in a personal and tailored approach that would suit your husband.
        Namaste – the Project Meditation Team 😉

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