Recovery

6 Essential Coping Strategies for Bipolar Disorder

G.J. Gregory Oct 5th, 2012 (updated Aug 10th, 2015)
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I’m often asked how to cope with bipolar disorder. It is a question all of us with the disorder are asked. The truth is, sometimes we cope successfully, and sometimes we do not. And I will be the first to admit that my manifestation of bipolar disorder is not the same as the next person’s, and their level of functionality may be far different from mine. But the principles of coping should be the same no matter what. I have a way, silly as it is, to remember my personal coping method.

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Routine
Routine

When I get pulled out of my routine, I run into problems. I try to go to bed at about the same time at night. I get up at the same time. I work out at the same time. I go to work, come home, eat, write, or do other activities, go to bed and do it again. When my body and mind know what to expect, they are so much easier to work with.

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Activities
Activities

I don’t live to work, so my activities are what I really enjoy. I love to camp, fish and bike. I take a hunting trip with my father and brother each year. My wife and I visit garage sales on Saturdays. In other words, I have a lot to look forward to. I hate to miss any of them, and will do everything I can to be healthy enough to participate.

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Passion
Passion

To some degree, this goes along with “Activities”, but it encompasses so much more. What is it that you’re really passionate about? We must have passion in our lives. Now for a caveat: I am not talking physical passion. That is a different type of passion, which, while enjoyable and perhaps necessary, can be perilous to our frame of mind for so many reasons.

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Purpose
Purpose

I strongly believe we all have a purpose in life, and I don’t believe that purpose is pre-ordained. Through the hardships we face, and the decisions we make, our purpose usually becomes increasingly clear as we move through life. The important point is to keep watching for the way that we can make a difference in the world.

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Exercise
Exercise

I can’t stress enough how important an exercise program is to a healthy mind and body. There is a book that has changed my life, and it will change your life if you let it. It’s called “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge. It’s written with an over-40 audience in mind, but will motivate and change anyone’s view of exercise in life.

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Devotion
Devotion

We all need a spiritual side to our lives. We need to be devoted to our particular form of spirituality.  I’m not about to tell you what is right, as finding it is one of our great purposes in life. And what is right for me is not necessarily right for you. But when things get bad, we need that hope, that way of reaching out and embracing our beliefs.