The Ultimate Guide To Mindfulness Meditation & Bipolar Disorder
The Ultimate Guide To Meditation & Bipolar Disorder
An incredibly complex disease, Bipolar disorder has an interwoven variety of biological, psychological, and sociological contributing factors.
From a variety of angles, we discuss 6 ways meditation is the very best way to once and for all, neutralize Bipolar disorder.
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#1 — Meditation Upgrades The Brain's Endorphin & Dopamine Capacity, Smoothing Out The "Highs"
What would happen if a completely sedentary person, out of the blue - no training, decided to one day run a marathon? How do you think they would do? Do you think their legs could handle the rigor and strain of the 26.2 miles?
Obviously not. They would not not make it further than a handful of miles, if that.
Like an untrained marathon runner — during their manic episodes, the Bipolar sufferer’s brain cannot correctly and wholly process the stimulus of extra Endorphins & Dopamine. At least, not like a normal brain.
Rather than a great biblical flood of these feel-good chemicals all hitting your brain at the same time, there needs to be a rising and falling tide, a gentle ebb and flow.
The secret is to introduce Endorphins to the brain in a measured manner, ensuring they remain at healthy levels all the time (without crashing!) — while maintaining the capacity to stay grounded should an unannounced manic neurochemical "100-year" flood disaster strike.
What then, is the very best natural, healthy Endorphin & Dopamine booster? Meditation.
Proven by countless studies, including a 1995 (Harte et al - Biological Psychology Journal) study which found meditation to be even superior to running for naturally boosting Endorphins & Dopamine, meditation is the very best tool to get your feel-good brain chemicals coming and going in the healthiest way possible, training your brain-juice capacity to modulate anything and everything.
For the Bipolar sufferer, this means a highly resilient brain, safe on the mountain top should the valley below happen to flood with euphoric brain chemicals, preventing any potential manic episode.
#2 — Meditation Strengthens The Brain's Emotional Command & Control Center: The Prefrontal Cortex
As humanity evolves, certain brain regions also evolve. While we need our "fear center" Amygdala less and less, the CEO, happiness center, and overall thought orchestrator of the brain, the Prefrontal Cortex, has become more and more involved.
What’s the link? The prefrontal cortex is especially underactive in bipolar disorder, across all mood states — whether the person is depressed, manic, or euthymic.
You can think of the prefrontal cortex as a kind of surge protector, modulating the fight-or-flight fear-center amygdala.
When functioning properly, the smooth flow of electricity is guaranteed. A cool and calm mind, never too high, never ever low.
A broken surge protector means unpredictable and often excessive levels of voltage. Depression, mania, and any other nasty derivative of Bipolar disorder can flourish.
Perhaps history’s greatest, most mentally healthy scientist, the one and only Albert Einstein, had his powerful brain put under the microscope shortly after his death. As modern physics founding father, the great thinker dazzled neuroscientists with what they found.
According to Florida State University researchers, Einstein’s Prefrontal Cortex was incredibly well-developed — exhibiting "densely packed gray matter", while covering "much more surface area" than the typical so called "average joe" brain.
If only it was possible to build your brain up like Einstein, effectively boosting your cognitive and mental health to the highest levels, while bulletproofing yourself to Bipolar disorder. You can!
A landmark 2005 study by esteemed neuroscientists from the University of Massachusetts discovered that the brains of meditation practitioners had much more thickness, density, and activity within their prefrontal cortex — just like Einstein.
Building up this "king of all brain regions" through meditation means dramatically less anxiety & depression, more brainpower, better decision making, super mental & emotional health, the list goes on.
For the Bipolar patient, meditation creates an environmental mismatch with the disease. Redwood trees can’t survive in Antarctica. Bipolar disease can’t survive in the brain of a meditator.
#3 — Meditation Transforms The Mind Of The Bipolar Disorder Sufferer
Known as the great equalizer of the mind, everything, including unbalanced moods, finds balance both during meditation, as well as the hours and days following a session.
In daily life, our experiences often lead to feelings of overwhelm — we don’t often realize just how physiologically attached / linked we are to our thoughts. This lack of awareness is at the very root of Bipolar disorder.
For example, it is quite normal to get annoyed at the group of 4 extra slow side-by-side walkers on the already narrow sidewalk, preventing you and everyone else from passing by. "Maybe I should trip one of them?", some might be thinking but obviously not acting upon.
For most of us in this situation, whether knowingly or unknowingly, the typical stress response gets triggered, releasing a bunch of harmful Bipolar linked hormones (Cortisol), boosting heart rate, shortening the breath cycle, etc.
What separates the mind of a trained meditator is that while his mental reaction of annoyance might be equal to ours, his heart rate, muscle tension, and shortness of breath change very little, if at all. No nasty hormones get released.
His brainwave disruption is also less severe, much shorter lived, snapping back like a rubber band to his default meditative-trained clear / calm / creative mind state.
His cumulative stress, anxiety, and depression never rises above zero-point, while the non-meditator’s tension increases to higher and higher levels with each stressful day-to-day experience.
In time, the untrained mind reaches a breaking point. The road to Bipolar disorder is paved by an accumulation of unchecked stress-responses, day after day, year after year.
It is the passive observation and awareness of the mind during meditation that weaken both the frequency and strength that our disharmonious thoughts have on us.
Once the practice of meditation becomes habitual, the bipolar patient will develop an internal toolkit of skills, such as quickly and easily moving from a state of confusion and anxiety to one of inner peace and calm.
Meditation will lead you to a state of advanced mental awareness, never getting too high or too low, constantly maintaining a well balanced, clear, calm, focused, and creative state of mind.
Once meditation puts you firmly in the driver’s seat of your mind, bypassing Bipolar disorder is just... well, easy!
#4 — Bipolar Disorder Medications (SSRIs) Boost Serotonin: So Does Meditation, But Naturally
Billions of brain cells make your brain, most all of them heavily influenced by the so called "mood stabilizing" neurotransmitter, serotonin.
A very powerful signal relayer, serotonin is widely regarded as the most important brain chemical for the Bipolar sufferer.
Leading Princeton University neuroscientist Dr. Barry Jacobs, believes that depression takes hold when new brain cells are created less and less, over time.
What is the number one trigger for this to happen? Unchecked stress, with age being number two.
Luckily, Bipolar sufferers don’t have to give in to a life of extreme ups and downs. There is an incredibly effective, all natural solution.
Backed by an incredible number of studies (including a highly esteemed University of Montreal research team) — meditation directly boosts serotonin levels to highly balanced, super healthy levels.
Meditation enables a serotonin-abundant neuroparadise, ideal for the growth of fresh brain cells, both preventing and reversing Bipolar disorder and all of its’ nasty effects.
Meditation’s powerful neuron bathing effect makes the brain incredibly resilient to the effects of stress, installing a permanently effective Bipolar "shield," smoothing out the manic, while deactivating the depression.
#5 — Meditation Cools & Quiets The Brain's Primitive "Fear Center" Amygdala
NY Times bestselling author and X-Prize founder, Dr. Peter Diamandis said it well: "Bad news sells because the amygdala is always looking for something to fear."
Best known as the stress, depression, & anxiety center of the brain, our primitive "amygdala" is the prime brain region linked to Bipolar disorder, proven again and again in a number of neuroscientific studies.
Our stone age ancestors needed highly developed amygdalae in their day to day struggle to stay alive. "I think that lion wants to eat me! Better grab my spear or get ‘outta here." Textbook "fight or flight" response.
While our caveman days are over, modern man is still triggering his "fight or flight" stress defense mechanism multiple times per day. Often for no reason other than the inability to cope with daily life.
Society as a whole has confused their amygdalae into treating everyday financial woes, relationship issues, and career problems as real "life or death" situations.
In turn, the body unnecessarily elicits a nasty chemical cocktail of harmful stress hormones, opening the door to a wide variety of mental & physical disease, including (and especially!) Bipolar disorder.
What, then, is the very best way to cool off an overheated amygdala? Meditation.
Harvard neuroscientist Dr. Sara Lazar brain scanned meditation participants before and after an 8 week mindfulness study. What did she find?
Amazingly, the meditators "fear center" amygdalae were not only far less active, but were also physically transformed — they had actually "shrunk" this primitive caveman brain region, in very little time.
This monumental finding has astronomical implications. By successfully deactivating and shrinking the #1 Bipolar disorder linked brain region, meditation makes the brain in essence "bulletproof" to this debilitating mental disease.
Michael Phelps, the 23-time gold medal winning Olympic legend, doesn’t swim in the baby pool. Like Phelps, the brain of a meditator is above and beyond mental and emotional disorders. Win the brain Olympics, discover meditation.
#6 — Meditation Literally "Balances" The Bipolar Disorder Brain
A more recent, yet far-reaching development in the world of neuroscience is the ability for meditation to balance and synchronize the brain hemispheres, creating a super healthy mental and emotional environment incompatible with Bipolar disorder.
Session by session, meditation stimulates your whole nervous system, forcing it to reorganize and optimize on successively higher levels — with a massively upgraded brain being one of the wonderful byproducts.
Through a process called "neurogenesis," meditation’s fresh brain cell generation effectively paves a foundation of well-fortified neural pathways between your left and right brain hemispheres, enabling what doctors call "whole brain synchronization."
A brain in equilibrium naturally re-balances itself no matter the situation, no matter the circumstances. Bipolar beware.
Having a super strong, fit, and well-synchronized brain has been shown to not only quiet the electrical activity within the regions associated with anxiety, anger, stress, depression, & fear — but also the regions associated with benefits far beyond the scope of Bipolar disorder, like higher awareness, super-EQ & IQ, advanced intelligence, creativity, just to name a few.
While scientists are just now becoming aware of the vast benefits of a well-balanced, well-connected brain, they are in certain agreement that this highly advanced mind-state is incredibly beneficial for anyone suffering anxiety, depression, and especially Bipolar disorder.
Science has only just discovered the tip of the iceberg in relation to meditation’s mesmerizing array of benefits.
Transform your nervous system. Balance your brain. Upgrade your life. Discover meditation.
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