Looking after your mental health may entail multifaceted treatment. Most people benefit from some combination of therapy and medication. However, it’s also important to consider the numerous natural remedies for Bipolar or Borderline Personality Disorder.
Living with depressive symptoms, mood swings, or manic episodes can feel tumultuous. Here are some of the best natural remedies that can help manage bipolar and borderline disorder:
Eating a well-rounded diet of nourishing foods is beneficial for both your physical and emotional well-being. The mind and body are inherently connected. Focusing more on what you eat can impact your mood and energy levels.
Eat More Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Scientists have long investigated the relationship between fish and depression symptoms. In regions where people tend to consume significant amounts of fish, depression is less pervasive. The answer may come down to omega-3 fatty acids.
Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids boost brain function and support overall mental health. Anchovies, sardines, salmon, chia seed, and flaxseed all contain this type of acid, and you can also consider taking a supplement.
Get More Vitamin B6 and B12
People who have higher intakes of Vitamins B12 and B6 tend to have reduced depressive symptoms and better levels of cognitive functioning.
Vitamin B12 is found in most meat and dairy products and some fortified cereals and granola bars. These vitamins, in particular, help with neurotransmitter communication, and they may help improve symptoms of mood disorders.
Check Your Vitamin D Levels
A meta-analysis examining over ten studies found that people with psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorder had higher rates of vitamin D deficiencies. If you haven’t already, consider getting your levels checked.
You can obtain Vitamin D naturally through bright sunlight or by consuming certain foods like salmon and fatty acids. You may also want to consider Vitamin D supplements.
Eat More Folic Acid
There are some promising studies that folate– which is found in dark leafy greens and legumes- can help reduce depressive symptoms. Folate is also beneficial for cognitive impairment, and research shows it may be valuable for people with bipolar disorder who experience bad side effects with SSRIs or lithium.
Drinking water is integral for every core function within your body. We all have individual hydration needs, but you should generally strive to get at least 60-100 oz of water per day. Drink more if you feel thirsty or if you’re especially active.
Be Mindful of Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is a stimulant, and while it’s generally considered safe in moderate amounts, too much of it can exacerbate manic symptoms. Caffeine also coincides with other problems, including sleep disturbances, insomnia, jittery feelings, and restlessness.
Avoid or Limit Alcohol Intake
People with bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder need to be cautious when using mood-altering substances. Alcohol, in particular, can cause problems because it lowers your inhibitions and can trick you into doing things that you will later regret.
In addition, there’s a strong relationship between substance use disorders and mental disorders. If you suspect you drink too much, consider cutting back or abstaining altogether. You will feel physically better, and you may notice significant improvements in your mental health.
Getting enough sleep is crucial for people with bipolar disorder or other mood disorders. Sleep deprivation can make you feel irritable and depressed, and it can also deplete your physical well-being. Aim to protect your sleep as you would protect a good friend. A rested body tends to be a nourished, happy body.
Here are some helpful strategies to implement for good sleep hygiene:
Engage In a Consistent Evening Routine
Routines provide a crucial sense of structure, and they can alert the body that it’s time to unwind. Keep a simple routine before bed and try to start it at the same time each evening.
Aim to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day. Even if it feels challenging at first, your body will eventually adapt, and it will respond well to consistency.
Keep Your Room Cool and Dark
Colder temperatures tend to help people fall asleep quicker, and they tend to promote better sleep overall. If your room is too warm, you may feel physically uncomfortable, and that can cause you to toss and turn at night.
Avoid High-Stress Conversations at Night
If possible, try to avoid emotionally-charged material during the evening hours. This content can stay fresh in your mind as you get ready for bed, and it can make it hard to relax and settle in for the night.
Limit Blue Light Exposure
Blue light may trick the brain into thinking it’s daytime, and when the brain thinks it’s daytime, it doesn’t produce the right melatonin production. Try to avoid using electronic devices for at least 30-60 minutes before bedtime.
Try Light Therapy
If you live in a dark area- or experience seasonal depression- you may want to consider light therapy. These lights can boost your mood and also support your circadian rhythm during the day.
You know that stress isn’t good for you, but excessive stress can be devastating to your mental health. Ideally, you should try to recognize the physical and psychological factors that trigger depressive or manic symptoms. While you can’t necessarily control what triggers you, you can learn how to manage stress. And as you continue gently confronting those challenging situations, they eventually feel less intense.
Here is the best complementary and alternative medicine for stress management:
Meditation is basically a superpower for staying present when life feels overwhelming. Likewise, meditation comes with so many benefits: better confidence, less stress, and a more positive mood.
You don’t need to meditate formally to have a strong practice. Even getting in the habit of taking several, intentional breaths at a time can help you slow down. Furthermore, try to engage in single-task mindfulness when you can. Doing so helps you stay more present in what you’re doing, which may reduce symptoms of anxiety.
Moderate and Regular Exercise
Getting enough physical activity can boost your mood. When you get your heart rate up, your body releases endorphins, which are feel-good hormones associated with a better mood.
One well-known systematic review on bipolar disorder found that people who exercise regularly tend to have fewer manic symptoms and less-intense depressive episodes. Consistency is key- it matters less about which activity you do and more about how well you can commit to doing it.
Consider Your Vices
Many people struggle with compulsive behaviors as a way of self-soothing or self-medicating. You are not a bad person if you overeat or compulsively shop, or watch too much TV. You are simply trying to cope the best you can, and sometimes it feels good to numb out.
But try to be careful of these patterns. The more you engage with them, the more compelling they feel. In the long run, the numbing effect never works. You’re just left feeling more ashamed and secretive. You can’t improve your mental health symptoms by simply ignoring them.
Build a Positive Support System
No matter how many lifestyle changes you try to make, if you surround yourself with cynical or toxic people, you will feel stunted in your growth.
Treating your mental health may mean reassessing who you spend your time with. People in your life should support your well-being and want what’s best for you. They should also be actively taking care of themselves- you don’t want to feel responsible for taking care of everyone else.
Acupuncture is part of a well-known traditional Chinese medicine that may improve emotional regulation and enhance mood. People who seek regular acupuncture often enjoy the benefits of relaxation and decreased anxiety.
Final Thoughts on Alternative Medicine
If you’re seeking treatment for your mental health, it’s important to consider how your entire lifestyle impacts your well-being. Everything is connected, and complementary therapies can help reduce distressing symptoms and improve your overall emotional state.
If you’ve recently left a toxic relationship, it’s recommended that in addition to traditional therapy, to also seek a program that can help you deprogram yourself from the devastating effects of narcissistic abuse.
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The true beauty of THRIVE is that it can be completed whether or not you’ve detached from toxic relationships. You will begin to stop reliving your disappointments, losses, setbacks, and failures. You will accept and internalize that true change cannot be achieved by analysis, argument, or intellectualizing. You will stop feeling compelled to engage in fruitless conflicts with toxic people because you are ready to create new habits that will propel you toward a healed self-image and increased confidence.
You may even reach a point where you are no longer terrified by the prospect of leaving your abusive or toxic relationships for good.
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