Eight Ways to Calm Down a Hypomania – Self-Help for Hypomania
After a stressful day, I’m hypomanic and it brings to mind my self-help tips for how to calm down a bipolar hypomania. These tricks might not be available or work for everyone, but here’s what I do to calm down my hypomania.
Why Is Hypomania a Problem? Why Calm Hypomania Down?
Some people would tell you that bipolar hypomania is not a problem and they have no desire to calm it down. Well, that certainly is your prerogative, but, in my rather learned opinion, the higher you fly, the farther you fall and the bigger a crater you make when you get there so it behooves me (and you) to calm down bipolar hypomania whenever you can.
Self-Help for Hypomania – How to Calm Down Your Hypomania
Here are some things to consider if you’re hypomanic and you want to calm down:
- Try meditating. Now, meditating isn’t for everyone and if you try to start meditating when you’re hypomanic, you’re likely to fail, but if you have a regular mindfulness meditation practice, now would be the time to put it into action.
- Exercise. Personally, I’ve never found this useful (actually, it tends to make me more hypomanic) but some people do find that they can “burn off” their hypomanic energy through exercise. You could try something cardio-intensive to burn off energy or try something like calming like yoga to try to bring yourself down directly.
- Try progressive muscle relaxation. Progressive muscle relaxation is sort of like meditating but it’s easier because it’s physical and It’s really simple. Lie on the floor and simply work from the top of your body to the bottom or the bottom to the top and clench each muscle as hard as you can for five seconds and then release. Then move on to the next muscle. This will progressively relax your whole body. Really. Do it more than once if you need to.
- Take your PRN medication. PRN medication is taken “as needed.” So some people, myself included, have medications that we can take when things get bumpy. Typically this medication is a benzodiazepine (like Ativan) or an antipsychotic (like Seroquel). These medications can be used to calm a hypomania or even to induce sleep.
- Use blue light-blocking glasses. Blue light is the type of light that tells your brain it’s time to wake up and be energetic and this is exactly the wrong message to give if you’re hypomanic. And the trouble is, if you’re reading this right now, you’re making it worse because electronics all emit a fair amount of blue light (as do the lighting fixtures in your home). The solution is simple though: just pop on a pair of blue light-blocking glasses. They’re cheap on Amazon and you can get a pair that can fit over your existing glasses if you need them. (These are also great every night when you’re calming down to go to bed. Wear them an hour before bedtime in help induce sleep.)
- Remove distractions. Hypomania may make you want to seek distractions and stimuli. Don’t listen to this urge. Instead, turn off lights, turn the volume down on the television, turn music off and do something simple, if you can, like read a book, write in your journal or pet your kitty or doggy.
- Practice deep breathing. When I’m hypomanic I’m fast, fast, fast. I know it. I know that I’m fast-forwarding. I also know that if I force my body to slow down with deep breathing that can affect how fast my brain is moving.
- Sleep. If I allow my hypomania to block my sleep I know I’m going to get out of control very quickly so I know that sleep is essential for me. When I’m hypomanic, I have to take extra medication to sleep, but it’s worth it when I wake up the next day in a semi-normal state.
And while these are eight ways to calm a hypomania, really they are meant to all be used in conjunction or one after another. That said, don’t feel overwhelmed to do it all if that’s too much for you. If it makes sense, try one, see how it works, and then move on to another one if you can.
When You’re Calming a Hypomania, Remember . . .
Remember, you should also be reaching out for help if hypomania is a problem for you and this includes always informing your doctor of its presence. Because, after all, none of the above eight might work and you might find yourself in full-blown mania and then you may do something you later really regret (like putting yourself or someone else in danger). So while I’m all for self-help methods for dealing with hypomania, you also need to remember that you can’t fight its existence alone. Your healthcare team needs to help, too. It’s what they’re there for.
Inline image from Wikipedia.
Banner image by Brenda Clarke.
About Natasha Tracy
Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.