I just listened to a guided meditation on the Calm app. It was about reactivity, grasping and aversion.
I’m not a mindfulness instructor, but the gist is this… throughout the day we have hundreds of thoughts, of many different types… Some are doing thoughts, ‘empty the dishwasher’, some are planning thoughts, ‘don’t forget to call them dentist’, some are worries, ‘I’m not clever, beautiful, interesting enough’, some are happy ‘I love my dog’, etc etc, you get the idea.
It’s how we treat and react to these thoughts that’s the interesting bit. You can react as soon as the thought pops into your head, but sometimes that’s not the best thing, especially if it’s a negative thought. There are a few ways to train your brain to think and act differently. Read a mindfulness book or go on a CBT course if you haven’t already.
A couple of strategies are:
1. You can label the thought ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘stressful’, etc. Categorising a thought can help you to be less reactive to it.
2. You can observe the thought. Be present and see what emotions come up. All of them are valid. Let them wash over you and then put that thought behind you.
If you do let a negative thought in there are ways to reduce the impact and be less reactive. You can count or meditate or do anything else that works for you in that moment. If I’m feeling stressed and feel my anger levels rising, I simply take myself out of that situation. Even five minutes on my own can help defuse stress.
It’s really tough. Most people with BP1 or 2 will have felt intense irritation and anger. It’s how you deal with it that shapes your life and recovery.
It can work. I’m living proof. I hope you can be too.