Habits Its Relevance With Well-being

By Mahatma Gandhi, “Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits.” Habits, what is its relevance with wellness?

I was advised to draw out a schedule and follow through it faithfully. And practicing Gandhi’s saying, I make sure my behaviors are positive, first to ward off Bipolar-depression, next to keep to my schedule. In my case, cultivating positive behaviors with a schedule in place is challengingly difficult especially when I was in the midst of depression.

TimeAs said schedules would lessened the likelihood of a Bipolar relapse. Time, which everyone has, is a fixed component of a schedule. It is like we have three meals a day breakfast in the morning, lunch at noon, and dinner in the late evening. Human beings plan their behaviors along the time-line to get things done. So I go to work from 9am to 5pm on a daily basis, I do my grocery shopping on a weekly basis and I visit my dentist once every year, are plans I made. Ideally, with schedules, positive behaviors becoming good habits, should be able to counter my depression.

More often than usual, I observed I could not follow through the schedule. The list of tasks planned to be done in certain blocks of time would be interrupted, at worst disrupted. Unable to complete whatever that was scheduled, could turn on the tap of my anxiety, or discourage further my already depressed mode to a state of inertia. Schedules seem not to sit well on me, yet I need them as it is a helpful tool to fully optimize it. Time efficiently used is a form of well-being.

I was delighted to enjoy a shift in perspective from drawing up a schedule to cultivating habits. They work hand-in-hand for my sanity and effectiveness. More often than not, schedules do go awry and habits do not, however they are different concepts in cultivating wellness.

My job scope includes taking care of the plants and keeping the garden neat (at least no falling leaves). Should I schedule it before breakfast, I would find myself skipping it to breakfast directly. How about after food, the likelihood of getting it done seems higher but not foolproof. I always find the garden strewn with falling leaves at the end of a day. That upsets me as I have not followed my plan nor honored my promise to be a good worker. Schedule is apparently not working to my advantage.

Should I change my approach and schedule a time allotment of 30-45 minutes, I am to do the garden tasks on a daily basis. There’sPotted Garden no fixed time to do it. I can choose when to do, as long as I complete it before I knock off for the day. Here I have a daily schedule that develops a habit, not bound by time but aided with flexibility. What I find it attractive is I have begun to enjoy the work – taking care of the garden. My motivation to water plants is not out of sympathy (Oh these plants, poor souls, they’re unable to move to reach out for water). I am more proactive in caring for them, removing fallen leaves in the pot (that block off sunlight and hinder the soil from breathing), removing weeds or creepers to prevent them from encroaching the plants.

This change in perspective smooths out the rough edges of Bipolar disorder. It has empowered me, given me opportunities to enjoy being, as a living person with an illness, meeting my goals on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. As time unfolds, I get to focus on the task, not about having to do this by 12 noon nor get the report out in an hours time. Schedules are there to give us a framework of how time need to be spent while cultivating habits gives me confidence, freedom, a sense of well-being.

Beating Bipolar – “The Live We Live & The Life We Choose To Live”

Blake LeVine rise above his mental illness and write the book, Beating Bipolar, it is about practical and tested strategies to manage Bipolar Disorder. With his shared experiences, he could relate to and encourage ‘mentally handicapped’ adults to pursue a life that many do not see it as possible.

LeVine, an Author, Life coach, Documentary Filmmaker (Rap Therapy), and as a Therapist, has been in private practice for many years.Blake LeVine's Beating Bipolar

  • Title Beating Bipolar

  • Author Blake LeVine

  • Place & Publisher USA, Hay House, Inc.

  • Publication date 2012 November

  • Edition & Pages (pp) First & pp186

  • Special features NIL

  • Price US$14.52 (Paperback), US$9.99 (Kindle) (Amazon)

  • ISBN 978-1-4019-3951-9

Beating Bipolar Overview

The book Beating Bipolar is intended to be a teaching tool for individuals with Bipolar; it is a compilation of experiences and what the author has learned. LeVine is willing to share, to help people with Bipolar Disorder to manage its symptoms and to reach one’s highest potential. He earnestly hopes that patients boldly accept the diagnosis and its challenges to recovery. With acceptance and being in the right treatment, patients will move forward with purpose and enthusiasm.

Who can control Bipolar?

Are individuals with Bipolar dangerous to the society?
Should not they be locked away or permanently hospitalized?
Should not they just suffer the deteriorating mental illness silently and ill-fatefully?
The author’s line of reasoning to these questions is Self. With Bipolar, individuals who receive treatments are able to control the chronic illness, without limiting to living a life with a job and/or career, loving family and friends.

Afterword: Into The Light, Revisited

LeVine has a heart for people; his illness has bring on his resolution to illuminate others with Bipolar to face their illness squarely and courageously. He cherish his chance in living a life fully – a life with a job, family, friends and life fulfillment. He strongly believes that individuals with Bipolar have control over their chronic illness; they can and are able to manage, and more importantly, overcome the conditions. He encourages everyone with Bipolar to keep learning more about the illness; the knowledge allows us to be aware and proactive in self-care. He reiterates the notion that on the path of recovery, good things can happen. He has instilled confidence to his readers to transform the darkness of mental illness into light.

He hopes that his book, Beating Bipolar serves as a resource and guideline to create strategical plans for treatment, maintenance, and stabilization phases of a recovery process. Also, it can be used as an advice-dispenser to initiate a support system group and a navigational tool to befriend or re-connect with old and new friends. Should you fear of getting well and the possibility of achieving success, Beating Bipolar provides inspirational anecdotes. Importantly, LeVine hopes that individuals with Bipolar have a deeper understanding to the personal responsibility adhered to coping and managing the chronic illness.

I thoroughly …

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Beating Bipolar. As a patient in the treatment phase, I am profoundly encouraged by LeVine. My first reading gives me an idea of what he had been through, and how he believed in patients like me can lead a reasonably contented life. The second reading allows me to logically understand his perspectives and objectives in sharing his experience with Bipolar Disorder. His standpoint is inline with my inklings, medication treatment is inevitable for most of the patients with Bipolar Disorder; psychotherapy or talk therapy is essential to go hand-in-hand with medication. Life tools is a must-have-it for operational or functional activities on a daily basis.

With these basic treatment approach, the next reasonable aspect to be a mentally healthy individual is relationships; any relationships deteriorate whenever Bipolar illness takes control. Building and rebuilding the new or old connections with people around Bipolar patients is an uphill, and can be a demoralizing course in life. LeVine has included the ways to establish a support group or network, and the systematically how-to connect and reconnect with new and old friends.

“Wherever You Are On the Road to Recovery, I Hope Is Becoming Clear to You”

LeVine concluded Beating Bipolar on clarity and compassion. Knowing my past hurts and wounds as well as fond memories, he approach the past with compassion, embracing the Self. Gently, he prod me to open up my mind to new ways of thinking, and patiently, he encourages me to be brave and just go for it. He acknowledges and reminds me to cherish my inner circle of support – family and/or friends. Finally, he gives me many sign-posts, letting me know what the cues are when I am on the road to stability and recovery.

Final Note

I am thankful to Blake LeVine for his book, Beating Bipolar.

The Signals

 

My signals to sleep late and wake up early almost on a daily basis is an extraordinary happening.Sleeping Koala

During the day, when my head aches, it is time to take a long or power nap, depending on the severity of my headaches. The time to take after-dinner snacks can be long or short. The length of time use for snacking is a sign of ill-discipline or habit for emotional-eating. The degree on binge-eating indicates the tiredness my body no longer can shoulder. When I cannot stop snacking, all systems like lack of rational thinking and behavioral conditioning, will be on an orange alert warning-danger. Yes, I have a Danger Warning System in place.

Waking up has been one of my forte. I have this incredibly strange bio-clock that wakes me up, never on time, but 15-20 minutes earlier. At worst timings, I will be up one hour earlier than the real, tangible alarm clock. When there is a need to overwork, coffee usually after 1400 hours tends to be the bio-clock booster. I would get into a deep and restful sleep for less than four hours, and will be awake and alert to do whatever needed to be done as the deadline draws nearer.

With these efficient yet ‘unhealthy’ signals, my physical health has been compromised. What to do then?

For catching my anti-sleep bug in the late and later evening, ideally I would be rational and discipline to do so, that is to get onto bed and sleep. Unfortunately, my snacking bugs would urge me to continue eating when my brain system encountered misfires of go-to-sleep-messages. To counter it, I have discovered that drinking milk or ginger tea at this late hour has quite a success rate. These two beverages seem to be able to send no-more-snacks signals to the messenger-system network of my mind.

Sadly but not so, my bio-clock is somewhat a fStress Headacheavourable lifestyle I have no earnest intention to do it away. Should I feel under-performing for the day, I will take a long nap, one hour or so of power-charge, sufficiently boost my energy level to the much awaited sleep in the night. In this way, my schedule will not be in a hay-wired mess because of lack of sleep. Unfortunately, I have not identified the early-warning signals for my headaches. I was told that we do have signs to pre-empt us when a headache is brewing.

Signals are one of the necessities in being an efficient and happy being. Without respect for it nor ignoring its presence is detrimental to one’s health. To know your body signals is inevitable, so that you and I can achieve well-being, and ultimately our life goals.

So what are your signals? Do you know you can own a body and mind signal system?

Do feel free to leave a comment for this topic. I am open to discussions. Should you want some help to discover your signals, let me know and I can work it out with you.

My Dreams Come True?

2015AD was a turning point,for me, and 2016AD is my dreams come true!My Dreams Come True

“If it is to be, it is up to me.” by William H. Johnsen is one of my favourite quotes.

With this mindset, I take an active and ‘now’ approach to make my dreams come true. ‘Active’ includes mind and behaviour: being persistent in achieving my short and long term goals, and keeping to my vows (vigilance in self-care).

My dreams are an ongoing ‘homework’. I am able to progress in my life-journey, and I am grateful for having experienced my turning point.

In the month of July, 2015AD, my diagnosis, suggestively changed, from Major Depression to Bipolar Disorder. This meant that my medical treatment would change from 60mg of Prozac to only 20mg; and with mood stabilizers like Lamictal, Zyprexa, and Dosulepin.

These four types of medicines are anti-depressant, anti-convulsant, anti-psychotic, and tricyclic anti-depressant: they are believed (supported with scientific research results) to effectively treat Bipolar Disorder. This new treatment was to continue on a fortnightly schedule because my Doctor was cautious about the effects of the new medication regime.

My last doctor’s appointment was in April, and my next will be ten weeks down that road. Treatment intervals have progressed from two weeks to two and a half months…

My perception changed: what used to feel like ‘cloudy skies’, now felt like ‘rays of sunshine’ seeping through those same cloudy skies. I see hope!

I am happy with the new medications. After this treatment phase, I will make greater headway into the maintenance phase. I have no idea how long this will take to achieve stability but I look forward to my full recovery. Then my dreams will come true, one by one.

My Dreams Come True

Writer’s Block Syndrome

alarm-clock-590383_1920Is writing aimlessly a waste of time? I happen to do so especially when I have to face squarely at my writer’s block syndrome. And the syndrome includes

  • staring blankly at the white screen

  • grabbing any comfort food within arms length

  • drinking excessively coffee or tea

  • easily distracted to do things that are irrelevant to writing

  • feeling disheartened, give up to take long naps

  • play online games

To counter these symptoms, I write whatever that comes into my mind. Some would say this is free association. Is it an effective way to counter it? Most often than I wish, no good conceptualized ideas come into view.

Joan Didion, an American author shares “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”

For me, free association in my writings set the tone and momentum to blog. The sound of my fingers on the keyboard is reassuring. I may be writing pointlessly, the act of typing unleashes the creative energy. Also, I can gain clarity as writings help me to find out what my thoughts are.

So is it a complete waste of time? I disagree.