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Activities for Mood Stabilization

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Living With Bipolar Disorder: A Guide For Individuals and Families by Michael W. Otto, Noreen A. Reilly-Harrington, Robert O. Knauz, Aude Henin and Jane N. Kogan aims to help suffers learn how to better recognize mood shifts before they happen, minimize their impact, and move on with their lives. This book teaches individuals with bipolar disorder how to work together with their family and friends to take charge of their illness and get the most out of professional treatment. In the excerpt below the authors provide some ideas for stress-busting activities. Check back later today for some tips for parents of bipolar children.

The following list is designed to stimulate ideas for activities that may improve your weekly pleasure as well as provide stress-buffering effects. In considering the list, think of the variations on themes that may make an activity especially rewarding. For example, going swimming at a local pond instead of the local pool or grilling in a local park instead of your backyard may make your activity more memorable. Likewise, little things added to a regular activity—buying your favorite childhood candy at the movie theater or fixing a cup of hot chocolate to drink while reading a novel—transform an experience by evoking past pleasant memories.

Because the mood-promoting effects of exercise are powerful, the list begins with these activities. Any level of exercise is a good start, but over time, for exercise to have its desired effect on mood, you should exercise for 30 minutes a day, three days per week. When you go through the list, check off those activities of most interest to you.

■ Take daily walks for pleasure9780195323580.jpg
■ Jog (park, track, gym)
■ Rollerblade
■ Ride a bicycle
■ Go swimming
■ Go windsurfing
■ Try sailing
■ Paddle a canoe or kayak
■ Go fishing in a local stream or pond
■ Go skiing
■ Go ice skating
■ Play tennis
■ Kick around a soccer ball
■ Join a softball league
■ Play volleyball
■ Shoot baskets with a friend
■ Set up a racquetball date
■ Call two friends and go bowling
■ Play with a frisbee
■ Take a kid to mini golf
■ Start a program of weight lifting
■ Take a yoga class
■ Go to an indoor rock climbing center—take a lesson
■ Build a snow fort and have a snowball fight
■ Walk in the snow and listen to your footsteps
■ Catch snowflakes in your mouth
■ Sign up for a sculpting class
■ Bake a cake
■ Draw
■ Paint (oils, acrylics, watercolor)
■ Climb a tree
■ Go for an evening drive
■ Go to a drive-in movie
■ See a movie
■ Volunteer to work at a soup kitchen
■ Join a museum Friday night event
■ Write a letter to a friend
■ Sing a song
■ Play a musical instrument
■ Take an art class
■ Walk a dog
■ Volunteer to walk dogs for a local animal shelter
■ Play with children
■ Visit a pet shop and look at the animals
■ Sit in the sun
■ Read in a rocking chair
■ Sit on a porch swing
■ Go for a hike
■ Learn to knit
■ Do a crossword puzzle (every day for a week)
■ Go out for an ice cream sundae
■ Rent a garden plot at a local farm or community space
■ Grill dinner in the backyard
■ Take a bath at night with candles around the tub
■ Read the newspaper in a coffee shop
■ Schedule a kissing-only date with your romantic partner
■ Order hot chocolate in a restaurant
■ Buy flowers for the house
■ Get a massage
■ Reread a book you read in high school or college
■ Bake cookies for a neighbor
■ Have a garage sale (perhaps with a neighbor)
■ Wear purple
■ Start a program of daily morning sit-ups or push-ups
■ Get an atlas and look up a country you don’t know about
■ Buy a spool of wire and make a sculpture
■ Go to an art museum and fi nd one piece you really like
■ Buy a magazine on a topic you know nothing about
■ Polish all of your shoes
■ Buy a new plant
■ Clean out a closet
■ Write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper
■ Repaint a table or a shelf
■ Go to a diner for breakfast
■ Devote a meal to cooking red, white, and blue foods
■ Plan an affordable three-day vacation
■ Start a collection of heart-shaped rocks
■ Find your top three favorite videos on YouTube and share them with a friend
■ Woodworking—build a table or a chair
■ Burn a CD of your favorite movie music
■ Take a dance class
■ Learn to fold dollar bills into origami creatures
■ Soak your feet in warm water
■ Learn to juggle
■ Clean and polish the inside of your car
■ Go to a concert
■ Meditate
■ Organize a weekly game of cribbage or bridge
■ Look at a map
■ Plan a drive in the country
■ Sew some napkins
■ Make a pizza and bake it
■ Buy a cookbook and make three new meals
■ Read a novel
■ Listen to your favorite song from high school . . . really loudly
■ Rent a video, make popcorn, and invite friends over

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3 Responses to “Activities for Mood Stabilization”
  1. Rosanne Marshall says:

    Wonderful mood stabilising activities suggested – wish I lived in the States where more of these are available.

  2. Lynn says:

    These are really good buffer zone ideas.

  3. [...] suffers learn how to better recognize mood shifts before they happen, minimize their impact, and move on with their lives. This book teaches individuals with bipolar disorder how to work together with [...]

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