Hold Fast

By Michael Mitchell

I’ve always been interested in wellness, and became a certified Personal Trainer while working part-time for a nutrition and supplements company to enhance my overall knowledge of health. But when I learned that I had bipolar 2, I expanded my wellness education by reading articles and books like Bipolar Survival Guide by David Miklowitz, and seeing a psychotherapist. I also learned to find the right combination of exercise, sleep, nutrition and supplements to manage my mental health, without having to use pharmaceuticals. Here are a few tips and guidelines that have worked for me…

Circadian Rhythm— Specifically your sleep-wake cycles. Nothing opens the door to mania and depression like irregular sleep patterns. Nothing will regulate your mood as easily and effectively as simply going to sleep and waking up at approximately the same time every day. If you have a job that consistently has you working irregular hours, you’re playing with fire. Even if you have no mood disorder, irregular sleep will compromise how you feel and how you function.

Exercise— It has hundreds of benefits, particularly the endorphin spike that makes you feel better and more confident. Confidence is like a currency within your being that allows you to afford better relationships, obtain more goals, overcome obstacles and equip you to accomplish daily tasks whether they’re related to your work life or personal life. In addition to working out regularly, here are some supplements that I recommend for anyone suffering with a mood disorder:

Vitamin D— I supplement this one religiously, being sure to take it with fats so that it absorbs properly. Vitamin D is excellent for almost everything: the bones, the brain, the muscles, the heart, fat loss and muscle gain.  Most of us do not get enough of it.

Omega 3s— They’re benefit on the brain being sharper, the mood being calmer and the skin being clearer are all things that help me in being a happier camper.

Probiotics— Your stomach is your second brain. It just so happens that a significant amount of your neurotransmitters are created in your stomach.  Probiotics keep the stomach functioning at its best.

Protein— Protein is absolutely necessary in anyone’s body, and if you’re exercising regularly, I suggest you supplement in addition to your diet. Plus! Protein is extremely important to the brain, assisting it in cognition, paying attention and functioning optimally.

GABA— Yes, you can supplement it. I highly recommend it to people who have problems sleeping. GABA, the same neurotransmitter that says, “Shhhh, tell me in the morning!”, is probably the best supplement at helping you to calm down and sleep.

Magnesium— This mineral helps you sleep better, reduce insomnia, improve brain function, fight depression, and build more muscle. It’s also excellent for treating ADHD and hyperactivity.

It’s important to understand that as much as there’s a variety of health, nutrition and exercise strategies that help with mood disorders, they can be incredibly difficult to deal with, and, from my experience, sometimes feel impossible. Educate yourself, develop healthy habits and hold fast to what’s right for you.

Michael Mitchell 2Michael Mitchell is a certified personal trainer who specializes in nutrition, supplements and natural methods of improving health and wellness. Having experienced and overcome many obstacles associated with mental health and addiction, he is committed to inspiring people through his own example.

His first book, Drug Free June: A Hypomanic Episode, is soon to be published.

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