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Archive for August, 2011

Hypomania: love it, but leave it

I used to joke that I wished I could make the whole world bipolar because being so would wake people up to their emotions. And now, the prevalence of “mild” bipolar disorder does indeed seem extensive. It was probably always there. I didn’t really wish it into existence. (Did I?) Anyhow, in struggling with my own bipolarity, and annoying (to others) hypomania, I have come up with a kinesthetic method to help people out of the nonstop thinking and feeling that is characteristic of the accelerated end of bipolar disorder (or just of being too quick and too fast in the normal range).

First, you need to know that hypomania, over-thinking, and over-acceleration are encouraged here in theUnited Stateswhere the upbeat, creative, and materially (therefore “obviously”) successful get a lot of positive reinforcement. Therefore, it’s hard to give up hypomanic stuck spots. Like a socially acceptable out-of-balance, really.

Second, you need to recognize that the emotional state of hypomania is more addictive than most other emotions…rather like having your own caffeine, cocaine, or meth internally generated. To get clear on that, let’s dissect it.  The emotion of hypomania appears to be composed of three of the 22 primary emotions (from a Unified Theory of Emotion): excitement, optimism, and aggressiveness. The thing is, if you are excited, optimistic and aggressive, and stuck there, you may feel great, and empowered…but you lack good judgment. You don’t know how, or when, to slow down. You can’t slow down when you need to. You are literally ahead of yourself. It’s ok to be there at times, but staying there is a recipe for things not going as well as they could.

To get a feeling for this (very pleasant and empowering) state (whether you know it well, or you wish you could…) try this physical exercise: 1. wag your tailbone and wiggle with excitement. stop. 2. stretch up tall and taste as if tasting your favorite food in optimism; stop. 3. push forward from your chest (sternum), as if chest-butting, in aggressiveness. That’s how hypomania feels. Great. Powerful. High.

Now, try the moves for insecurity, which is the antidote to hypomania (when you need to ramp down, whether for better focus, or deeper sleep). Yes, insecurity is a good thing, as are all emotions, when they don’t take over your life to the exclusion of other emotions (see The Wisdom Of Insecurity, by Alan Watts). 1. Startle as if pleasantly goosed, in surprise; stop. 2. pout and slouch with pessimism. stop. 3. pull back through your chest/sternum in avoidance (as if dodging out of the path of an object or creature whizzing by in front of you).

Whether you have too much hypomania in your life, or too little, you may find yourself feeling a little icky: the emotion of hate. Stick out your tongue in expression of the cleansing out action of hate, which tells of toxicity: of stuff, whether physical material or mental/emotional habits. Repeat the grounding actions of the three primary emotions of insecurity three times or more. Generally, thisbring over-thinking to a much lower pace, if not a complete standstill.

Note that you can do this exercise in reverse if you are stuck in insecurity.

The balance point is confidence (courage, humility, joy).

Good luck!!

 

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