Have you ever had a great day, but then made a mistake that ruined your day? Has anyone ever told you that you don’t take life seriously enough? Has your happy life caused you to fail at things and underachieve? Feeling overly happy or happy all of the time can be intoxicating, and could be considered manic by a mental health professional if also experiencing other symptoms of manic behavior. Here are some tips for remaining happy while living with a manic disorder.
When you are driving, working, or doing something that requires concentration, stay focused. It might seem boring and annoying to hold back your feelings and stay concentrated if you have just received some good news and want to text someone about it right away. If you are listening to a good song on the radio, relax and enjoy it while you drive. If you have to absolutely text someone, stop and pull over so that you don’t harm anyone while you aren’t paying attention to the road.
Most people have enough leisure time to be able to call people, text, or feel good about some good news. You are capable of postponing your gratification until you finish what you are doing. Have you ever been excited about something but had to wait to let yourself be excited until you were free from distractions? The excitement feels just as good if you think about it when you are not preoccupied with work, driving, or in a conversation with someone else.
Worry comes from thinking about the future, and regret comes from focusing on the past. When you focus on the present moment, however, you won’t be worrying so much or regretting everything you do. Similarly, when you focus on the present moment, you won’t be distracted with very pleasant or manic thoughts, which could cause you to make costly mistakes. This includes thoughts of pleasant memories and thoughts of pleasant future expectations. Save these pursuits for their proper time. For example, while you are in the comfort of your home or with friends.
There are certain brain chemicals that help you feel good. Serotonin keeps you feeling good when you do things that aren’t particularly interesting, such as paying bills or taking out the trash. Norepinephrine gets you excited, but can also make you angry. Dopamine puts you in a stupor. You probably experienced a high degree of dopamine on your childhood birthday when you saw your new bicycle. When you have too little of these chemicals you need antidepressant medications. Too much can give you a similar effect as being intoxicated with alcohol or drugs, particularly dopamine. When you are intoxicated, your lower brain where you feel things keeps working, while your upper brain where you think (cerebral cortex) shuts down. This causes you to lose your reasoning when you feel good. Make it a point to focus on what you are doing when you do a task.
Children and teenagers in trouble need to consider the natural consequences of their actions. Parents need to tell their children of natural consequences instead of just telling them they are not allowed to do something because “I said so.” Adults also need to develop this habit. Think very hard about the natural consequences of your actions, especially when you feel too happy to think of the probability of a bad outcome.
This is a continuation of the last do. Teenagers and young adults often feel that they are invincible and get careless about driving, work, and other things when they feel good, much like how they feel when they are not paying attention. This is not meant to sound sarcastic, but remember that when you drive carelessly or don’t do your schoolwork there can be injury, young death, and poor job opportunities in your future. Being mindful of your current situation at all times will help remedy procrastination, carelessness, and mistakes.
You can become intoxicated with happiness. In do #4 there is mention that the brain chemicals that make you happy can take over and harm your reasoning. You can make similar mistakes as if you were intoxicated or high. It is good to feel happy, but you need to be sure you are aware of what you are doing at that particular moment so that you don’t experience a manic episode, causing you to make mistakes where you might otherwise have not.
If you feel like you are becoming intoxicated with manic feelings, you should speak with a mental health professional about a possible mental health condition. Being happy is OK, but being overly happy all of the time for no reason could be a symptom of a manic disorder.
Maybe you are the college student who is just there to have fun, or the worker who never volunteers to do anything extra and happily comes in late every day and think there is no consequences to your actions. The consequences to long term happy mistakes can be great if you fail out of school or are the first to be let go if there are unexpected layoffs.
Many people think that happiness comes from not doing any work and not putting effort into anything. This works for a short time. However, people need to care about things to have a sustained happiness. Enjoyment of leisure can only happen if it is a break from working hard. Have you ever heard of the adage that people without challenges get into trouble? Similarly, people without challenges suffer from anhedonia, the inability to enjoy life. Struggling to succeed, having goals, and engaging in life’s challenges are all part of life. Especially as a person who get manic, you should learn how to cope with challenges so that you can be proud of your hard work.
If this article seems to be saying that it is wrong to be happy, that is not what it is meant. If there is one slogan it’s, “Happiness is for responsible people.” What this means is that happiness comes with hard work and responsible actions.
This article gives you five things to do and five things not to do if your manic happiness is causing you to be careless and get into trouble. You can still be happy if you do the right things at the right time, it just takes being aware of your particular situation and being mindful of your consequences, so that you are able to control your emotions and not cause any accidents or mistakes.
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