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The Science that Helped Me Help Myself: 9 Steps to Balance

Ever since I was a kid I loved biology, chemistry, science of any kind really! I found the world and all of its creatures incredibly fascinating! Unfortunately, when I received my bipolar diagnoses at age 17, that began to change. I was put on various medications trying to find what “worked for me,” and the resulting brain fog, fatigue, and lack of emotional excitement for life and education in general made it nearly impossible to keep up where I once excelled. So I transferred to lower level sciences, took easier classes, and overall stopped challenging myself. Little did I know the long term damage I was causing. You see, by not stimulating my brain I was only contributing to its demise. Something I didn’t even realize until a few years ago.

Here is where things truly started to change for my betterment and I believe for the betterment of the entire bipolar community:

Based on MRI studies done on patients with bipolar disorder at the University of Oslo published in 2017, it was found that the major contributing factor to lack of inhibition and emotional disregulation was deterioration of the patients’ gray matter in the brain.

When I first discovered this I was fascinated! I had to learn more! So I started taking a neuroscience class, reading books, studying up online, watching every YouTube video I could. It was the first time in 7 years I had a yearning for this kind of knowledge. I wanted so deeply to learn about myself! And the more I studied it begged the question... What could be done naturally to stimulate gray matter production in my brain?

From various sources of study, here is what I found most important to increase my brain’s functionality:

  1. Adequate sleep

  2. Regular exercise: Physical and Mental

  3. Hydration

  4. Healthy Diet & Supplementation

  5. Avoiding Harmful Substances

  6. Lowering Stress through Mindfulness Activities

  7. Less Theatrical Entertainment: GET OFF Netflix and Socials!

  8. Spirituality

  9. Meaningful Work


When you suffer from a mood disorder, anything less than 7 hours sleep is going to be detrimental. For me personally I feel the most balanced after a full 8. Anything less and my mood swings are more than noticeable. You can ask my husband.

I understand that, in points of mania, getting adequate sleep can seem nearly impossible. But when accompanied by the 8 practices laid out above, I have personally found getting the sleep I need incredibly realistic, even if I begin to slide into mania. And as God told Peter when he was emotionally distraught, I am a firm believer in eating a snack and taking a nap!

Getting adequate sleep is so important for our brains’ ability to calm, mood regulate, focus, and practice self restraint. Is this something you struggle with?


When we regularly engage in physical activity:

  1. Our muscles produce cytoki