How to Mood Map #MoodMapping

I created ‘How to Mood Map’ as part of a project for the NHS in Lincolnshire, UK in 2014.

If you click on the fuzzy photo below, a link will take you to a printable pdf.

Please let me know if you find this useful.

Also, please get in touch if you feel you can help me make this site even more useful.

I’ve been asked “How can I sleep longer without taking any extra medication or drug”?

Something of a breakthrough on sleep?

BipolarSleepAfter many nights of not sleeping more than 3hrs in a block, then at least 2 nights of longest sleep being only from 11pm to 1pm = 2hours!…

The breakthrough? Well, it has been too warm for the typical ‘Brit’ to sleep well. I believe optimum sleeping temperature for most people is about 19’C (66’F). For me, I think it is needs to be several degrees lower. Last night even with all windows open it was 26’C (79’F).

During the afternoon, I had filled hot water bottles with cold water, chilled them in fridge, went to bed with one, and slept 11pm to 3:25am = 4hr 25m in a block, then fetched the other chilled bottle. If you’ve not done this before it may seem odd yet worth finding out if it helps you during any warm/hot nights.

If you do then please let me know how well it works for you?

 

 

About Building Immunity & My Personal Thoughts on ‘Sleep is Number One’

I work for a charitythat shares information about being healthier.

Below is a link to an article from one of our ambassadors. It is about building immunity to be more resistant to diseases, including viruses.

At this time, we are all challenged to look after our own immune system, so as not to allow any specific virus to thrive within us… for the sake of others.

=== Our charities key message continues to be: EAT REAL FOOD ===

I used to facilitate 3-day self-management courses for groups of people with bipolar diagnosis. An important part of that course was, how mood troubles and sleep troubles are always related (maybe 99% of the time). We all found that when we slept well life was so much better.

I gradually came to realize is that focusing on sleep only helped a little. My belief now (for me and perhaps for you too) is that when you start to get most other things right then sleep comes so much more naturally. So, the only thing I would change in Lou Walker’s article is that I would move ‘Sleep’ from number 1 to number 10.

Sleep is essential. It may be the most important thing for good health and healthy moods, yet I find ‘not focusing on it more helpful these days’. I am not expecting many people to agree with that – I am just sharing my thoughts.

A good read: https://louwalker.com/ten-ways-to-support-your-immune-syst…/

Best wishes

Roger

Uitwaaien Therapy

uitwaaien, a Dutch word referring to spending time outdoors in wild and windy weather

I never knew this had a name! It can be great therapy. If by the coast watch out for big waves, otherwise… ENJOY!

 

How I am monitoring my sleep these days

Sleep and Mood are so much linked. I was told this again and again while in hospital in ’97, ’98, ’99.

How to sleep well and monitoring hours slept was a big part of the self-management courses I started attending in June 2000 and went on to teach for the next few years.

I became so good at glancing at the clock every time I woke that I could plot how long I was sleeping to the nearest few minutes and did this for about 12 years. This helped me manage medications and gradually reduce the amount I needed.

It was sometime after coming off all the medications that I came to appreciate the habit I had of looking at the clock the moment I woke, any time, day or night, might be less than ideal.

Just recently I have adopted a new way of sleep monitoring. It is not so precise yet, for me, is very easy. I’d like to share with you.

How I am monitoring my sleep these days

How much influence caffeine has on sleep varies a lot from person-to-person. Many people cope easily with lots of caffeine as teenagers, then by 30, 40, 50 years old suddenly find that coffee late in the day disrupts their sleep. Timing of caffeine intake has certainly been a factor for me for decades.

I was not sleeping well for the first half of 2019, then decided to record every time I had any caffeine. I log how much and at what time for coffee, tea, dark chocolate and cocoa. The immediate effect was that I consumed a little less caffeine and within days I was sleeping better.

I did not plot these results until a few months after moving house and finding I was waking too often in the night. Then the idea of plotting my first drink of the day came to me. This tells me a lot about my sleep because one way I manage my mood is to go to bed when I am tired which most nights is about the same time. Then because I almost always make a hot drink within minutes of getting up, I had near enough been recording my getting up time.

It was a visiting friend who said they were unable to tolerate the chemicals from new carpets that prompted me to keep my bedroom window open all day and all night. The graph reveals a step change from the first 24 hours I kept that window open.

Sleep and MoodHere are just a few of the things I find influence my sleep:

  • Caffeine
  • Fresh air
  • Cool bedroom with enough bedding to stay warm
  • Distanced walked in a day (especially in the evening) matches well with hours slept
  • Not eating late
  • No excessive drinking in evening
  • Darkness – This did not use to matter to me, but sleeping at the front of my new house on a road with only a little traffic at night – each set of car headlights seemed to disrupt my sleep, so now, no gaps in curtains.

 

Fasting 16:8 for steadier mood

As soon as I started taking prescription medications I started eating from early morning to late evening with hardly any breaks. It was something like a 8:16 diet, with at best only going 8 hours overnight without eating and sometimes eating at unearthly hours like 2am, 3am, 4am. This was not good for my body shape or my risk for diabetes.

It was not until several years after taking my last prescription medications that I felt able to tackle this excessive eating. Initially with later breakfast, then gradually further decreasing my eating window.

The outcome is that I am now averaging just under 8 hours between first food and last food and so on average going more than 16 hours per night with no food or calorific drinks.

It has taken effort and discipline, resisting early and late eating and making a note of first and last food times, to be able to share my progress graphically:

Intermittent fasting for improving mood and brain health

How might this help with stabilizing mood and improving health?

  1. Developing discipline would seem to be a good thing.
  2. Possibly the main benefit comes from being able to avoid almost all junk food, as having planned meal-times makes it easier to eat planned foods.

Am I going to stick with this?

  1. Yes
  2. Christmas time could prove tricky although I am certainly not going to get upset if I stray a little
  3. I am not planning to push this further such as 17 hours without food in each 24 although I believe I have proved that is within my grasp
  4. I may experiment with the occasional longer fast as that is said to be very good for health

I hope that by sharing this I am demonstrating just something that is possible as we leave extremes of mood behind us.

 

A simple thought on sleep that I’ve found helpful

Sleep seems to be a lot more about quality than most people seem to think…. and a lot less about quantity than most people seem to think.

I am happiest sleeping anything over 4 hours while ‘med-free’ and waking ready to tackle whatever I most need to tackle.

Are you someone who can do well on only a few hours sleep, while recognizing there is a minimum for you when choices have to be made to ensure you get that minimum hours per 24 hours?

Three dimensional movement – #notjustbipolar – including a great video from Lisa Huck

What is 3D movement all about?

Whether or not we believe we have a mood disorder, depression, bipolar or any kind of disorder, the way our lives ‘pan out’ will depend so much on how we choose to look after our bodies. In some ways, ‘When we look after our body, then our; brain, mind, emotions, feelings and so on can all heal and we can make great progress with what we most want to be doing.’

I found the 15 minute video below on Dr Mercola’s site this morning and I am sharing this freely and as widely as possible.

In the video, Lisa Huck delivers amazing/useful information with a great combination of audio and visual.

If you are sitting, I suggest you stand, if you can, and move as you watch and listen to Lisa Huck of ThriveFNL.

Lisa explains things about our bones and muscles that I believe need to be taught in every school. It matches so well how I have been thinking just that I do not have the training and skills demonstrated by Lisa Huck… Fifteen minutes of brilliance:

Healing – Monica Cassani @BeyondMeds #beyondmeds

I just listened to Monica Cassini being interviewed on the radio. I am keen to share what she says.

Listen here to: Beyond Meds-Alternative to Psychiatry by The Wellness Journey

Monica Cassini

Beyond Meds Blog

Monica says a bit about how she needed to learn to live without psychiatric drugs. However, it is the other things Monica says about her recovery that I am hoping you will be able to listen to and think through.

Monica talks about  sorting out digestive problems (IBS), avoiding foods we are intolerant to, which for many is grains and especially wheat gluten, yoga and doing things like dancing when we have the energy to do so.

For me, Monica’s story is a familiar one. This is what I see in just about everyone who has been through the psychiatric system and is now well. It is recognizing our health (and moods) are dependent on good gut health and activity, such as walking, yoga or similar.

Neither Monica nor I are saying that is everything, it is just that digestion and movement are so often under-estimated by professionals and so often not seen as so important by ourselves when we are at our lowest.

Listen here to: Beyond Meds-Alternative to Psychiatry by The Wellness Journey

 

Five Keys to Mood – Adapted from Mood Mapping by Dr Liz Miller

We can do well in life and avoid disorders by paying attention to our five keys to mood and well-being:

  • SURROUNDINGS – Do we have a good enough home in a good enough neighbourhood and do we get outdoors?
  • HEALTH – Are we eating the right things that allow us to be active, sleep well and think clearly?
  • AUTONOMY – Do we have purpose in our lives and are we achieving some of what we want to be doing?
  • RELATIONSHIPS – Who are we supporting and who supports us?
  • EDUCATION – What do we know and what can we share?

We get over disorders by:

  • spending time in SURROUNDINGS that suit us
  • looking after our physical HEALTH
  • keeping HOPES alive and being able to ‘do our thing’ including being creative or productive
  • paying attention to our RELATIONSHIPS
  • continuing to LEARN and adapting to a changing world

Possibly you have only been paying attention to some of these keys to mood and well-being? This is okay because many people get by focusing just the things they feel are key for them.

What we believe is that sometimes it is necessary to re-look at the FIVE KEYS TO MOOD as part of restoring BALANCE to our lives.

Mood Mapping – Dr Liz Miller – About the Mood Map grid

Dr Liz Miller’s book, Mood Mapping – Plot Your Way to Emotional Health, has two main themes:

    1. The Mood Map grid
    2. The Five Keys to Mood

The Mood Map grid is a simple, visual way to understand and record the way you feel.

It can be used to explain why some of us can be convinced we are ‘bipolar’ and how many of us are coming to realise we never were that ‘bipolar’ at all.

If you want to understand your moods or think your bipolar diagnosis may not be right then the Mood Map grid is the place to start in understanding what is going on with your feelings and moods and how to live a life without being so ‘bipolar’.

Marian Moore says, “Mood can change in an instant or gradually over time. Some people are ‘morning people’, others more nocturnal. Some days are better than others. Mapping your mood helps you see when you are at your best, your worst, and even when it might be better just to stay at home!”

Mood Mapping allows us to increase our self-awareness by allowing us to know more about how we feel and gives insights into why we do the things we do. It develops our observing-self, enabling us to see moods or emotions for what they are, and not being caught up and overwhelmed by them.

Why map our moods?

Stress, anxiety, exhaustion, and depression have always been difficult to quantify and many people find it difficult to say which of these they are experiencing. Yet without measuring these, it can be difficult to know whether things are changing much at all.

Music may help you feel better, but how much better? Is quiet meditation more effective for you? Can this effectiveness be measured and described to others? Which foods improve your mood? Without an effective way of measuring mood it is difficult to know what is affecting your mood most.

By knowing and being able to accurately describe our moods we can become better at helping ourselves and finding the help we need when we need it.

Mood Map grid

Mood Map grid

The Mood Map grid as originally developed by Dr Liz Miller:

Mood is said to have two main components:

ENERGY – shown as up and down on the map

POSITIVITY – Essentially how you feel, shown as left and right on the map

The two axes divide the map into four quarters which describe the four basic moods;

  1. Tired (which can include good reflective moods as well as normal exhaustion and abnormal depressive states)
  2. Anxiety
  3. Action
  4. Calm

Moods affect not just how a person feels but also how they behave

For example, a small child runs towards a busy road;

–       a person who is very TIRED may think “How awful, that child may die, I wish I could do something”

–       a person who is already in a mood of high ANXIETY may panic and scream.

–       a person in the ACTION mood – runs to the child and whisks them away from danger.

–       a person who is CALM can think how to avert the danger without unnecessarily alarming people.

In this example the positive moods of ACTION and CALM seem great. The reality is that there are no good or bad moods. There is a time and a place for every type of mood. As we learn from Mood Mapping, it is the ability to change to the mood we need at any particular moment that allows us to be healthiest and work well with those around us.

A Scientific Perspective

Mood most likely comes from the deepest part of the brain, where the sympathetic (flight and fight) and parasympathetic (housekeeping) part of our nervous system join. Thus when we wake up, we immediately become aware of how we feel, and then the rest of the brain can gradually work out why we feel that way, and what we are to do next.

Mood Mapping is a simple technique that is easy to learn and easy to teach.

The first step is to plot your mood at this moment by estimating how much energy you have and putting a mark on the vertical axis.

Plotting on mood map

Plotting on mood map

Then estimate how good or positive they feel and plot that on the horizontal axis. The Mood point is where vertical and horizontal marks on the graph cross.

The Mood Point can be labelled with the time and perhaps a quick note why you feel the way you do. If you feel this is not the right mood for you at this time then maybe think what you have done in the past that has helped you get the mood you want now.

Plot another point later, to see if your choice has been effective.

 

Thanks to Marian and Liz for allowing me to adapt their article from http://www.krysan.org/index.php/holiday

This is just the start of Mood Mapping. Next article: The Five Keys to Mood

MILLER, LIZ Dr., (2009), Mood Mapping: Plot your way to emotional health and happiness, pub. London, Rodale

Feelings, energy and thinking – its normal, not #bipolar

feelings and energy and thinking

Emotions can be considered to be a mix of our feelings, our energy and our thinking.

Perhaps almost everything now called ‘mental illness’ may really be ’emotional distress’.

Calling it something different does not solve our problems. It is just that when we recognize our troubles are to with emotions rather than being an illness or a specific disorder, then we can help ourselves and help those we care for by gaining a better understanding of emotions.

 

What are we recovering from? #bipolar #anxiety #grief

Full recovery?

People have always recovered from mood disorders. We get anxious then get less anxious. We feel exhausted, then after a rest feel energetic again.

Is it fair to talk of ‘full recovery’? Does anyone ever fully recover? Maybe it all depends on what we believe we are recovering from?

For thousands of years it was considered normal for moods to vary throughout each day. During the 20th century a new idea formed that any more than small changes in mood were a sign of illness. By 1980 this idea allowed the new diagnosis/label of bipolar disorder. Gradually the meaning of bipolar has expanded such that only those whose moods hardly change at all can be sure of not being described as bipolar.

If we step back from the idea of most of us having mood disorder and think about what caused our moods to appear disordered, then by tackling the causes we can expect to recover. If, in our minds, we can very nearly eliminate the original cause then we can very nearly eliminate its effects on our moods.

For example, after a relative died I saw a psychiatrist. I had never met him before. After our 50 minute meeting he wrote to my GP to say that in his opinion I was suffering a mood disorder and in his opinion I was a catatonic schizophrenic. I got over my relative dying (I just have a little cry now and then) but getting over a label like catatonic schizophrenic takes a lot longer. It is a shame the psychiatrist was not able to simply write that I was grieving.

Full recovery used to be defined as being able to get back to what you used to do. Theses days I wonder if it is more about being able to move on to what you want and need to be doing.

Bipolar Disorder Shortens Another Life #bipolardisorder

Bipolar trainer – could this be the world’s most dangerous profession?

Tomorrow I am going to another friend’s funeral. The weather forecast is not great 4’C with light rain. I have shed a few tears today and no doubt will shed a few more tomorrow.

Various reports suggest that being labelled with a mental illness will shorten our lives by 15 to 20 years. In Andrew’s case it would seem to have been a lot more than 20 years. Is speaking out against the mental illness system also a factor in shortening our lives?

Time to move on #foodandmood #anxietynotbipolar

When things get too painful it is time to make changes

From my time on psychiatric drugs I have suffered from bad abdominal pains.

It took a long time and a change of GP to have these pains taken seriously. It seems that most GP’s simply see us as ‘complex incurable mental illness patients, who should not be wasting resources that can be better used on those who are considered to be sane. (Is this unfair on the UK National Health Service?)

My new GP helped me in proving the pains were largely caused by too much wheat gluten/dairy produce/chicken eggs/onion. This combined with too much stress!

Better food choices helped but I was still working too much work and still saying ‘Yes’ to every opportunity that came along.

I was up most of last night with severe abdominal pain. I simply failed to read a food label. Now I know I need to make changes or I’ll end up in front of a psychiatrist again. The thought of more psychiatric treatment is frightening after a decade of relative wellness.

I am going to see a nutritionist privately.  I am grateful for the help from the NHS (three appointments with a dietician and an endoscopy) while realising this is about the limit, for a disabling but non-life-threatening condition.

I am thinking now about how pain can help us to move on. Without ‘listening’ to our pains we would just keep doing the same things and get more and more unwell.

I am left wondering how many others have developed food intolerances after taking psychiatric drugs?

Please share your thoughts on how often there seems to be a link between drugs and long term digestive troubles.

Thank you

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