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Relaxation Techniques For Bipolar Disorder


In my previous article I discussed relaxation techniques for depression.  In this particular article I will describe relaxation techniques for Bipolar Disorder.  They include breathing and progressive muscle relaxation exercises.


Breathing exercises do not have to be complicated.  This section of this article will describe steps to breathe and become more relaxed in an easier manner.

According to, the following can be noted:

The idea is to get yourself to relax as much as possible. TRYING to relax or judge your performance may be counterproductive, so clear your mind of everything except your positive self talk or counting between breaths.

Note the amount of tension you are feeling, and let it go as much as possible while exhaling slowly through your nose or mouth. (again if you are having a panic attack, it is best to keep your mouth closed.)

Then breathe slowly and deeply into your abdomen. (you will know you are doing this correctly if you place your hand on your abdomen and feel it rising as you breathe in.)

Hold the breath for a count of 2-5 seconds (whatever you are more comfortable with.. the longer you hold the more you will relax when you exhale.. but to prevent passing out you should not hold it any longer than 5 seconds)

Exhale again, slowly for anywhere between 5 and 10 seconds.

Repeat breathing this way until your anxiety subsides, or you feel properly relaxed.

Passive Progressive Muscle Relaxation

In addition to Deep Breathing, another way to deep your relaxation with Bipolar Disorder is to engage in Passive Progressive Muscle Relaxation.  According to, the following can be stated:

Find a quiet place to practice in. If you feel the need to play music, choose relaxing instrumental music. If you play music that has lyrics, it may distract you, or work to govern your mood.

Make sure you are neither hungry or overfull. Also make sure you are in a comfortable position, wearing comfortable clothing, and you take off your shoes, jewelry, glasses, contacts, ect.

Make a decision to not worry about anything during this time. Make peace of mind for this amount of time a priority every day.

Once you are comfortable and relaxed, (you may want to do the breathing exercise first) start by curling and tensing your toes. Tense them hard enough to feel it, but not hard enough that you feel strained. Hold the tension for about ten seconds, concentrating on how it feels and then let it go. Stop for a moment to notice the difference between how they felt when they were tensed and how they feel relaxed.

Next, curl and tense your feet. concentrate on how they feel, hold the tension for about 10 seconds and release. notice the difference.

Next tense your calves…. continue this process of tensing and releasing the muscles all the way up your body…thighs, buttocks, abdomen, back,(by gently arching it) fists,lower arms,upper arms, shoulders,neck,(by gently lifting your head, holding it up and then gently laying it back down)and face (scrunch it up … nobody is looking)

Repeat this process beginning with your face, and progressing back down to your toes.


This article has provided readers with relaxation techniques for Bipolar Disorder, including deep breathing and passive progressive muscle relaxation exercises.  Consider giving them a try.

Relaxation Techniques For Bipolar Disorder

Lauren Walters

My name is Lauren Walters. I am currently heading into my final semester of graduate school for Mental Health Counseling in the Spring of 2016. Through my own experiences with mental illness, I love to inspire others through my writings and reassure them that they can live healthy, productive lives, despite mental illness. I hope you enjoy my articles. Feel free to comment. I will be sure to respond to you questions and/or comments in a prompt manner. Enjoy!

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APA Reference
Walters, L. (2017). Relaxation Techniques For Bipolar Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 22 Jan 2017
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