Category Archive: Self Help

May 17

Best Treatment for Chronic Insomnia

What is the best treatment for chronic insomnia? The American College of Physicians has just published the results of a careful review of all of the research in this area. The preferred treatment for insomnia is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBTi) which we offer through this website – read about it at the bottom of this …

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May 08

Children at Risk for Depression

James Hudziak, and other researchers, presented information suggesting a strategy for improving brain health, and reducing anxiety and depression in children at risk for these conditions at the 2015 meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. We have previously mentioned in this blog another excellent resource for information on bipolar, Bipolar Network News, …

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May 04

Exercise Dose – Update

Exercise Dose Update

A couple of months ago a writer who we have collaborated with in this blog (Eric) wrote an article summarizing some of the research literature on the effective dose of exercise. He cited some studies suggesting that very high amounts of exercise may be hazardous and then came to the conclusion that about 30 minutes …

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Apr 29

Accepting the Loss

One of my patients wrote to me this morning asking if she could get a medication to help with her anxiety. She has been trying to find a good therapist for quite a while and I think she might have found someone who could really help her. But this is making her feel anxious and …

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Mar 11

TV Watching Leads to Impaired Cognition

How can we build up foundational, long-lasting healthy habits while young? We know it’s important—a perennial question, if not one we face day-to-day. By building those habits early on, we can set ourselves up for healthier living long-term, and place our children on a better track for a healthier, more positive adolescence and early adulthood. …

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Feb 19

Aerobic Exercise Stimulates Neuron Growth

Aerobic Exercise and Neuron Growth

Moderate aerobic exercise appears to be the best form of exercise to stimulate neuron growth. One of the great challenges facing anyone who has wrestled with depression is how best to counteract the negative effects on brain development and cognitive function that have clearly been linked to recurrent depression. Depression leads directly to reductions in …

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Feb 11

Nature Advertisement

The family member of one of our patients sent me this link. It reminded me of the post about “awe” from a couple of months ago. Ever since that post I have been searching to add more awe to my life. It really has made a difference. Of course nature includes more than just one …

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Jan 21

The Power of a Minute

The Power of a Minute

I got this email from Rick Hanson because I have subscribed to his Foundations of Wellbeing Program. I found it inspirational and thought I would share it. Sometimes we feel too busy to do anything good for ourselves. But maybe just a minute of your time could make a difference. And who doesn’t have a …

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Jan 19

Pregnancy and Mental Health

Pregnancy and mental health problems – how to reconcile the two – are often topics of discussion on this website and in my clinical practice. In the past we have often referred people to  Vivien K. Burt, MD, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychiatry and the Director of the Women’s Life Center at UCLA and the …

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Dec 03

Mood Charting for Complicated Problems

Mood Charting for Complicated Problems

Mood Charting for Complicated Problems Lucy is a single woman who is a professor of anthropology at a local university. She is in her late 30s and she was referred to me for a consultation because of a complicated set of potentially interrelated problems with cognitive impairment, sleep disruption, anxiety, depression, a seizure disorder, and migraine headaches. She’s an interesting …

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Nov 28

Preventing Cognitive Decline

Preventing Cognitive Decline

Preventing cognitive decline is possible, and the solution may not involve fancy new medications with unknown side effects. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association cites numerous studies that argue that the brain changes that have been the focus of so much attention (neurofibrillary tangles and plaques) are not the whole story. …

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Nov 26

Thankfulness – A Meditation

Gratitude and Thankfulness

On this Thanksgiving 2015 we received a link to the section of Rick Hanson’s Foundations of Wellbeing course that talks about thankfulness and gratitude. Rick talks about how thankfulness and gratitude promote long term well-being, reduces anxiety, and improves mood. He introduces the notion that it is possible to grow this sense and change our …

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Nov 15

Taking Care of Yourself

Taking Care of Yourself - TED Talks

Part of the key to self care is finding ways of being nice to yourself that don’t require a huge investment of time. Yes, it would be great to spend the day at one of those fancy spas. I can almost feel the sense of relaxation soothing all of the tension that I carry around …

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Nov 08

S-Adenosyl-Methionine Update

SAM-e S-adenosylmethionine, or SAM-e for short, is one of the few nutritional supplements that has good clinical research to support its safety and effectiveness. Although SAM-e is used for many purposes, we are particularly interested in it as a compound that may have antidepressant properties. Clinical Significance S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) is involved in many reactions that involve …

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Nov 07

Apps and Links Updated

Apps and Links Updated

I have just been a couple of hours updating the apps and links page on this site. There are a lot more choices for mood charting including many more that are available on both android and iPhone. I’ve also been using three different apps concurrently for the last two months to get a sense of what …

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Oct 17

Self Affirmations by Songify

Songify Self Affirmations

A good friend and colleague suggested a new technique for “self affirmations.” A technique which makes something that can seem ponderous, but is also a powerful technique for positive change, seem like a lot more fun… Self affirmations are things that you tell yourself about yourself and the world. In psychological terms, they are about …

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Oct 15

Bipolar Support

Bipolar Support

I want to encourage readers of this blog to consider signing up for Bipolar Disorder Connect. It is an easy to navigate social media site devoted to helping people with chronic health conditions. It seems to have a good cadre of moderators, which is important to prevent the tendency of support groups to veer off …

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Oct 13

Getting Up Early

Getting Up Early

Getting up early is one of the best ways of counteracting depression. And having a strong circadian rhythm is especially important for people with bipolar depression because their internal “clock” may be less powerful. But it can be a challenge making a change in your sleep cycle, especially if you have always been a late riser. …

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Sep 26

Mind Maps and Post Its

MindMeister Mind Map of Productivity

Stuck with a problem that you can’t figure out? Having trouble generating ideas? One of the things that the mind is very good at is coming up with potential pitfalls. And all of us have found ourselves trapped with recurring negative thoughts that make it hard to do any creative thinking. Sometimes changing the process …

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Aug 29

Fall Warning

Fall Warning

Northern Hemisphere Fall Warning If you live in the northern hemisphere, and particularly if you live in the United States, this seems like an appropriate time to point out that fall is coming.  The yellow school buses are once again trundling through the streets taking kids to school, the commute has once again jumped up …

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