Tag Archive: books

Aug 15

Making Good Relationships: 4 Behaviors Predictive of Divorce

In a previous post we talked about our view that what is most important in successful long term relationships is not so much who we choose but how we build the relationship (of course, if you choose someone without morals or who is seriously disturbed, this doesn’t probably apply to you). But we deferred discussing …

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Aug 14

Stress Eating

Weight gain may be not only a psychological (“I hate how I look, it makes me depressed”) but also a biological (overweight people have elevated levels of inflammation that may increase depression) factor worsening depression. Great, but what to do about this? Most of us already knew that we should lose weight, and more guilt …

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Jul 31


Getting things done can be a real struggle when you are experiencing low mood. When we are depressed, we lack the energy and sense of pleasure or mastery that makes it possible to get essential tasks done. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, we often postpone getting things done until we feel like doing them. …

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Jul 21

Breaking Up: How to Cope

Breaking up is hard. (At least for most people – we do know a couple of people – mostly guys – who seem to have made an art of it – but that is another post). There are things to do and to avoid doing that might make it less painful. 1. Think it through. …

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Jul 19


Heroism can be bad for your health. We know, we’ve been there. It starts with a positive feeling about someone or some group of people, then there is the recognition that they have suffered injustice (or are suffering for some other reason) and ends up in a wish to solve their problem (s). What a …

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Jul 16

Crisis Prevention

If you are feeling OK but planning on making some changes that might affect your mood, now is the time to do a little prevention work. A young man we know decided to go to visit his guru in Sri Lanka. It was a wonderful trip and changed his life for the good. It might …

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Jul 15

Kay Jamison

If you do much thinking about moods and how they affect us, you eventually run into Kay Jamison. She has dedicated her life to understanding mood and its impact on us. She teaches at Johns Hopkins, but she is not just an academic, she is also a brilliant writer and compelling lecturer. She is the …

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Jul 11

Mood and Food

Many people have an intuitive sense that a good diet is a foundation stone of good mental health. We don’t disagree, although the evidence for dietary manipulation’s effectiveness is not overwhelming. There are a couple of things that we have noticed over the years about food and its effect on mood that might be useful …

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Jul 11

Anxiety or Excitement?

Many folks not only have to figure out how to live creatively with moods, but also have to wrestle with anxiety. I have found that it is sometimes useful to compare two states of mind which are very, very similar in terms of how the body is reacting, but are very different from an emotional …

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Jul 07

Anger: Its Different Types and How to Manage it

Righteous anger is a powerful force for change in the world. But some folks seem to live in anger all the time, and for them, and those around them, anger can become a trap. As others pull away from them they feel more helpless, and more angry. How to break this vicious cycle? There are …

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Jul 05

The Antidepressant without Side Effects

Medications for depression can be life saving, but for many people they have disturbing side effects. But there is one antidepressant that doesn’t have side effects – behavioral activation (BA). Behavioral activation is a treatment that has been shown to work for people with moderate and even severe depression and, in some studies, it works …

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Jul 04

Riding the Waves

MoodSurfing is about the idea that the ups and downs of mood are normal (we aren’t trying to achieve some elusive “stability”).  But dealing with moods requires focus, discipline and some common sense. You can’t go to Maverick on your first day surfing and not get hurt (see photo to the right). The first step …

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Jul 04

Negotiation: How to Deal With Conflict

Some of the best ways of dealing with conflicts in relationships, whether business or personal, are contained in the books about negotiation written by Roger Fisher and William Ury. In our own lives and in the lives of people we have counseled we have often seen a situation that seemed to be incredibly scary and …

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Jun 25

Endless Worry: Books to Help Manage It

Sometimes life circumstances, or our own mood, conspire to lead us into a state of endless worry. We never seem to be able to figure anything out, and the anxiety makes it increasingly difficult to get anything done. One strategy that we often recommend is to schedule worry time. It sounds crazy, but putting aside …

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Jun 22

Acceptance: Helpful Readings

Aacceptance. We have been influenced by many people in setting up this website. One of those great thinkers is a man whose vision of psychotherapy was founded in acceptance, Carl Rogers. In his book On Becoming a Person he wrote: The curious paradox is when I accept myself just as I am, then I can …

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Jun 21

Getting Where You Want to Go: Remembering Priorities and Problem-Solving

Successful time management is in large measure all about starting with the big things. This is how you go about almost any design and building process. With a kitchen remodel you begin with the major appliances, with a life remodel you build around your life goals. Some people find it helpful to think of the …

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Jun 19

Changing Bad Habits: Helpful Resources

If you talk to anyone who has worked to help people with serious bad habits (smoking, sex addiction, gambling, drug use) they will probably end up mentioning the “Stages of Change” model of Prochaska. The notion that people don’t just “flip a switch” and change was pretty revolutionary at the time, and the useful notion …

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Jun 17

The Importance of Good Relationships

Good relationships are one of the foundations of creative living. In another post, we talked about one of the most effective therapies for people with bipolar: Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT). In that post we focused on regular routines (the SRT part) but equally important in that therapy was paying attention to the quality of …

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Jun 15

Sleep: Helpful books for Insomnia

It’s one of great ironies of working with people with trouble sleeping that often the path to better sleep heads first in an unexpected direction. Most of the people we see with complaints of fatigue are having problems because they are sleeping too long, and with poor quality. In fact, most people can get by with just …

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Jun 14

The Super Mood Stabilizer

The Super Mood Stabilizer From time to time we run across people who seem to do everything wrong, in terms of typical MoodSurfing strategies, but who nevertheless is living a very creative and successful life. Very often the reason they can get away with it is because they have the “Super Mood Stabilizer” – a …

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