Can Smiling Make You Happier?
Can smiling make you happier? A long held folk belief holds that if you smile even when you don’t feel happy, the act of smiling itself will lift your spirits, and conversely, frowning makes you feel worse. A 1998 study asked volunteers to hold a pencil between their teeth in such a way that their mouths were forced into a smile. They then viewed selected cartoons and reported that the cartoons were “funnier” than reports made by a non-smiling control group. Case closed, right? Smiling makes you appreciate humor and presumably feel happier when doing so. Well, not so fast. More recent attempts to replicate this experiment have not found the same results. Indeed, many of the most well-known landmark ... Read More
Stress and the Red Zone
How much stress are you undergoing? And how much effect does it have on your life? Stress is a multidimensional feature of chronic illness. It can affect mood swings, blood sugar levels, weight gain or loss, inflammation and other problems. And stress can sneak up on you without warning. We all live with stressors in the modern world, and we often make compromises with them in ways that are detrimental to our long-term health. 24/7 availability on the cell phone and email, binge watching, competitive social media and other risky uses of electronic media do damage even before we become aware of it. Dr. Rangan Chatterjee, whose book, The Stress Solution, was recently reviewed in the New York Times, says ... Read More
Disclosure or “Coming Out” about a Mental Illness
Privacy is a big issue nowadays, with everything we post online being available to the whole world forever, and stigma about mental illness is a painful reality for everyone. Even so, many people think carefully about disclosing some information about their diagnosis to others, both on- and off-line. Should you “come out” about a mental illness diagnosis? What will happen? Will people stop liking you? Will you get support, or more negative input? Moodsurfing wants to highlight the work of Katherine Ponte and her website For Like Minds. Writing in BPHope, Ms. Ponte lists several important “pros” to letting family, friends, and co-workers know about a mental illness diagnosis. Ms. Ponte is very encouraging about disclosing this part of one’s ... Read More
CBT is Better for Insomnia than Drugs
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) shows better results than medication for overcoming insomnia in a meta-analysis of 13 studies conducted over the past 30 years. Generally, after 4 to 6 sessions of CBT training patients reported medium-to-large positive effects on their sleep, and the improvements were maintained for three to twelve months post treatment. In the U.K., where this study was done, guidelines call for CBT to be used first for insomnia reported in general practice medical settings. Medication is only given if CBT fails. Thus, the researchers were seeking confirmation of the efficacy of the guidelines, which was found. Most often, the CBT training itself was delivered by nurses, social workers or counselors. Further study is needed to find how ... Read More
Volcano Wilds Mania MIndfulness Meditation
Ginger showed up in my office today feeling “incredibly irritated” by “people who don’t do their jobs.” She is a small business owner who relies on the work of many contractors for her business and she has been running into the usual excuses for work done late, or not at all, and finding the excuses to be almost intolerable. She has been sleeping two hours less than usual, having trouble focusing when she is reading, having racing thoughts and feels she has lots of energy, which sometimes feels too much to handle. In a word, Ginger is in a mixed or irritable hypomania. Often, an increase in medication will help reduce this energy so that it is not quite so ... Read More
Delayed Gratification and Mental Illness
Will you take $75 now or $100 three days from now? In the fields of economics and psychology, (and the new field of economic psychology) the choice is called “delay discounting” although many people may be more familiar with the term “delayed gratification”. The two terms are opposites; delayed gratification means you will wait for the larger reward even if it doesn’t come immediately, while delay discounting means that $100 is worth less (discounted) because you won’t get it immediately. Delay discounting (not wanting to wait) is a trait commonly found across a wide spectrum of mental illnesses, although it still is not clear if this trait is a cause or a result of these disorders. Another term for it ... Read More

About MoodSurfing

Welcome to, the site that highlights strategies for living creatively with moods and coping with depression. This site is for people with bipolar, depression, cyclothymia, and others who experience powerful moods and want to figure out how to integrate these experiences into successful lives.

Although most of us are mental health clinicians of one kind or another, this site is not about providing people with medical or clinical advice (see below). We hope that we can help you cope with depression, maybe even allow you to live well with moods. 

If you like what you see here, be sure to sign up to get updated with new posts. 

We have done a series of interviews with people who have interesting things to say about different aspects of living creatively with moods. You can find those under the heading “Conversations.


This site is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and linkages to other sites, Moodsurfing provides general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this site, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider. Moodsurfing is not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site.

IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, YOU SHOULD IMMEDIATELY CALL 911 OR YOUR PHYSICIAN. If you believe you have any other health problem, or if you have any questions regarding your health or a medical condition, you should promptly consult your physician or other healthcare provider. Never disregard medical or professional advice, or delay seeking it, because of something you read on this site or a linked website. Never rely on information on this website in place of seeking professional medical advice. You should also ask your physician or other healthcare provider to assist you in interpreting any information in this site or in the linked websites, or in applying the information to your individual case.

Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information on this site or on the linked websites should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided on this site or any linked websites is solely at your own risk.

Moodsurfing does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, products, procedures, opinions or other information that may be provided on the linked websites. The linked websites may contain text, graphics, images or information that you find offensive (e.g., sexually explicit), Moodsurfing has no control over and accepts no responsibility for such materials.