Loneliness - A Little Attention Makes a Big Difference
Empathetic listening reduces loneliness Loneliness can be a serious problem, and is a risk factor for several illnesses. Loneliness is implicated in higher rates of depression and anxiety, and with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, reduced human contact has raised red flags as a potential source of health concerns. Especially among poorer and more vulnerable populations, loneliness is emerging as an important challenge. Empathy through phone calls A study conducted at the University of Texas Austin campus in conjunction with the organization Meals on Wheels Central Texas utilized volunteers to maintain contact with clients identified as being at risk of isolation. Empathy, or listening to people’s concerns, was the focus of the intervention. Volunteers were given a short training ... Read More
irregular sleep pattern
The link between insomnia and depression is well-established, but a new study shows that even an irregular sleeping pattern, with a normal number of hours of sleep, can affect mood and depression risk. The study, conducted at the University of Michigan, looked at the sleep patterns of medical interns, first year doctors, who complete a year of work under supervision, a program that is notorious for intense work days and irregular schedules. The interns wore a commercial tracking device (Fitbit) and completed a daily mood check on a smartphone app. In quarterly tests for signs of depression, those whose wrist-worn devices showed the most irregular waking and sleeping schedules also had higher scores for depression risk. Study authors noted that ... Read More
Cognitive Issues and Bipolar Disorder
Does bipolar disorder cause problems with memory, attention focus, speed of thinking and cognition? Does depression cause dementia, or does it just feel like it? Are memory problems and cognition issues caused by the medications that control mood episodes? Is there anything one can do about troubles in thinking and memory related to mood issues? “Suddenly becoming demented” is a complaint that we have found often leads to a diagnosis of a mood disorder. True dementia comes on gradually and sufferers are often not aware of the slow buildup of impairment. Mania, hypomania, and major depression, on the other hand, often cause problems in the brain, such as short-term memory loss and attention and focus problems. In fact, research shows ... Read More
Gut Brain Connection
Do the trillions of microbes living in the human digestive system affect our mental health and affect – for better or worse – brain or mood disorders? As recently as seven years ago, the idea that gut bacteria played a role in mental health was considered “crazy”, but in the past few years, more and more research has shown possible effects of all kinds. The gut microbiome is a hugely complex phenomenon, but nowadays, researchers are “drilling down” to look at specific strains of bacteria and how they may affect specific brain disorders. Even the mechanism for these effects is not well understood, although the pathway from gut to brain via the vagus nerve is now under intensive research. Scientists ... Read More
Insomnia Treatment Recommendations
New Research on Insomnia Insomnia remains one of the most troubling problems our clients have to deal with and insomnia treatment is always an important issue for us. Recent updates to insomnia treatment guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine do not change our current practice radically, but they underline and strengthen the basic recommendation that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the best approach, and the one to try first for all insomnia sufferers. CBT for insomnia usually requires four to eight sessions with a trained therapist. There are several multi-component behavioral strategies that may be employed, and three “single component” therapies: sleep restriction therapy, stimulus control, and relaxation therapy. Educational content is also included for a clearer understanding ... Read More
Shame, Guilt and Bipolar
A manic or hypomanic episode (mild or severe) can lead a person to taking actions that may be unhealthy, unwise, or even harmful to self or others. This can lead, afterwards, to feelings of guilt and shame. We feel bad about what we have done, but we don’t always know how to move on and make amends. These feelings can then contribute to a subsequent depressive mood and make it harder to begin to heal. Guilt and shame, how we evaluate ourselves, are a part of life, but they are not always worked through in a healthy way. We speak of “a heavy load of guilt” and recognize the experience of carrying guilty feelings for long-ago mistakes that we don’t ... 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.

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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.

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