Patients in recovery from major depressive episodes may need help learning to process positive information and stimuli. Researchers found that people with a history of major depressive disorder spend more time processing negative information than healthy controls, and they may have less control over which information they process. This negative bias suggests that people recovering from depression may need to learn strategies for processing positive information, and that treatments focusing on the reduction of negative processing may not be sufficient. Processing positive information is not the same as urging someone to “cheer up” or “think positive”. Rather, it is a long-term discipline, or a skill set that can develop over time. The research cited above has not been able to ... Read More
New Year’s resolutions should be simple and easy to keep; that’s one of the better pieces of advice on the subject that I’ve seen. So here’s a simple one, Every time you step outside of a door, look up. That’s it. Just see the sky. Not to check the weather, but to open yourself up – body and mind. Tilting your head back, just for a few seconds, usually gets you to take a deeper breath, which is always good, and it gives you a moment of stillness in between inside and outside. The sky reminds us that the world is bigger than we are, and our problems are smaller than we think. The sky may be the last view ... Read More
How do you face the new year? With dread? With optimism? Mixed feelings? Do you have a sense of efficacy about personal growth in the coming days and weeks, or are you all about “learned helplessness” and “nothing ever works anyway”? MoodSurfing regularly looks at the topics of habit change and self-improvement, especially at this time of year, when many people are thinking about what they want to do differently in the future. We suggest thinking about your overall life purpose, or about doable small steps, which is all useful, but clearly, the mindset you have when approaching New Year’s resolutions will have the biggest effect on what kind of resolutions you make and whether you ever take concrete steps ... Read More
Suicide continues to be a leading cause of death for Americans, especially younger people, where homicide and accidents lag far behind suicide in fatality rates. Budgets for suicide research and suicide prevention are woefully small, and stigma is still a barrier to seeking help, both for suicidal people and for their family members and supporters. However, amidst all the bad news, research is beginning to show some important new insights. Many people believe that suicide takes place after a long period of planning, but through interviews with suicide survivors, we find that the vast majority come to a decision and act on the same day. As many as 25% of suicides are planned and carried out impulsively, within as little ... Read More
Loneliness is implicated in shortened lifespans, worsened physical and mental health, addiction, economic disruption and homelessness, among others. Its spread constitutes a true public health crisis in the USA, and intervention is urgently called for. However, at present, only individual efforts are offered as a solution. Reach out. Make sure your elderly relatives are getting a phone call regularly. Join a club, church, or book group at your local public library. Take control of your life. Taking these steps up a level means working to make sure the resources available in the community are accessible and inclusive of all who may need them. Maybe the library could expand its book group offerings to reach out to immigrants or the elderly, ... Read More
We’re coming up on a time of year that for many (maybe even most) people offers significant challenges. Now is the time to plan ahead for the difficulties you typically face during the holiday season, and call to mind coping strategies that have worked for you in the past, or new ones that you want to try. Depression is a major villain in disrupting holidays. A lot of the time, it just seems like the forced cheerfulness is too much to handle. Recognizing that nostalgia, remembering absent family members, and wishing for what will make life better are all intrinsic parts of the year-end holidays may help us accept and acknowledge depression or the “blues” when they do hit, and ... Read More
Welcome to MoodSurfing.com, 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.
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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.”
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