take pleasure

Take Pleasure

What’s the best way to cope with stress?  Our friend Rick Hanson, whom we frequently quote in this blog, wonders why people don’t Take Pleasure.   There are so many fun things to do, some take hardly any time or money, why don’t we just take time out to smell the roses, or the dinner cooking, or the perfume…  Why don’t …

Self-Compassion and Self-Esteem

What do you do when you make a mistake?  Grit your teeth and try again?  Or are you afraid to try again?  Give yourself a pep talk and reminder to work harder next time?  Or do you give yourself the compassionate response you would give a friend who made a similar mistake? Self-compassion is a technique that everyone can use …

World Bipolar Day Special Event

March 30 is the day!  There will be some great events, including an Ask Me Anything panel on Reddit resourced by CrestBD. The Collaborative RESearch Team to study psychosocial issues in Bipolar Disorder (CREST.BD) is a multidisciplinary collaborative network of researchers, people living with bipolar disorder, healthcare providers, and family members and supporters. They are offering a great lineup of …

How to Complete Hard Tasks

Sometimes you just can’t get your mind working.  You wonder what’s going on, things you want to remember just slip through your fingers, and time gets away from you.  It happens to everyone, but major episodes of mania or depression can result in reduced cognitive capacity, which takes time to heal.  Reduced cognitive capacity can be scary; we wonder if …

Social Media and Mental Health

What are the connections between social media use and depression?  Between social media and anxiety?  Does social media cause depression, or do depressed people turn to social media more, or is there some third factor that accounts for any association or correlation? New research keeps coming out, and it’s kind of a jungle trying to follow it all.  Screen time …

Link Between Screen Time and Depression

Link between screen time and depression?  It’s complicated A new longitudinal study looking at video gaming and social media use at age 11 compared with the same subjects’ responses to a questionnaire about depressive symptoms three years later at age 14 has come up with some complex data. Boys who played video games daily reported fewer depressive symptoms three years …

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 …

irregular sleep pattern

Irregular Sleep Patterns and Depression

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, …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Celebrate the Little Things

About now, we all start admitting that, for another year, we aren’t really going to stick to our New Year’s Resolutions and become better people this year. Now is the time to change focus from resolutions for the future to celebration of the past and present.  Celebrate your achievements of the past year.  Things you never considered making a resolution …

Tripolar Disorder

Mixed mania is a type of depression, but it’s very hard to explain it to people I work with.  In the view of mental health professionals, it makes a lot of sense to talk about a “mixed” state, which is a state of depression that generates lots of energy and agitation. The lethargy and slow speech of “typical” depression looks …

Serenity Courage Wisdom

“Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”  This “Serenity Prayer” attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, and often associated with Alcoholics Anonymous, is known to many, and found hanging in cross-stich patterns, wood carvings and photographs on walls across the country.  It seems to offer …

New Year and New Hopes, Beginning with Self Care

Happy New Year to Moodsurfing readers. Nothing needs to be said about 2020 that hasn’t already been said. While acknowledging how hard things are for many people right now, Moodsurfing is looking ahead with confidence to the future. 2021 has to be a better year. Regular readers will probably remember that we like Rick Hanson and his educational programs, newsletters …

Seasonal Affective Disorder and Winter Mindset

What’s your seasonal mindset? Does Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) increase as latitude increases up into the far polar regions where winter nights are longest?  A recent study from Norway found the opposite: people who live at higher latitudes have stronger coping skills and there is less change in subjective well-being over the course of a year. Kari Leibowitz, a researcher …

Subjective Well Being and Coronavirus

How good is your life?  Psychologists look at factors like “subjective well-being”, “overall life satisfaction” and “positive affect” (good feelings) to measure the effects of particular events and situations on how well or badly people feel like they are functioning in the world. The coronavirus pandemic has had a notable and obvious effect on people’s sense of well-being, bringing about …

Alexi Pappas

How do you recognize the symptoms of depression?  Isn’t that something everyone should know?  We’ve all learned how to recognize the symptoms of Covid 19, right?  And other diseases have organizations that do public education about them, like cancer, heart disease, etc. Alexi Pappas, writing in the New York Times, says that everyone should be taught to recognize the symptoms …