Luminette Light Therapy Glasses

Weak circadian rhythms, seasonal mood symptoms, and disrupted sleep and daytime fatigue are common problems for people with depression and bipolar, the Luminette light therapy glasses may be a key part of a practical strategy to counteract these problems. Light therapy (very bright light, usually in the morning) has been shown to improve seasonal and non-seasonal depression in people with …

Stopping Medications – How and When to Do It

Most people with depression and/or bipolar think about stopping medications at one point or another. The results can be disastrous or good depending, in part, on the motivation for change and how it is done. As with any major life decision, it is best not to approach the decision with too much of a sense of urgency. If you’re feeling …

Raising Healthy Children

Raising Healthy Children

Raising healthy children is always challenging, a source of joy but also a source of anxiety. And having depression can add to the challenge. And yet many, many women that we have worked with have had successful pregnancies and raised wonderful, healthy, happy children. One key to success is paying attention to how mood can influence not only ourselves but …

Morning Ritual Improves Mood

A Morning Ritual Improves Mood

A morning ritual improves mood – For people who are trying to live creatively with moods, how the day starts can have a powerful impact. And the morning ritual is an effective way of changing that experience. Researchers have found that organized patterns of behavior (rituals) help our brains cope with uncertainty and reduce anxiety.  So if you’re not sure …

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation is the relaxation technique that I have had the most success with, (and I have tried many of them!) – by that we mean a technique to help in the moment with stress and anxiety, as opposed to something like mindfulness meditation or another meditation technique, which works best as a regular practice that over time reduces anxiety. …

Cynical Hostility

Cynical Hostility

Cynical hostility is a personality style of cynicism and anger mismanagement in social relationships. Sometimes called chronic anger, it is associated with mistrust and weakened social support networks. In a recent study, researchers from France and University College London looked at data from a long-term study of 3,399 British civil servants. Those in the top 25% of cynical hostility levels were over four-and- …

Getting Unstuck

When you find yourself unable to make progress towards a goal, it helps to know some tricks for “getting unstuck.” One extremely useful trick is to find a detour around a roadblock. Let’s say you want to lose weight. But every effort to change your diet results in failure. Perhaps you find yourself feeling increasingly irritable and your feelings of …

Language Predicts Stress Levels

The way that people use language predicts stress levels quite reliably, according to a 2017 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Many different stressors (traumatic stress, poverty, loneliness, being told that you have a life threatening illness) all activate a single pattern of profound changes in the function of the immune system. The changes are known …

Exercise Prevents Depression

A study of 34,000 healthy adults followed for 11 years shows that exercise prevents depression. The authors of the study found that the dose of exercise needed to optimally prevent depression was surprisingly low. Just 15 – 20 minutes of aerobic exercise per day was effective. The study is the largest prospective study to date to show the benefits of …

Suicide Survivor Day

Suicide Survivor Day for Loved Ones

Suicide Survivor Day is the one day a year when people affected by suicide loss gather around the world at events in their local communities to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope. Discover more about Survivor Day. UCSF and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are hosting an important event for suicide survivors on November …

App for Depression in Pregnancy – Nancy

Moodsurfing has looked at smartphone apps for depression and those for bipolar disorder and a new study is available that looks specifically at a smartphone app for depression in pregnancy. Mental health in pregnancy is a topic that can raise real anxiety in people’s minds, in part because so much divergent information is readily available on the internet and from family …

Hope

Find Hope Despite Adversity

Finding hope can feel miraculous when wrestling with the endless challenges of any chronic illness, including depression. At the end of a long week struggling to help others I ran across an article by a psychiatrist who has thought long and hard about the sources of hope, and felt the wonderful sense of renewal that hope brings to the beleaguered. …

News Media Create Stress

News Media Create Stress – Nancy

Bipolar disorder can make it hard to maintain stability of moods, and deal with the stresses of life.  The news and social media are one of the biggest sources of stress that can make stability challenging, and the media overload only seems to be getting worse.  In a 2014 study conducted by National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation …

Smartphone Apps for Depression

Are smartphone apps for depression effective? Two articles published in 2017 by a group of Australian and American researchers examined the question of whether smart phone apps for depression and anxiety are effective. In both articles the authors comprehensively analyzed the world medical literature for research articles that evaluated the effectiveness of smart phone delivered interventions for either depressive symptoms …

Recovering from Disaster

Recovering from Disaster – Reclaim Your World

It seems appropriate to write about an aspect of recovering from disaster. We have been through an extraordinary period of natural and human caused disasters these past few months. And while every experience is different, one thing that successful recovery requires, is the capacity to reengage with the world as it is, and with a sense of the possibility of …

Bipolar Depression Light Therapy

Bipolar Depression Light Therapy

The news that bipolar depression light therapy may be effective is good news and follows a series of studies this past year highlighting the importance of treatments that affect circadian rhythms by manipulating light and dark in treating mood disorders. Bipolar depression is one of the hardest conditions to treat effectively. Antidepressant medications may have significant side effects, including inducing …

Decision Making

Better Decision Making – Nancy

Better decision making is important for many people dealing with how moods can influence our choices. How much self-control do you have?  Do you make the decisions you really want to make?  A new field of brain science is discovering how people make decisions, and how they utilize self-control to make better decisions.  A recent article in Medical Xpress included …

Bipolar at Work

Bipolar at Work – Nancy

Bipolar At Work: Disclosure and Accommodation Federal law provides important protections for workers who are coping with disabling mental or physical illnesses in the workplace.  Know your rights, and plan carefully for whether, when and how to request accommodations and disclose special needs at work. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against anyone with a health-realted disablitiy in …