Mindfulness and Anxiety

More evidence for Mindfulness Mindfulness practices continue to gain in acceptability and evidence of effectiveness in a variety of settings.  MoodSurfing has reported on several of these studies in the past, and we continue to monitor the state of the current research.  A recent study1 looked at anxiety and considered pharmaceutical intervention compared with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), finding similar …

How To Get Motivated for Change

New Year’s resolutions actually tap into a very strong human impulse to create start-over points in our lives and to use them to motivate improvements that we wish to incorporate into our regular lives.  Internet searches for items like “diet” and “gym” that may be prompted by a desire to do something healthy show increased activity around the first day …

New Year’s Resolutions

How to make New Year’s Resolutions What is a New Year’s resolution, anyway?  Are you always determined to make yourself a better person than you were before?  Or is it more like the wish you make when you blow out your birthday candles: quickly thought up and quickly forgotten? Before you set this weight loss goal or that gym membership …

Creativity and Mood

Is it true that people with mental illness, particularly mood disorders, are more creative?  Or do creative people more often develop mental illness?  Does the medication given for mood swings dampen creativity?  Are there different types of creativity that manifest themselves during heightened, depressed and normal moods?  What is creativity, anyway? These are hotly debated questions but clear guidance is …

Holidays and Mood

It’s coming again: the holiday season!  Intended as a time-out; a time to take a break from work, enjoy life for a while, share gifts, and eat great food, the holiday season in our complex society has become a stressor, not a relaxer.  But stressful or not, the holidays come every year, and we all have to figure out how …

How To Overcome Perfectionism

Perfectionism is defined as refusing to accept anything except flawlessness.  At first glance, this may seem like an admirable trait that will lead to, if not perfection, at least much higher quality in everything we do.  However, perfectionism doesn’t work that way, it makes sufferers fearful of attempting anything that may turn out to have flaws.  Human life being what …

Block Out Blue Light at Night

Electronic screens of all kinds emit light, especially from the blue end of the color spectrum, and blue light is known to increase insomnia and disrupt circadian rhythms.  Our ancestors woke up when the sun rose, and went to bed when it set, with maybe a brief lengthening of waking times using firelight or lamplight.  Nowadays, however, we have light, …

Selena Gomez Documentary

The actress and singer Selena Gomez has just released a documentary: “My mind and me”, available on Apple+ TV.  In the documentary, Gomez describes her struggle with the autoimmune disease, lupus, in parallel with severe bipolar disorder.  For several years, she suffered from extreme mood swings and dangerous manic episodes followed by depressive episodes when she couldn’t get out of …

Exercise and Bipolar

Abundant evidence shows that exercise is helpful in depression and anxiety, in fact, some specialists suggest that exercise should be the first intervention attempted in cases of mild to moderate depression.  However, research into the relationship of exercise and bipolar has been spotty, at best. The available studies have used very small study groups, and have not considered different types …

Pandemic Personality Change?

As the global Covid-19 pandemic winds down and people return to work and school, many are experiencing feelings of discomfort with face-to-face interactions that, once, were normal everyday occurrences.  People are feeling “weird” about being in public spaces and interacting with teams, workgroups, staffs, or classes full of people. Data from the “Understanding America Study” an ongoing internet panel at …

Poor Diet Linked to Mental Illness

Growing evidence shows a strong correlation between poor diet and mental illness.  People suffering from severe mental illness consume more calories, more salt and sugar, and fewer nutrient dense foods like vegetables, nuts and fruit.  Evidence also shows that the poor diet is not a result of mental illness, but is discernable in the months and years before diagnosis.  Furthermore, …

Doing Well With Depression

People seeking treatment for major depression and bipolar tend to do well if they have two related characteristics.  The first is persistence: the ability to keep doing what needs to be done, no matter the mood.  The second is willingness to do whatever it takes, even if that means giving up control over which treatments are acceptable and which are …

Loneliness

Loneliness is an important public health issue The American Medical Association has defined loneliness as a public health issue for all Americans.  Why loneliness?  Why public health?  Loneliness is found across demographics, at every age level.  It is not a matter of how many friends you have, rather, loneliness is feeling a lack of connection with other people.  You may …

Suicide Prevention

10 USEFUL* things you can do for suicide prevention *Spoiler: none of these things are about “fixing” a suicidal person. I’d like to apologize for missing the actual National Suicide Prevention Day, which was September 10, but, really, any day is a good day to talk about suicide prevention.  Suicide prevention is not a matter of telling your distressed friend …

Dr. Devika Bhushan – Bipolar

“I was losing hope that I would ever feel like myself again… but I finally got my full self back.” In an open-hearted and moving op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times on Thursday, Dr. Devika Bhushan, who has been serving as Acting Surgeon General of the State of California, told her personal story of bipolar disorder, which was diagnosed …

Evolutionary Value of Depression

Depression is awful.  It takes all the meaning and joy out of life, it reduces our capacity to care for, or even defend ourselves, and it can lead to an endless downward spiral leading to years of anhedonia and even suicide.  So why would anyone want to talk about any value of depression? Scholars who take an evolutionary approach to …