active activity winter

Staying Active in a Covid Winter

I was reminded this past week about the importance of staying active during the winter, as well as some of the challenges people face during this COVID-19 winter Why is this Hard? Our brains are somewhat poorly adapted to modern life. Our distant ancestors would go into hibernation mode during the winter. Food was not as plentiful, and going outdoors …

Seasonal Affective Disorder – Pandemic

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is more than just the “blues”.  Affecting up to 5% of adults in the United States, it can last as much as 40 percent of the year.  SAD can cause significant impairment of normal daily activity, and can lead to deeper complications if left unaddressed. For many of us, 2020 has been a year of “affective …

Starry Starry Night

International Bipolar Foundation hosts virtual event The IBPF, a worldwide alliance of people with bipolar and those who love them will be hosting their annual Starry, Starry Night event virtually this year.  IBPF also has an extensive website and blog roll, see our “outside blogs” column to the right of the screen. They write: Please join us on November 8th …

Fall Back? Mood and the Time Change

For those of our readers who live in the northern hemisphere this is the time when many people experience symptoms of seasonal depression. It is the time when the length of the day is shrinking most rapidly. And this weekend in the United States we will switch from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time with the result that many of …

Doomscrolling

Media Use and the Pandemic We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again:  media use is not always good for you.  Now we have the pandemic-related phenomenon of “doomscrolling”, going obsessively through your feeds again and again, reading the bad news and skipping the good. Why do that?  Well, 2020 has put a lot of stress on everyone.  From …

Depression Strength

How do you address stigma about depression? Depression is an illness, and it’s an illness that’s not easy to cope with.  But in addition to the illness itself and how awful it makes you feel some days, you also have to deal with people – from the closest family to the most casual stranger – judging you for not being …

Reward Processing Impairment

How do you make decisions? Major depression can have profound effects on decision making, causing apparently irrational decisions, for example, not choosing to change behavior in ways that will likely lead to rewards, and choosing instead a course of action that is likely to be unrewarding. Traditional psychological theories of depression have focused on the notion that the problem is …

Stress, Pregnancy and the Infant

Women who are pregnant, especially if it is a first child, are usually extremely protective of the child, so much so that it can sometimes be hard to convince the mother-to-be that taking care of her need for emotional stability is as important as protecting the child from risk. This makes it hard to explain the potential value of continuing …

World Suicide Prevention Day

Suicide is a growing phenomenon in the USA and around the world.  Especially in this difficult time of pandemics, natural disasters and divisive politics, suicide prevention is for everyone. World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10 each year, and it’s a time for all of us to stop and look around.  People in our own social networks are struggling in …

Is Depression Prevention Possible?

Heredity and childhood trauma are two known risk factors for depression, but these can’t be modified in adults.  Are there specific actions that could be taken by at-risk individuals that would make depression prevention possible?  Much of the research available so far does not search for a wide variety of possible factors, instead focusing on a hypothesized intervention, e.g. exercise …

Increasing joy in response to stress

Build in Joy

Time to build in more joy Anxiety, stress, loneliness, grief, and a welter of other emotions are becoming familiar to many of us during this pandemic.  Lockdowns and quarantines, being unable to visit or hug loved ones, worrying about employment, children’s schooling, and how to pay the bills – it’s no wonder it’s getting us down! The idea of increasing …

Medication Effect on Creativity

How does medication for bipolar affect creativity? The effect of medication on personal creativity and artistic productivity is often a concern for people beginning to manage their bipolar.  A widespread belief is that mania produces creative power that artists and writers can transform into works of art; and conversely, that the medication which dampens manic episodes also reduces the ability …

Dietary Interventions Control Mood Swings

Dietary interventions for bipolar and major depression A modified diet including high omega-3 and low omega-6 fatty acids has shown “exciting” findings in a small study looking at adjunct treatments to control mood swings in bipolar patients.  Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine randomized 41 patients, some to receive a high omega-3, low omega-6 diet, and some to receive …

How to Reduce Deaths of Despair?

After decades of increasing life expectancy, recent years have seen a higher death rate among some groups of Americans, attributed to increases in suicide and drug and alcohol abuse.  The causes of these so-called “deaths of despair” are still debated, but may include job loss, economic downgrading, and lack of safety net programs, such as job retraining. A recent study …

Mindfulness Goes Mainstream

Mindfulness practices are a staple of non-medication approaches to managing chronic illness and maintaining mental and physical health, but they have sometimes been considered unscientific, unproven, or just not “modern”.  However, more and more experience and research is backing up the claims of mindfulness practitioners.  A recent study looking a mood homeostasis, or balance, found that people who utilize strategies …

How Habits Work

Healthy lifestyle is a matter of establishing healthy habits and breaking unhealthy habits.  We can’t make a decision each and every day to have the oatmeal for breakfast instead of donuts.  The idea is to get in the habit of reaching for the oatmeal without having to think it through. Especially at this time of year, many people are thinking …

Join the Conversation!

MoodSurfing is dedicated to educating people about healthy ways to live with mental illness and to develop mental and physical wellness.  In addition to that, we’d like to foster dialogue among people who share these interests. What works in the battle against mental illness?  What helps folks with bipolar live better?  What keeps depression at bay and lets one live …