Mood and Cognitive Functioning

Mood can have a profound impact on cognitive functioning. In fact, over the years, we have found that the most likely diagnosis when someone comes in complaining of “suddenly becoming demented” is a mood disorder (people with dementias tends to have a more gradual onset of symptoms and often don’t notice the impairments). There seem to be three types of …

Getting Where You Want to Go: Remembering Priorities and Problem-Solving

Successful time management is in large measure all about starting with the big things. This is how you go about almost any design and building process. With a kitchen remodel you begin with the major appliances, with a life remodel you build around your life goals. Some people find it helpful to think of the problem of how to fit …

What is Hypomania?

What is hypomania (“a little mania”) and what changes when you are hypomanic? Depending on where you sit it can be the most desirable state conceivable or a mood that is terribly destructive to relationships. We often say that hypomania is a symptom that rarely motivates people for treatment, but often motivates a spouse or partner to insist on treatment. …

Changing Bad Habits: Helpful Resources

If you talk to anyone who has worked to help people with serious bad habits (smoking, sex addiction, gambling, drug use) they will probably end up mentioning the “Stages of Change” model of Prochaska. The notion that people don’t just “flip a switch” and change was pretty revolutionary at the time, and the useful notion of stages of change: from …

What is Biofeedback?

Biofeedback is a stress management technique that uses devices that give you information about your body’s physiologic response to stress. The idea is to provide you with information that would ordinarily be outside of your conscious awareness, such as information about your body temperature, your blood pressure, your heart rate, etcetera. Studies show that if we receive “feedback” about these …

The Importance of Good Relationships

Good relationships are one of the foundations of creative living. In another post, we talked about one of the most effective therapies for people with bipolar: Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT). In that post we focused on regular routines (the SRT part) but equally important in that therapy was paying attention to the quality of interpersonal relationships and particularly addressing …

Sleep: Helpful books for Insomnia

It’s one of great ironies of working with people with trouble sleeping that often the path to better sleep heads first in an unexpected direction. Most of the people we see with complaints of fatigue are having problems because they are sleeping too long, and with poor quality. In fact, most people can get by with just seven to seven and a …

The Super Mood Stabilizer

The Super Mood Stabilizer From time to time we run across people who seem to do everything wrong, in terms of typical MoodSurfing strategies, but who nevertheless is living a very creative and successful life. Very often the reason they can get away with it is because they have the “Super Mood Stabilizer” – a sense of purpose, a clear …

Successful Job Hunting

No we aren’t going to offer suggestions about how to find your next job (although there is a link below to the best book on the subject we know of – the classic “What Color is Your Parachute”). The point of this post is to share some of the key features of successful job hunters we have observed over many …

Having Kids

Having kids 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 also …

Diet and Weight Loss

The topic of losing weight is one that is charged with emotional significance for many individuals. Perhaps in keeping with that fact, and certainly due to a lack of clear research in this area, there is an incredible amount of misinformation available on this topic. We have recently completed an exhaustive review of the available clinical research relevant to this …

Mindfulness and Helpful Resources

Mindfulness: it is the “in” thing in mental health. The practice of mindfulness really does work to help create more satisfying lives. But what is it and how do you get started practicing mindfulness? Jon Kabat-Zinn is the man who popularized mindfulness approaches to improving health in this country. He has written a great number of books and produced audio …

Cynical Hostility: Chill Out, Live Longer

Cynical hostility is a personality style of cynicism and mistrust in social relationships. 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-a-half times more likely to be become depressed 20 years later in the …

Supplements for Mood

There are lots of supplements that are supposed to help with mood and energy and overall health. We try to keep things simple. First, we don’t recommend a supplement unless it has been shown to work in at least one well designed study (randomized, placebo controlled clinical trial). Second, before we recommend a supplement we encourage people to go to …