Negative Emotions

We’ve all been there. Maybe we’ve noticed feeling impatient while driving in traffic, or expressing anger towards the barista who didn’t leave you room for milk in your coffee. Whenever we express our dissatisfaction towards the mundane events that don’t go our way, we are more than likely misplacing anxiety, fear, anger, or hurt that stems from one of the …

Money: Having Enough

These are hard times for many people. And the future doesn’t look all that bright. Naturally this leads to anxiety. Will we have enough? Perhaps because we live in a world that constantly sends us confusing messages about what “enough” is, and confusing messages about how to achieve happiness (the entire advertising industry is more or less based on telling …

Night Shift

A young ER doctor came in to see us because he works the night shift, and found that he was having trouble getting enough good quality sleep, and also being alert enough during his shifts. He worked four or five night shifts in a row and then he had several days off. And his goal was to work 9 pm …

Francine Shapiro: EMDR – A Crazy Idea that Works

As a young psychiatrist I was interested in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD – psychological reactions to severe traumatic events) and did a research fellowship on the subject with Charles Marmar at the San Francisco VA Hospital. One Thursday morning, during our regular clinical case conference, we had a woman come in to tell us about her recently discovered technique for …

Starbucks Therapy

We aren’t sure how we feel about the spread of Starbucks into every corner of America. But it does allow us to suggest a kind of intervention that may help you if you are depressed. It is based on Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy – which is one of the best validated psychotherapies for people with bipolar moods. Every morning, at …

Marijuana: Reefer Madness

Psychosis Risks with Marijuana Use This article is taken from Bipolar Network News. “At a recent conference Robin Murray, a researcher based in London, gave a talk about the potential adverse effects of tetrahydrocanabinol (THC). Considerable data indicate that chronic long-term smoking of marijuana is associated with the doubling of the risk of psychosis. Moreover, if a marijuana user has a …

Shamelessness

We think it’s about time for a little shamelessness. We have spent our entire lives trying to help people with moods find happy, satisfying lives. Honestly, one of the biggest challenges that we face is the shame and stigma that accompanies, for so many of us, any thought about depression or bipolar, or any of the other labels that we …

Breathing Techniques

One of the oldest “self help” practices is based on breathing, changing how we breathe in order to reduce stress and to achieve a sense of connection with the world around us: Pranayama Yoga. Prana is the Sanskrit word for “breath” and also means “life.” Therefore, prana can be translated as “the breath of life” or “life energy.” Yama means …

Online Resources

There is so much information on the internet. And so much misinformation. How to find good answers to your questions? This is a very selective list of resources that we have found helpful – Medications UpToDate – This is an online medical textbook that is updated continuously. It is the resource we use when we have questions. It also includes …

Mood and Reality: Mood’s Ability to Shape Perception and Interactions

We have been thinking for a while about how mood powerfully creates our reality. And how hard it is to hold on to a consistent sense of the world as moods change. Mood affects what we notice and remember and how we see it. It also affects where our thoughts naturally tend to go. We ran across an intriguing article …

The End of Summer

Every year we notice two weeks that seem to affect a number of folks who have had seasonal depressions. The first period is the “End of Summer” – a foreshadowing of the coming fall that happens in late August or early September (depending on the weather, we guess). The second period is the “Beginning of Winter” – which usually takes …

Loving Kindness or Metta

Love is something that if you give it away, give it away, you’ll end up having more… Last Sunday at church there was a children’s chorus singing, and this was one of the songs. It seemed very familiar… The cultivation of loving-kindness (mettā bhāvanā) is a popular form of meditation in Buddhism. In some Buddhist traditions, the meditator begins cultivating loving-kindness …

Dynamic Balance

We were talking to a young woman trying to figure out how to maintain more of a balance in her life. She knows that one of the challenges with energized moods is that they can lead to becoming over-committed. On the other hand, one of the great things about that energy is that it often results in getting a lot done. So how do you find …

Making Good Relationships: 4 Behaviors Predictive of Divorce

In a previous post we talked about our view that what is most important in successful long term relationships is not so much who we choose but how we build the relationship (of course, if you choose someone without morals or who is seriously disturbed, this doesn’t probably apply to you). But we deferred discussing what it takes to make …