Acceptance: Helpful Readings

Acceptance. We have been influenced by many people in setting up this website. One of those great thinkers is a man whose vision of psychotherapy was founded in acceptance, Carl Rogers. In his book On Becoming a Person he wrote: “The curious paradox is when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” This phrase has resonated …

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. …

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 …

The Practice of Tacking: How to Get Going

Sometimes it is important to get going. We generally think that it is wise to have a clear idea of where you want to go and to head towards that distant goal. However, sometimes we all find ourselves in situations where we have to “tack.” In sailing terms, tacking is how you sail into the wind. If you want to …

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

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 sense of what they …

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 …

Smoking (Marijuana)

Lots of folks with depression and bipolar use marijuana to help feel more stable. We like to keep an open mind but we have to say we are not impressed with marijuana as a mood stabilizer. In fact, the closest thing that we can think of in terms of prescribed medications to marijuana (gabapentin or Neurontin) is a medication which …

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 weight loss 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 …

Anxiety

Anxiety often goes hand in hand with mood cycles. In fact, for some people anxiety is a bigger problem than depression. But the types of treatment that can help with anxiety are often different than the types that help with extreme moods. For one thing, psychotherapy is generally more effective for anxiety than medications. And some medications that can help …

Books on Depression That We Recommend

This is a short list of the books that we  most often recommend when people are dealing with issues related to depression. Please let us know what you think in the comments below. Feel free to recommend any other books or readings that you or anyone you know has found helpful and would be a good resource for people with …

Books on Bipolar Disorder

One of the things that we want to do on this site is share resources that have been helpful to others. Below is a very brief list highlighting the books that we have most often recommended to others. Please let us know what you think in the comments below. Feel free to recommend any other books or readings that you …