meaningful resolutions

Meaningful Resolutions for 2018

How can you make meaningful resolutions for 2018?  Maybe not something like “adopt more healthy habits”, which can be hard to do.  How about resolving to work on something that research shows is foundational to healthy habits and healthy motivations? Cultivating a sense of purpose in life has been shown to affect health and longevity through numerous avenues of study.  Those …

Getting Unstuck

When you find yourself unable to make progress towards a goal, it helps to know some tricks for “getting unstuck.” One extremely useful trick is to find a detour around a roadblock. Let’s say you want to lose weight. But every effort to change your diet results in failure. Perhaps you find yourself feeling increasingly irritable and your feelings of …

Feeling Trapped

Feeling trapped is one of the most painful emotional experiences. The need to escape from this place can sometimes lead us to do things that are irrational and self-destructive. A young woman who I’ve been working with for couple of years and he was struggled with depression on and off for many years, finally seem to be making some headway …

Strength, Rock Climbing and Recovery – Gina

Strength, Rock Climbing and Recovery I recently had a conversation with a client who started rock climbing. As a rock climber myself, I get very excited to see people taking up the sport. Over the years I have witnessed how rock climbing can be an important part of someone’s recovery, whether healing from an addiction, depression, anxiety, or a break …

Successful Job Hunting

A young man in the tech industry who worked with me for nearly a decade got me started thinking about the key to successful job hunting. The tech industry is notorious for its high turnover and this young man enjoyed working in startups, where the turnover is even greater. As a result, he found himself looking for work every year …

Impatience Warning

Sometimes I wish that my depressed patients had more impatience. Eagerness for change when you have been depressed for a long time can be a good thing. But if you have bipolar depression, impatience is not always a useful emotion. This past week, several people began expressing impatience with their progress. A couple of them expressed the view that I …

Ready for Change

Ready for Change?

Getting Ready for Change The process of getting ready for change has been the focus of the research of James Prochaska for the last 40 years. James O. Prochaska and Carlo Di Clemente, developed the Transtheoretical Model for change (TTM), which is the most widely accepted framework for understanding change in the mental health and substance use treatment communities. They found …

Coping with Political Uncertainty

Many of the people that I work with on a regular basis have been experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety related to the recent election results. Unfortunately, mental health professionals are no better as news analysts than the so-called professionals. I have been struggling a little bit trying to figure out what to say to these people. Coping with Political …

Travel and Mood

Travel and mood are very much related. Often a trip is associated with a significant change in mood. This can be due to many factors. Getting out of a rut, experiencing new locations and meeting new people can bring you out of the depression. However there is also the possibility that travel may disrupt circadian rhythms in a way that leads …

Positive Change or Mania?

Charlie is concerned that by being too positive he will trigger mania. He has been hospitalized once a year and the pattern always seems to be the same. He will have settled into a seemingly fixed state of depression, and then will begin to feel frustrated with that state and tried to make changes to escape from the swampy morass. He …

Breathing Practices for Stress Relief

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

Working with a Psychiatrist Effectively

If you are a psychiatrist, sometimes you have an opportunity to experience a response to treatment that seems like a miracle. But when miracles don’t happen, what are strategies for working with a psychiatrist effectively? Early in my career, the serotonin re-uptake inhibitors SSRIs) were released, and I had a chance to see a number of people who had given up hope …

Self-Esteem: A Key Aspect of Mental Health

Much has been written about the topic of “self-esteem.” Sometimes the idea almost seems like one of those “buzz” words that doesn’t really mean anything. A significant amount of research points to the development of self-esteem as a key aspect of mental health. Self-esteem builds slowly and its foundation is the sense that we are loved and valued by others. …

Mindfulness and Impermanency: The Practice of Acknowledging the Temporary – Arnrow

After reading this article by TV producer-turned-mindful meditation enthusiast, Mark Koberg, I have been reflecting on how my awareness of permanency, or rather, lack thereof, in my life affects my overall day-to-day experiences. In his account, Koberg shares how a medical diagnosis and a newfound indifference to the career he had been building all of his adulthood ensued a journey …

Be Mindful of Keeping Your Mind Full of Good – Arnrow

Experience-dependent neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to learn, adapt, and evolve to not only our experiences, but also, and perhaps more significantly, our reactions to those experiences. It is almost as if our brains can form habits, and the types of behaviors and patterns that it develops are dependent on how we choose to be. This suggests that the …