Acceptance and the unacceptable

Acceptance and the Unacceptable

How can we reconcile acceptance and the unacceptable in our lives? A new blog post from Rick Hanson sparked me to thinking about the relationship between acceptance and acquiescence or even complicity. So many things are wrong with the world. Is there no role for righteous anger? And yet… Acceptance in the sense that Rick means is really about not …

Perfectionism and Depression

Perfectionism and depression are opposites that often seem to attract each other, and the combination can be a great challenge for anyone trying to “live creatively with moods.” Depression enhances our brain’s natural tendency to see problems in the world around us… it shines a spotlight on every imperfection. It is a perfectionist’s nightmare. Perfectionism Perfectionism itself is not necessarily …

Path to Wellbeing

Early birds can save 180$ on a remarkable program that will help put them on the path to wellbeing in 2018. Longtime readers of this blog have been exposed to the ideas and insights of Rick Hanson in many previous posts. I think he is one of the most important figures in the field of positive psychology. Once a year, …

Mindfulness and Illness

Newcomers to the practice of mindfulness meditation tend to imagine that mindfulness practice should ideally be associated with a state of calm happiness or relaxed bliss, so the idea of mindfulness as an approach to illness may seem odd or incongruous. It is worth going back a few years to Jon Kabat-Zinn‘s early work popularizing mindfulness in the United States. …

Meditation

This is a quote from one of my patients which illustrates how profoundly a regular meditation practice can affect mood and anxiety. The woman who shared this experience with me is a genuine skeptic about all things “new age” and that made her words even more meaningful in my mind… “The most important thing to know is that for the …

Mindful Speech

Mindful speech seems to be in short supply these days. A pervasive sense of urgency about communication propels us into comments that we later regret. Rick Hanson reminds us of the words of Buddha, wise speech always has five characteristics. It is: Well-intended – Born of goodwill, seeks to support and strengthen rather than belittle and criticize.  True – Not overstated, taken out …

Mindfulness: No Gain without Pain?

Mindfulness is one of those practices that seems to, quite perversely, be most important to practice at times when it is most difficult to do. A successful interior designer with bipolar disorder who has been on a mild run of hypomania for a month or so told me, in a roundabout way, about how people around her were getting a bit exhausted …

The Science of Slow Breathing

In an April 5, 2017 article in the New York Times, Gretchen Reynolds reviews new research on the science of slow breathing and how this ancient technique may work to promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and prevent panic attacks. The technique of controlled breathing or pranayama (प्राणायाम) is referred to in the Bhagavad Gita, and thus dates back at least to …

Contemplative Practice Options

Contemplative Practice Options Explored in New Research Mindfulness has been much in the news. Skeptical readers have commented that it seems to be “good for what ails you,” no matter what the challenge. Others have noticed that mindfulness seems to now encompass some practices (focused meditation) that were historically seen to be an alternative to mindfulness practice. “Contemplative practice” is …

Hamster Brain

A young woman who has been making good progress tackling the problem of severe depressive episodes suddenly is having trouble managing the opposite end of the mood spectrum.  She gets energized and is consumed with getting stuff done. She is unable to stop until she is exhausted and she crashes. I call this state of mind “hamster mind” because it is like the …

Mindfulness for Depression -Research Update

Mindfulness has received a lot of attention recently as an approach to improving mental health in a number of conditions. But is it really effective as part of a strategy for treating serious depression? And, if so, how can we best incorporate it into treatment, given the great difficulty that many people with depression have doing even a small amount …

Mindfulness Warnings

A recent visitor to this site sent us this link and some thoughts about mindfulness… This article about the dangers of mindfulness was posted by a friend of mine from smartrecovery.  I just thought I would pass it along, definitely going to store this in the back of my mind for later. The cases discussed were relatable to my experience …

Children at Risk for Depression

James Hudziak, and other researchers, presented information suggesting a strategy for improving brain health, and reducing anxiety and depression in children at risk for these conditions at the 2015 meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. We have previously mentioned in this blog another excellent resource for information on bipolar, Bipolar Network News, and this information is summarized …

Body Mindfulness and Peak Performance

If mindfulness training works to achieve peak performance in Navy SEALs and top athletes perhaps it’s not such a New Age idea. In fact what distinguishes people who are resilient in the face of physical challenges may be a natural capacity for the kind of self-awareness that mindfulness teaches. A New York Times article called my attention to fascinating research …

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Bipolar

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for bipolar may reduce anxiety and bolster emotional stability As with many psychiatric disorders, bipolar disorder isn’t impossible to treat but it has its own unique and unremitting way of seriously wearing down a patient’s resolve. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for bipolar joins a handful of therapies that can help. A kind of yo-yoing of …

Mindfulness Apps Updated

Mindfulness Apps Updated We have updated our mindfulness links based on a nice review in the New York Times. The reviewer suggests starting with one of the two apps (both available on iPhone and android) that has a complete program for beginners – Calm or Headspace. We particularly liked the fact that the reviewer pointed to the very personal aspects …

Centering

Feeling scattered and distracted is such a common experience in our lives these days. Rick Hanson talks about getting centered in today’s post in his Just One Thing series. If you are feeling scattered, take one moment to be aware of your body as you take a long, slow breath, or think about something you feel good about. In that moment …

Mindfulness for Bipolar – Eric

Could mindfulness meditation be a viable treatment for bipolar disorder? What are the aims of modern-day meditation? Transcendence? Inner peace? Maybe a sort of vague, on-and-off tingling around your body where you think your chakras should be? With mindfulness meditation, there really aren’t any guarantees. In fact, just having any expectations, or the experience of “anticipation,” runs counter to the …