Feeling Already Full

A wonderful friend sent us a note that this post had been very helpful to him. It is, once again, from the Just One Thing site. The practice is called “Feel already full” and it is a perfectly timed reminder that so much of what we see in life (TV especially) is specifically designed to make us feel unhappy with …

Take a Chance

If you are feeling depressed or anxious, today’s post from Rick Hanson (part of his Just One Thing blog) may be helpful. If you are already feeling energized, you might not need more encouragement to do something risky/taking a chance… Rick’s post is about how, as children, we learn to avoid certain types of conversations that seem too risky, and …

Money and Security

How much money does it take for someone to feel really secure? This seems like a sensible question. Certainly, many of us have been dealing with  insecurity because of a lack of money. In other words, there is a relationship between money and security. On the other hand, over the years, we have never run into anyone who managed to …

Retraumatization

After nearly 20 years of work in the field of post-traumatic stress disorder, one thing that continues to trouble and baffle me is the phenomena that was described by Freud as the repetition compulsion.  Why is it that people who have been victimized in terrible ways are at much higher risk of being victimized again.  One would think that they would be …

Disaster’s Aftermath

The recent hurricane that hit New Jersey and New York reminded us of the research on the aftermath of disaster conducted by a friend and colleague, Kent Harber, PhD. Kent has been very interested in posttraumatic stress disorder, and in particular, the work of Dr. James Pennebaker, on the value of sharing one’s story in the aftermath of trauma. Jim …

Ghosts

Today is Halloween. The holiday is felt by many to be derived from the Celtic festival of Samhain. On this night the door of the underworld opened a crack and spirits of the dead, as well as other beings, like faeries, traveled back to their old homes. Costumes developed as a way to avoid being harmed by these spirits, who …

Mood Phobias

We were talking with a couple of wonderful psychologists about what it is that helps people come to terms with moods and learn to live with them creatively.  One of the barriers to successful mood surfing is a fear of moods.  I suppose the analogy is of someone who is afraid of the waves trying to learn how to surf. …

Sick of Vacation

Hard working professionals go on vacation and immediately get sick. This doesn’t happen just once, it is regular and reliable. What is going on? If this has happened to you, you are getting a crash course on the physiology of the body’s stress response system, and some of its flaws. It was developed to deal with very different problems than …

Performance Anxiety

Fear of public speaking and performance anxiety are very common things. Probably almost all of us have had the experience of desperately wishing to relax before a presentation. This may be a situation where you should be careful of what you wish for.When I was younger I had a terrible fear of speaking in public. And my first job out …

When the Pressure Builds

We all have stress. It is a natural part of life. The level of stress in your life may vary from moment to moment. Some folks are more sensitive to stress and others may shrug it off, choosing to find contentment with whatever hand they are dealt in a happy-go-lucky fashion. Whatever your stress management style, it’s important to just …

Bad Memories

Unstable moods and bad memories seem to go together. In the clinic where many of us work we have noticed how often it is that folks who we see with bipolar have had traumatic experiences in childhood. Why that happens is speculation. But we do know that dealing with those experiences can be very, very hard, and, potentially, life transforming. …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Stress Eating

Weight gain may be not only a psychological (“I hate how I look, it makes me depressed”) but also a biological (overweight people have elevated levels of inflammation that may increase depression) factor worsening depression. Great, but what to do about this? Most of us already knew that we should lose weight, and more guilt doesn’t help. One very interesting …