Small Rewards

A young woman who was scheduled to go on a big trek in the Himalayas was not doing the training she needed to in order to have a good experience. She had been depressed for the last few months and this was probably a manifestation of that mood. She told me that she felt she “should be doing much more.” …

A Protest

So many of us have to deal with things that are not fair – depression, unsupporting spouses, financial reversals, weight gain, etcetera, it can be tempting to launch a protest of some kind against the unfairness. These protest actions don’t have to be obvious at all, but they can have powerful effects, nonetheless. A few women recently told me, “I …

Mood and Food

Today’s post was inspired by Disorderly Chickadee’s blog. She has been in an unstable (irritable) mood but her post is about how proud she is of the fact that she has been losing weight. For some reason, several people we have been working with have also been feeling irritable and agitated, and using some of that energy to lose weight…It …

Be Helpful

We love today’s post from Just One Thing! (And yes, we have had several references to this site in the last few days… but he is starting the year by reviewing the best ideas on his site). And we felt compelled to put this post up today when we checked our email and found that today’s blog post from the …

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 …

Running a Marathon

Many of us are strongly motivated by the desire to achieve results, complete tasks and succeed. Often we want to get where we are going quickly. Life is too short. Seize the day. Dealing with moods can be very frustrating. Change may take place slowly. Sometimes you have to put in a fair amount of energy just to hold on …

Of Two Minds

This morning I was thinking about the relationship between your pre-frontal cortex and your limbic system. I know, it’s a little strange to be having these thoughts while out riding a bicycle in the morning… a hazard of the profession I guess. The reason I was thinking about this subject is that people’s moods appear to be affected by both …

No More New Year’s Resolutions

We’re going to make a strong pitch for you to not have to make any more New Year’s Resolutions. Honestly, why this idea of deciding to make big changes in your life on January 1st has persisted, is one of the mysteries of human mythology. Perhaps it’s because we are such incurable optimists at heart. Or maybe it’s because we …

Inspiration and Skepticism

A very dear and cherished friend is visiting us. She has inspired this post. Every time we are fortunate enough to visit with her I have an opportunity to wrestle with the dichotomy of faith and inspiration, as opposed to science and skeptical inquiry, that is at the heart of Western medicine. Carey has vigorously embraced healing and faith. And …

Traveling

Traveling can be exciting, but it can also be very stressful. It is particularly important for people living with moods to do prepare for travel before they leave. A surprisingly high percentage of serious mood catastrophes, in our experience, happen during trips. And they are almost always preventable. First, if your traveling to some place without good medical care, it’s a …

ACT

The “hot” thing in the therapy world these days is something called ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). The radical notion behind ACT is that therapy should not be primarily about reducing symptoms (like depression) but rather increasing our ability to have a valued life (a life that is based on our deepest values) even though we have symptoms. And, by …

Giving Thanks

A friend asked “What is Thanksgiving all about?” There is the traditional answer about the Pilgrims and the Indians, but Thanksgiving as a national holiday has a shorter history. The holiday was first celebrated on the same date by all states in 1863. The idea was largely the product of author Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote letters to politicians for …

Anger and Change: “It’s Wrong” Mentality

Anger and Change: “It is just wrong, I can’t accept it, I have to stand up to things that are wrong.” We were talking with a young man who was frustrated because he had to complete a year’s worth of general education requirements before he could graduate with his degree in film. He was very upset, and noted at a later point …

Aikido for Bad Behavior

We had an opportunity to visit Japan several times, over the course of a decade working with Japanese psychiatrists to improve how Japanese psychiatric hospitals work with potentially violent patients.  During one of those trips, we came across a wonderful story that has stuck with us ever since.  It is the story of a young man who is confronted by …

Relationships: Love the One You Are With

We had an interesting conversation this morning about the reality of romantic relationships… which ended up being about much more than relationships… When I did more couple’s counselling, I often would think to myself, these two folks are coming in here complaining about each other. But really, if they want to know if the relationship is a good one and …

Should or Could?

The idea for today’s post comes from a wonderful online resource for folks with moods –  MoodScope.com (they have an interesting mood tracker app and blog). They wrote about the power of changing a single word in one’s thoughts – going from I should do something, or I should have done something, to I could do something. Give it a …

Starting a Forum

We have finally gotten started with our online forum. This is a place where frequent visitors and subscribers can ask questions, make suggestions, offer advice, share wisdom, etcetera, related to living creatively with moods. We want this forum to be lively, positive, candid and meaningful. To that end we can promise that we will give top priority to answering questions …