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 …

Night Shift

A young ER doctor came in to see us because he works the night shift, and found that he was having trouble getting enough good quality sleep, and also being alert enough during his shifts. He worked four or five night shifts in a row and then he had several days off. And his goal was to work 9 pm …

Doctors Part 1

Managing your relationships with doctors can be a challenge. Here are a few tips that might help. It all begins with finding good doctors. In many parts of the country this can be hard. There may not be many choices. Start with a list of “candidates” – For a primary care doctor – look under “internal medicine”, “family practice” or …

Yoga

Many people we know report that beginning yoga and doing it consistently has been associated with periods of remarkable stability, energy and effectiveness. There are studies supporting yoga as an evidence based approach to the treatment of depression. But it is hard to figure out where to begin. At the end of this page are some additional resources. One thing …

Impossible Jobs

In this world, there are two kinds of jobs: Jobs that one could perhaps do adequately, and jobs that are impossible.  For whatever reason, a lot of folks’ we know tend to prefer impossible jobs.  Maybe because they’re more exciting and interesting. The key to an impossible job is recognizing that no person could do all the work that falls …

Mood and Food

Many people have an intuitive sense that a good diet is a foundation stone of good mental health. We don’t disagree, although the evidence for dietary manipulation’s effectiveness is not overwhelming. There are a couple of things that we have noticed over the years about food and its effect on mood that might be useful tips. For one thing, simple …

Mood and Cognitive Functioning

Mood can have a profound impact on cognitive functioning. In fact, over the years, we have found that the most likely diagnosis when someone comes in complaining of “suddenly becoming demented” is a mood disorder (people with dementias tends to have a more gradual onset of symptoms and often don’t notice the impairments). There seem to be three types of …

Changing Bad Habits: Helpful Resources

If you talk to anyone who has worked to help people with serious bad habits (smoking, sex addiction, gambling, drug use) they will probably end up mentioning the “Stages of Change” model of Prochaska. The notion that people don’t just “flip a switch” and change was pretty revolutionary at the time, and the useful notion of stages of change: from …

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 Super Mood Stabilizer

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 …

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 losing weight 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 …

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 …