Resilience

How to develop resilience to face difficult times Resilience is a process that people can learn and activate to help recover from personal or community disaster, trauma or loss.  While it has sometimes been described as a trait that some people have and others don’t, it is better understood as a skill, or series of skills, that we can all …

Wellness in a Time of Pandemic

Moodsurfing is a blog about creative and healthy ways of managing moods and mood shifts.  We’ve been talking about lifestyle change for a long time, so we are ready with lots of healthy actions you can take right now, in spite of social isolation, quarantine, or any other challenge the world can throw at us! Distance doesn’t have to mean …

Mindfulness and Health – Nancy

Moodsurfing has often recommended mindfulness exercises for those grappling with bipolar and other chronic illnesses, but is it possible to go beyond exercises and make mindfulness a part of your everyday life? One way to do this is to take an activity that you do habitually, like turning on the coffee maker in the morning, brushing your teeth, or whatever …

Present Moment Awareness with ACT

Present Moment Awareness with ACT – Nancy

Present Moment Awareness in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a way of learning to live outside of your head.  So often we spend time and energy thinking about how we wish our situation was, or (even more often) trying to avoid thinking about how it isn’t what we wish it was. ACT encourages us to start by Accepting what …

Contemplation

Contemplation – By Deborah

Everyday Contemplation: Maintaining a Hush for Mental Health “Contemplation:” The word’s Latin root means “a space to view auguries.” (Those are implements used for divining the future.) I say that you don’t forecast the future by quiet sitting: you change it, and for the better! You reach into your heart, bring up from it your essence, and refine that into …

Morning Ritual Resumed – Nancy

Moodsurfing has frequently recommended the concept of the “morning ritual” or “morning routine” to help all of us live more creatively with moods.  However, keeping a morning ritual is easier said than done!  For people with kids, jobs, pets, plumbing emergencies and all the rest of life, keeping to a routine may get moved to the back burner more often …

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, …

Smartphone Apps for Depression

Are smartphone apps for depression effective? Two articles published in 2017 by a group of Australian and American researchers examined the question of whether smart phone apps for depression and anxiety are effective. In both articles the authors comprehensively analyzed the world medical literature for research articles that evaluated the effectiveness of smart phone delivered interventions for either depressive symptoms …

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 …

Sitting with Emotions – Gina

Sitting with Emotions I regularly work with clients who are trying to avoid and push away feelings of sadness, anger, loneliness — so-called “negative” emotions. On the one hand, I can entirely relate with this draw and have experienced it myself. However, the more I’ve learned to sit with these emotions, and witnessed others sit with them, the more important …

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 …

Impulsivity – Gina

Impulsivity is something everyone has experienced. We have all had moments when we have said something impulsively that we regret or have gotten carried away with an idea. Sometimes the consequences of an impulsive action are minimal.  But that is not always the case. Impulsive decision-making is more common in people with bipolar. And this increase is not just something seen …

Avoid Intimidation

Rick Hanson has written an elegant and timely newsletter article about how to avoid intimidation and fear from paper tigers and media demagogues. I love his weekly email newsletters and it is again time to encourage readers of this blog to sign up. Here is the link. One of Rick’s themes, elegantly outlined in this most recent article, is how …

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 …