Wholeness: Overcoming the War Within – Arnrow

I feel like there is a war within us– an internal battle between the different parts of us, tugging and pulling for control and dominance. On one side is the brain— a soldier of logic and reason, commanded to evaluate all it comes in contact with, and to calculate corresponding plans of actions. It is enemy to, well, the other …

Training Your Brain – by Lyndsey

I’m an avid animal lover in general, and dog lover in specific. I take a lot of life’s cues from dogs because they are such happy creatures.  They greet every day with joy, rarely obsess and generally live in the moment, which seems to make them content. And I want that. I was listening to the Dog Whisperer give advice …

Mindfulness Based Substance Abuse Treatment Works

Relapse is common after substance abuse treatment, indicating that there is a clear need for effective followup options. A new study has found that cognitive-behavioral relapse prevention (RP) and mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) are both effective aftercare interventions for substance abuse treatment, but that the latter may have an especially enduring effect as far as reducing drug-use days and heavy …

Yoga for Mood and Health

Many of our patients with chronic mood disorders report that beginning yoga and doing it consistently has been associated with periods of remarkable stability. 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 …

Apps for MoodSurfing

While you are waiting for the official MoodSurfing app, you might want to check out the recently updated “Links and Apps” page on this blog. There I write about other websites with useful information, but also about apps for Android and iPhone that can help you create calm by adding a mindfulness practice, or track your moods, so that you …

Experience a Sense of Plenty

Nothing can seem more urgent, important, and real than the sense that there is not enough for us. Not enough love. Not enough food. The sense of scarcity may not even connect to any clear sense of what is missing. But that doesn’t take away its power. Regular readers of this blog know that we appreciate the insights of Rick …

Acceptance versus Avoidance

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is based on the belief that five fundamental errors are responsible for much of human distress. One of these errors is the tendency to want to avoid painful feelings at all costs. Our addiction to our cell phones can serve as a distraction from the distress of loneliness. Or drinking. Or smoking. A colleague suggested …

Online Resources: Links and Apps Update

The very useful listserve of the Northern California Cognitive Behavioral Therapy association has had a great thread about favorite apps for mental health. We took advantage of the opportunity to update the page entitled “Links and Apps” with some more options. Here is an unedited list of the favorites from that group… note that this list is heavy on iPhone …

Leaving War Behind

I spent many sessions working with a successful entrepreneur to try to help him cope better with stress and depression. His problems seem to be neatly encapsulated in Joseph Campbell’s notion of the Hero. Like all of the heroes in the past, he set out as a young man to make fame and fortune and to change the world for …

Coming Home

Where does the mind go when it is not occupied by the worries, frustration, and anxiety? Does it go to a happy place, or are people naturally angry? According to Rick Hanson, PhD, the mind constantly fluctuates between a reactive and responsive state. When in the responsive state, the body is able to relax and reenergize. It is a time …

Awareness and Acceptance

The New York Times has had a series of well written articles on the topic of mindfulness. The most recent article notes that brain scans show that mindfulness can change the way our brains function, and help us improve attention, reduce stress hormones and even bounce back faster from negative information. The increased ability to bounce back from negative information that comes from …

Meditate!

Rick Hanson has a wonderful blog of practices that will help you achieve excellent mental health. We encourage you to subscribe to his newsletter (Just One Thing). We were inspired to share with you a summary of last week’s email. It is devoted to one of the five most useful practices – meditation. Meditation increases grey matter in a number of …

Chronic Health Condition

A woman who works in the health care field came in for a visit with us today.  We’ve been seeing her for about five months.  She had a problem with depression and then developed a hypomanic episode. She has continued to have mood cycles for the last several months. It’s now clear that she has developed a bipolar type of …

Mindfulness in the News

A number of people called my attention to the December 15 NY Times The Power of Concentration article written by Maria Konnikova on the topic of mindfulness. As I read it, I noticed certain parallels with my December 8 2-Minute Meditation blog post, mainly that there is recent research that shows that as little as 5 minutes of mindfulness per …

Two Minute Meditation

Sometimes when we most need to get to the meditative or mindful state… it can be hardest to get there. For many people, being a bit energized.. with our thoughts going quickly, many ideas, drawn to many things… sounds are more profound, colors are brighter, smells and tastes are richer… is such a time. There is good news. We have …

Christian Mindfulness

I will be writing posts from time to time that are a response to questions posed on this site. The first question that we received had to do with whether mindfulness can be reconciled with Christianity. And, if not, if there is an alternative practice that can achieve the same goals. Since I am not a theologian, I am not …

Stormy Weather

The first of the big winter storms blew through the Bay Area today.  Winds whipped up the already large waves and the pouring rain made it hard to see much more than a few feet in any direction. Of course, there were some hardy folk out there surfing anyway.  But we assume that most of you recognize that when there …