Anger – Uses and Abuses

What do we mean by anger uses and abuses? Righteous anger is a powerful force for change in the world. But some folks seem to live in anger all the time, and for them, and those around them, anger can become a trap. As others pull away from them they feel more helpless, and more angry. How to break this …

meaningful resolutions

Meaningful Resolutions for 2018

How can you make meaningful resolutions for 2018?  Maybe not something like “adopt more healthy habits”, which can be hard to do.  How about resolving to work on something that research shows is foundational to healthy habits and healthy motivations? Cultivating a sense of purpose in life has been shown to affect health and longevity through numerous avenues of study.  Those …

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, …

Cynical Hostility

Cynical Hostility

Cynical hostility is a personality style of cynicism and anger mismanagement in social relationships. Sometimes called chronic anger, it is associated with mistrust and weakened social support networks. 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 …

Language Predicts Stress Levels

The way that people use language predicts stress levels quite reliably, according to a 2017 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Many different stressors (traumatic stress, poverty, loneliness, being told that you have a life threatening illness) all activate a single pattern of profound changes in the function of the immune system. The changes are known …

Hope

Find Hope Despite Adversity

Finding hope can feel miraculous when wrestling with the endless challenges of any chronic illness, including depression. At the end of a long week struggling to help others I ran across an article by a psychiatrist who has thought long and hard about the sources of hope, and felt the wonderful sense of renewal that hope brings to the beleaguered. …

Motivating Healthy Behavior Changes

What is the most effective way of motivating healthy behavior changes? And how does medical practice best  take advantage of information about what motivates people to make positive changes? It should be obvious that just telling someone that a certain behavior is healthy is often not enough to motivate change. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal …

Interpersonal Effectiveness and DEAR MAN

For many people with depression, it can be hard to find an assertive, but not hostile, way of dealing with conflict. Marsha Linehan’s Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) addresses many practical problems such as this with straightforward answers. This comes from the “Interpersonal Effectiveness” module of DBT. The acronym to remember is DEAR MAN: Describe Describe the situation in as objective …

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 …

Awe Reduces Inflammation

What if you knew that the experience of awe could measurably improve your health, would you approach the world differently today? At the most recent TEDMED, psychologist Jennifer Stellar presented evidence that the experience of a number of positive emotions (joy, pride, contentment and awe) was associated with reduced levels of interleukin – 6 (IL6) a well validated blood measure …

Sleep Deprivation in Western Society

In February the National Sleep Foundation announced the publication of new guidelines for the amount of sleep that we should be getting based on a rigorous review of the literature. The guidelines suggested that adults should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep. The results were widely distributed and commented on. It was noted that many people in our …

Self Affirmations by Songify

A good friend and colleague suggested a new technique for “self affirmations.” A technique which makes something that can seem ponderous, but is also a powerful technique for positive change, seem like a lot more fun… Self affirmations are things that you tell yourself about yourself and the world. In psychological terms, they are about reshaping our constant internal dialog through …

Hypomania and Success

During the 1990s clinical psychologist John Gartner was planning on writing a book about religious movements started by manic profits, but he began to be distracted by the energy and excitement swirling around him as people became immersed in the Internet “bubble”. He decided instead to write a book about the relationship between hypomania and success in the business world (The Hypomanic …