Law of Attraction – Creating a Hostile World

The law of attraction is the belief that “like attracts like.” Focusing on positive or negative thoughts can bring about positive or negative results. If you are angry or hostile your world responds with anger or hostility. Wikipedia has this to say about the philosophy that is called the Law of Attraction – “This belief is based upon the idea that people …

Wise Selfishness

Wise Selflessness– The Dalai lama says, “It is important that when pursuing our own self-interest we should be “wise selfish” and not “foolish selfish”. Being foolish selfish means pursuing our own interests in a narrow, shortsighted way. Wise selfishness means taking a broader view and recognizing that our own long-term individual interest lies in the welfare of everyone. Being wise selfish means …

Foundations of Wellbeing

Rick Hanson’s Foundations of Wellbeing online seminar has helped many people enjoy better, richer, happier lives. As regular readers of this blog know, we very much like Rick Hanson’s books and other writings, and now he has created a wonderful online seminar. We don’t usually make such a big deal about programs, but we think this is going to be …

Blowing Things Up: Self-Destructive Responses to Frustration

Why do we sometimes come up with self-destructive responses to the unpleasant feeling of being trapped or the anxiety of an unhappy life situation? I talked about this a little bit in an earlier post that was based on an article in the New York Times. In that article, it was noted that many people  may find it so hard to deal with the stress …

Accepting Uncertainty

We are often trapped more by what we think about how things should be, or “have to be,” than by the reality of the challenges we face.  This week I have been noticing how often the phrase “I can’t stand.XX” precedes a statement that is quite obviously not true.  Someone who has been living with the uncertainty of multiple sclerosis for …

Being Busy is an Antidote to the Terror of Being Alone

My attention was captured when I read an article that suggested that there was a common human experience that many people in our busy worlds find so disturbing that they voluntarily give themselves electric shocks in order to distract themselves from feeling it. No Time to Think. Nowadays, people can keep negative thoughts at bay with a frenzy of activity. …

Starting Bipolar Treatment – Dr Suzanne A . Black and Mr. Stuart Jessiman

Through the Door : The Initial Consultation – Part I I arrive at the door of an address of an English speaking psychologist in Paris given to me by my wife – This is someone I don t want to see.; but, my increasingly erratic, increasingly violent behavior is threatening my marriage , job and basic sense of well-being . …

Summer Vacation: Taking a Break from Therapy

Maybe because it’s summer, and everybody’s thinking about vacations, or maybe it’s just a coincidence, but we’ve been spending a lot of time talking with people these past two weeks about taking a break from treatment or drastically cutting back on treatment, etc. All of it has us wondering about how to think sensibly about these types of decisions. After …

Hypomania and Sensory Experience

More than a decade ago, Dr. Suzanne Black, who occasionally writes posts on this blog, got me interested in the sensory experiences associated with hypomania.In our Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the only reference to these is under the heading of “distractibility.” And, indeed, sometimes people who are experiencing intense and profound sensory experiences everywhere they look and listen, may have trouble …

Longevity and Having a Purpose in Life

Studies in older adults have suggested that having a sense of purpose in life can add years to longevity. Now researchers have taken a look at the question of whether these beneficial effects occur in younger people. The study looked at a group of 6163 people aged 20 to 75 and followed them for 14 years. They found that having …

Mood Swings – What Causes Them?

What causes mood swings? What do we think about when someone says their mood has been “up and down?”Among the most common causes of mood shifts are the following: A mood disorder such as bipolar, or an atypical depression. Bipolar as a cause is obvious, but an atypical depression can also be associated with mood swings. In the case of bipolar …

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Procrastination may be related to impulsive decision making. This somewhat surprising finding is based on a large study of twins. Most modern explanations of procrastination have focused on avoidance and aversion. You put off things because you are afraid of some negative consequence (doing badly, not meeting your standards, etcetera), in other words, you are avoiding a bad outcome. More recent studies have suggested that …

Evolutionary Psychology and Understanding Depression

We are glad to finally have a summary of a fascinating conversation with Dr. Julio Ozores up on this site in our “Conversations” series. Dr. Ozores challenges us to think about depression in a new way. Although many of us struggle with the negative effects of depression in our lives, are (or were) there benefits to depression that have led …

Social Media Makes Moods Go Viral

Previously we reviewed evidence that the people we live with (family, neighbors, even the larger community of people in a metropolitan area) have an effect on our mood, so it is not surprising to learn of a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Yale, and Facebook that found that moods can go viral, just like ideas and …