Breathing Techniques

One of the oldest “self help” practices is based on breathing, changing how we breathe in order to reduce stress and to achieve a sense of connection with the world around us: Pranayama Yoga. Prana is the Sanskrit word for “breath” and also means “life.” Therefore, prana can be translated as “the breath of life” or “life energy.” Yama means …

Online Resources

There is so much information on the internet. And so much misinformation. How to find good answers to your questions? This is a very selective list of resources that we have found helpful – Medications UpToDate – This is an online medical textbook that is updated continuously. It is the resource we use when we have questions. It also includes …

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 …

Music and Mood

People naturally turn to music to change or improve their moods. There are surprisingly few studies on this. But those studies that do exist confirm what we already know, music can definitely affect our mood. Enough of the science, if we know music affects mood, how can we use that knowledge to “moodsurf” better? One thing that we have discovered …

Natural Supplements for Depression

There are many, many supplements that people have suggested are effective treatments for depression. How do you decide what is worth trying? Here we will list the much smaller list of supplements that have been shown to be effective in clinical trials. S-Adenosyl Methionine. SAMe was recently shown in a well designed (but small) clinical trial to help people who …

Riding the Waves

MoodSurfing is about the idea that the ups and downs of mood are normal (we aren’t trying to achieve some elusive “stability”).  But dealing with moods requires focus, discipline and some common sense. You can’t go to Maverick on your first day surfing and not get hurt (see photo to the right). The first step for many people is to …

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 Importance of Good Relationships

Good relationships are one of the foundations of creative living. In another post, we talked about one of the most effective therapies for people with bipolar: Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT). In that post we focused on regular routines (the SRT part) but equally important in that therapy was paying attention to the quality of interpersonal relationships and particularly addressing …

Sleep: Helpful books for Insomnia

It’s one of great ironies of working with people with trouble sleeping that often the path to better sleep heads first in an unexpected direction. Most of the people we see with complaints of fatigue are having problems because they are sleeping too long, and with poor quality. In fact, most people can get by with just seven to seven and a …

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 …

Books on Bipolar Disorder

One of the things that we want to do on this site is share resources that have been helpful to others. In the Amazon carousel widget below is a very brief list highlighting the books that we have most often recommended to others. Please let us know what you think in the comments below. Feel free to recommend any other …