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 …

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation is the relaxation technique that I have had the most success with, (and I have tried many of them!) – by that we mean a technique to help in the moment with stress and anxiety, as opposed to something like mindfulness meditation or another meditation technique, which works best as a regular practice that over time reduces anxiety. …

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. …

How High is High?

We met a few days ago with one of our favorite people. She’s a writer and an artist and she has been gradually reducing some of her medications to see whether the combination of more diligent self-care and a lower dose of medications can lead to better quality of life and a return of some of her creative capacities. This …

Fear of Catastrophe

Fear of Catastrophe

How to respond to the fear of catastrophe? Many people are having trouble getting to sleep these days. Fear of catastrophe has reemerged as we contemplate the craziness of nuclear war. This seems like a good time to review what we know about situations where there is the potential for something really bad to happen but the magnitude and nature of that …

Pets and Mental Health – Gina

As I write this article about pets and mental health, I sit next to my 4 year old dog, Rufus. I am regularly reminded in my daily life of the valuable role pets can play in our lives. Pets can play a huge role in providing support and have been shown to have both physical and psychological benefits in the …

Successful Job Hunting

A young man in the tech industry who worked with me for nearly a decade got me started thinking about the key to successful job hunting. The tech industry is notorious for its high turnover and this young man enjoyed working in startups, where the turnover is even greater. As a result, he found himself looking for work every year …

Exercise Solutions

Exercise Solutions to Roadblocks

I was inspired to write this post on exercise solutions by a wonderful article in BP Hope that not only talks about reasons for making sure that you are exercising but also tries to overcome some of the barriers to making this change. You already know why Exercise is critical for brain health Exercise and physical activity is the most …

Tools for Change

Tools for Change

In my previous post I outlined the idea of “stages of change,” here I want to focus on some of the tools for change. In the picture below you will they the stages of change lined up with appropriate tools for change. Some of the tools are appropriate in more than one stage and, in general, the activities that support …

Ready for Change

Ready for Change?

Getting Ready for Change The process of getting ready for change has been the focus of the research of James Prochaska for the last 40 years. James O. Prochaska and Carlo Di Clemente, developed the Transtheoretical Model for change (TTM), which is the most widely accepted framework for understanding change in the mental health and substance use treatment communities. They found …

Nature and Wellbeing – Gina

Nature and Wellbeing Many patients I work with speak of the value that nature plays in their lives and I can say that I also strongly relate to the value it plays in my own. Through personal experience and repeated accounts from others, I have seen how nature can improve moods, increase feelings of connectedness, and impact thought patterns. More …

Radical Acceptance and Coping with Bipolar Disorder – Gina

What is radical acceptance? Radical acceptance is an approach named by Marsha Linehan, PhD who created Dialectical Behavior Therapy that is about completely and totally accepting something, stopping the fight against reality, and ultimately, suffering less. Things will regularly happen in our lives that are outside of our control, such as having a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or experiencing a …

Mood Trends

Mood trends are useful to track in order to prevent a full blown episode of depression, hypomania or mania. I think of them as equivalent to the idea of a falling or rising barometer. Before satellites and modern weather forecasting, whether the barometer was rising or falling was the best predictor of the weather. If the barometer was rising it …