take pleasure

Take Pleasure

What’s the best way to cope with stress?  Our friend Rick Hanson, whom we frequently quote in this blog, wonders why people don’t Take Pleasure.   There are so many fun things to do, some take hardly any time or money, why don’t we just take time out to smell the roses, or the dinner cooking, or the perfume…  Why don’t …

Shame, Guilt and Bipolar

A manic or hypomanic episode (mild or severe) can lead a person to taking actions that may be unhealthy, unwise, or even harmful to self or others.  This can lead, afterwards, to feelings of guilt and shame.  We feel bad about what we have done, but we don’t always know how to move on and make amends.  These feelings can …

Increasing joy in response to stress

Build in Joy

Time to build in more joy Anxiety, stress, loneliness, grief, and a welter of other emotions are becoming familiar to many of us during this pandemic.  Lockdowns and quarantines, being unable to visit or hug loved ones, worrying about employment, children’s schooling, and how to pay the bills – it’s no wonder it’s getting us down! The idea of increasing …

Resilience

How to develop resilience to face difficult times Resilience is a process that people can learn and activate to help recover from personal or community disaster, trauma or loss.  While it has sometimes been described as a trait that some people have and others don’t, it is better understood as a skill, or series of skills, that we can all …

Mood Homeostasis and Depression

MoodSurfing advocates identifying strategies for managing moods without medications, not because we think medications are bad, but because they do have potential adverse effects. We think that some of these strategies are very helpful, but the psychiatric establishment has not always agreed. A recent study1 provides evidence that choosing activities to stabilize mood can have a big impact on mental …

Seven Great Coping Strategies for the Pandemic

Moodsurfing readers have been sharing their thoughts and findings about “what works” in navigating these difficult times, and we’ve collected a series of coping strategies that everyone can use while homebound and social distancing. Keep Active.  Some people report that they are walking up and down the stairs at home, some have unearthed old exercise equipment that they had lying …

Facing Fear Through Prescribed Worry

In this time of heightened fear and anxiety, all of us need to work on strategies for managing fear.  The usual way most people try to manage fear is by repression or distraction, but we all know that those “strategies” just let the fears fester and come sneaking back later. How can we manage our fears in a constructive way …

Getting Back to Nature

Connections between mental health and the natural world Urbanization is a reality of modern life, and many people feel that their connection to nature – green growing things, animals, trees, the stars, the wind, the ocean and the mountains – has been disrupted, or has simply vanished.  Mental illness is another reality of modern life that shows some correlation to …

Six Important Things to Manage Bipolar

Here’s an interview published by the website BP Hope, a colleague site of Moodsurfing.  This expert researcher who also experiences mood disorder gives her top six coping strategies for dealing with bipolar.  Her insights are both sharp and encouraging: there is a lot anyone can really do to make a life with bipolar be a better life. Kay Redfield Jamison, …

Acceptance Self Talk for Depression – Nancy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) teaches users a technique called “Acceptance Self-Talk”.  This is a series of exercises that trains people to substitute new thoughts for old ones and encourages them to evaluate their thoughts and accept only what seems true and helpful. Depression is often characterized by recurrent negative thoughts that drag one down and become barriers to taking …

Building Healthy Habits – Gina

Building healthy habits can be very important in managing mood. Regular sleep, exercise and diet can play a key role in reinforcing a stable mood. As a result, I regularly work with clients to identify healthy habits they would like to form and steps they can take in doing so. Most of the the time they are core habits such …

five year plan

Five-Year Plan – Nancy

Do you have a five-year plan? Are you a goal-setter or do you prefer to “muddle through”?  For some the idea of making a written life plan is a no-brainer, while for others it sounds like an idea from an alien planet. Making a plan for the future is a strategy that can help when life feels chaotic and directionless.  …

Acceptance and the unacceptable

Acceptance and the Unacceptable

How can we reconcile acceptance and the unacceptable in our lives? A new blog post from Rick Hanson sparked me to thinking about the relationship between acceptance and acquiescence or even complicity. So many things are wrong with the world. Is there no role for righteous anger? And yet… Acceptance in the sense that Rick means is really about not …