What is Biofeedback? – Nancy

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 your body temperature, blood pressure, or heart rate.  Generally, there are three stages of biofeedback: Developing increased awareness of the body …

Impossible Job

Impossible Job – Nancy

Do you have an impossible job?  An impossible job is a job where the scope of the work is so great that it is not possible to do all of the reasonable things related to that job. As an extreme example, if you are a busy emergency room doctor, there is no way you can do everything that you possibly …

crisis prevention

Crisis Prevention

Crisis prevention is a great goal, but it sometimes seems like the goal is always moving ahead into a cloudy future.  How can we get crisis prevention into our action planning right now? First, think ahead.  Any big changes coming up? Starting school, kids starting school, travel, new job, new home.  These are the kinds of changes that can be …

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. …

News Media Create Stress

News Media Create Stress – Nancy

Bipolar disorder can make it hard to maintain stability of moods, and deal with the stresses of life.  The news and social media are one of the biggest sources of stress that can make stability challenging, and the media overload only seems to be getting worse.  In a 2014 study conducted by National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation …

Recovering from Disaster

Recovering from Disaster – Reclaim Your World

It seems appropriate to write about an aspect of recovering from disaster. We have been through an extraordinary period of natural and human caused disasters these past few months. And while every experience is different, one thing that successful recovery requires, is the capacity to reengage with the world as it is, and with a sense of the possibility of …

Feeling Trapped

Feeling trapped is one of the most painful emotional experiences. The need to escape from this place can sometimes lead us to do things that are irrational and self-destructive. A young woman who I’ve been working with for couple of years and he was struggled with depression on and off for many years, finally seem to be making some headway …

return to work

Return to Work

Successful Return to Work Return to work is an important step in the recovery process for many people with bipolar or depression. Work is not just important financially. It is an key source of self-esteem and purpose, and a place where many people experience a strong sense of community. For these reasons, return to work is often an extremely important …

Increased Alcohol Use in US

Increased Alcohol Use in the US

A detailed and impressive study finds dramatically increased alcohol use disorders in the US in the past decade. Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, regular high-risk drinking increased by almost 30%, and the number of people meeting criteria for alcohol use disorder grew by 49.4%. What else do we know about the health of Americans in the past few years? We know …

PTSD Prediction

For people who have been exposed to violence or trauma, and who naturally experience some symptoms of anxiety, what approaches are most useful for PTSD prediction? The majority of people exposed to violence or trauma do not go on to develop posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD, but, depending on the nature of the trauma (sexual trauma has the highest risk) …

Avoid Intimidation

Rick Hanson has written an elegant and timely newsletter article about how to avoid intimidation and fear from paper tigers and media demagogues. I love his weekly email newsletters and it is again time to encourage readers of this blog to sign up. Here is the link. One of Rick’s themes, elegantly outlined in this most recent article, is how …

Potential Catastrophe

What to do when catastrophe seems to loom just around the corner? Many people are having trouble getting to sleep these days.  They’re worried about a possible catastrophe emerging after the US Presidential Election. 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 …

Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine may help protect the body against stress and may improve memory and prevent Alzheimer’s dementia. For the last month I have been examining some of the literature on this topic and working with some people in my practice to see if phosphatidylserine seems to be a useful natural supplement. The research literature on phosphatidylserine is intriguing. But first a …

Body Mindfulness and Peak Performance

If mindfulness training works to achieve peak performance in Navy SEALs and top athletes perhaps it’s not such a New Age idea. In fact what distinguishes people who are resilient in the face of physical challenges may be a natural capacity for the kind of self-awareness that mindfulness teaches. A New York Times article called my attention to fascinating research …

Centering

Feeling scattered and distracted is such a common experience in our lives these days. Rick Hanson talks about getting centered in today’s post in his Just One Thing series. If you are feeling scattered, take one moment to be aware of your body as you take a long, slow breath, or think about something you feel good about. In that moment …