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 …

Boredom

Boredom is one of the most common negative emotions, and yet relatively little explored in the psychology literature. A woman, Kate, wrote to me recently – “I am bored all time.  I have very few friends.  I can’t get motivated to do anything to move my life forward. I don’t know what to do except mess around on my computer, watch movies and generally …

Clutter Stress Depression

My post about getting things done sparked a lively interest and a bit of controversy. One of the careful readers of this site sent me a link to an article about clutter causing stress, particularly in women. The article was on the HouseLogic site which is devoted to helping people organize and de-clutter their house. Which made me wonder… But the …

Through the door 1 – Therapy needed

A few years back and I am living in Paris with my Irish wife who works for a large International think-tank based in the city. I work in London and return to Paris on weekends via Eurostar. I have had many ‘episodes’ in the past, but for a while now I’ve been free of them. But I am working hard redesigning a national …

Stress and the Holidays

Stress and the Holidays– A successful businesswoman, who is herself a mother, is returning to her family’s home to have Christmas with her grandparents and her brother and wonders how she might improve the quality of that holiday experience. Her mother is someone who obsesses about all of the details involved in the holidays, she takes hours wrapping presents, and …