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 …

Loving Kindness or Metta

Love is something that if you give it away, give it away, you’ll end up having more… Last Sunday at church there was a children’s chorus singing, and this was one of the songs. It seemed very familiar… The cultivation of loving-kindness (mettā bhāvanā) is a popular form of meditation in Buddhism. In some Buddhist traditions, the meditator begins cultivating loving-kindness …

Stress Eating

Weight gain may be not only a psychological (“I hate how I look, it makes me depressed”) but also a biological (overweight people have elevated levels of inflammation that may increase depression) factor worsening depression. Great, but what to do about this? Most of us already knew that we should lose weight, and more guilt doesn’t help. One very interesting …

Dealing with Perfectionism

Society puts a premium on perfection, for good reason. Perfection fascinates and inspires. I am particularly drawn to the symmetry and complexity of buildings, bridges, and visual art, often staring at such creations with awe and wonder at how such perfection was achieved. In addition to architecture and art, perfection is expected in vocations where the slightest mistake could be …

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 …

Impossible Jobs

In this world, there are two kinds of jobs: Jobs that one could perhaps do adequately, and jobs that are impossible.  For whatever reason, a lot of folks’ we know tend to prefer impossible jobs.  Maybe because they’re more exciting and interesting. The key to an impossible job is recognizing that no person could do all the work that falls …

Mood and Food

Many people have an intuitive sense that a good diet is a foundation stone of good mental health. We don’t disagree, although the evidence for dietary manipulation’s effectiveness is not overwhelming. There are a couple of things that we have noticed over the years about food and its effect on mood that might be useful tips. For one thing, simple …

Anxiety or Excitement?

Many folks not only have to figure out how to live creatively with moods, but also have to wrestle with anxiety. I have found that it is sometimes useful to compare two states of mind which are very, very similar in terms of how the body is reacting, but are very different from an emotional standpoint. Imagine that you are …

Negotiation: How to Deal With Conflict

Some of the best ways of dealing with conflicts in relationships, whether business or personal, are contained in the books about negotiation written by Roger Fisher and William Ury. In our own lives and in the lives of people we have counseled we have often seen a situation that seemed to be incredibly scary and full of potential catastrophe turn …