States of Mind and Task Planning

How can we think about the relationship between states of mind (moods, energy levels, focus, etcetera) and task planning? All of us are aware that there are times when we are able to be very effective with certain tasks, and other times when it is practically impossible to complete a certain kind of project. This is not entirely a random …

Getting Things Done

One of the perennial challenges for anyone with problems with depression or mood swings, and perhaps for anyone in our increasingly busy and frantic world, is how to not get overwhelmed by work and personal tasks.It is a challenge and we have historically relied on two sources of wisdom when we counsel people who are struggling with this:1.  David Allen’s …

Office Work and Moods – How to Stay Effective

I recently spent an interesting half an hour talking with a very successful businessman who has bipolar about how to get his office work done even though he has periods when he is depressed, and his thought processes are slowed down. One of his big issues is that when he is depressed he finds himself staring off into space rather than working his …

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Procrastination may be related to impulsive decision making. This somewhat surprising finding is based on a large study of twins. Most modern explanations of procrastination have focused on avoidance and aversion. You put off things because you are afraid of some negative consequence (doing badly, not meeting your standards, etcetera), in other words, you are avoiding a bad outcome. More recent studies have suggested that …

Proactivity

Proactive behavior refers to actions taken that are forward thinking, that anticipate future problems, and are aimed at avoiding those problems. They are focused on changing the environment for the better. Proactivity contrasts with reactivity as an approach to challenges. Reactive behavior is about dealing with the crisis that is present right now. Reactivity also often is associated with a wish …

Coming Home

In a different post, we talked about the frustrating problem of getting sick at the beginning of vacations. We said that this has to do with the difficultly that our bodies have switching from high stress to relaxation, and something called cortisol withdraw. A version of this same phenomenon may be happening in your home almost every evening. This week …

WorkSurfing

The New York Times recently published an intriguing article entitled “Relax, You Will Be More Effective.” It arrived at just the right time. Preparing for an upcoming vacation had made me particularly hectic. And then, while I was on vacation and writing this post, I got a blog post from MoodScope which was devoted to the importance of taking regular …

Getting It Done Anyway

From time to time I am inspired to pass on portions of a post from a favorite blog. Today’s Moodscope blog was all about those days when you feel a bit “blah” and what you can do to not get trapped in indecisiveness and time wasting. As it happened this arrived on a day when I was struggling to get …

Traveling

Traveling can be exciting, but it can also be very stressful. It is particularly important for people living with moods to do prepare for travel before they leave. A surprisingly high percentage of serious mood catastrophes, in our experience, happen during trips. And they are almost always preventable. First, if your traveling to some place without good medical care, it’s a …

All About Happy: Resources

What makes us happy? How can we have more happiness? Is happiness just the absence of sadness and depression? These are some of the questions that are addressed in an entertaining, informative and inspiring movie called “Happy.” Some ideas we saw – 50% of our happiness is determined by genes, 10% is related to life circumstances (financial situation, what country …

The Different Types of Vacations

This past weekend, we were at a Halloween party talking to a computer engineer who recently moved here from Holland.  The topic turned to a discussion of things that are unusual about Americans, in particular,  the American relationship to work and vacations.  We take less vacation than almost any industrialized country in the world.  Of course, we think it’s responsible …

Healthy Pleasures

Sometimes we can be so overwhelmed, or so depressed, that we forget what it is that gives, or used to give, us pleasure. This list is adapted from Peter Lewinsohn’s Pleasant Events Schedule. You won’t enjoy many of these things, but you should find a number that are somewhat pleasurable (or would have been if you were not depressed) and …