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Can a Therapy App Help You?

I try not to take offense, but it seems that scientists are obsessed with eliminating my job. Some want to see machines replace trained therapists to help you with your emotional problems. That seems a little weird, since emotions are the only thing a computer cannot do at this point. At any rate, I’m a pragmatic person and I’ll support anything that helps people. The New York Times is reporting that apps may in fact help people with anxiety and depression. A recent article explains how a video game-like app helps people overcome ways of thinking that lead to anxiety and depression. So, today I’m setting up all of my clients with my iPhone and taking off for a hike. Okay, no, wait a minute… if you read the full article, you realize that they are less than sure about     . . . read more

Outsmart Depression

It’s dreary today here in Maine. The cold and dark is beginning to wear on everyone. It is especially hard for those diagnosed with depression. Depression is a serious diagnosis that requires treatment. For more information on depression, check out the National Institute of Mental Health. I also urge you to talk with a health care provider if you believe you may be depressed. The trick with depression is that it cons you into doing things that make you feel worse. It says, “stay inside and isolate yourself from the world until you feel better.” It says, “eating junk food is the key to getting better.” Or “just sleep all day, it will help.” Or (my least favorite) “this is the way you are, nobody can help you.” In short, depression makes you think that doing less, eating poorly, being     . . . read more

Quick Tip Tuesday-Make Sleep a Priority

I spend a lot of my day talking with people about the foundations of good mental and physical health: quality food, exercise, and sleep. Yes, we all know about these things, but we dismiss them as too obvious or too difficult. So I’m the broken record reminding everyone (including myself) that these are the unavoidable essentials. Starting with sleep is always helpful because if that’s in line, the other things are more easily addressed. It’s the foundation. You must sleep to have good mental health. The good news is that some fairly simple changes are clinically proven to help promote sleep: fall asleep and wake up the same time each day, avoid light when trying to sleep, get into the light when waking, avoid caffeine after noontime, do restful activities 1 hour before bed. These recommendations work, but only if     . . . read more

A Season for Gratitude

Thanksgiving sneaks up fast, at least it always does for me. This year I’m determined to give it more attention. That’s because I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of gratitude and how it can be vitally important in promoting wellness and fighting both anxiety and depression. Thanksgiving is a perfect holiday for exploring the idea of gratitude and how it can improve our lives. How we perceive the world has a dramatic impact on our mood. This is the foundation of many types of therapy, most famously Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The philosophy is: change how you think and you’ll change how you feel. One of the big challenges is that most Americans live very deficit-focused lives. I would assert that we have been trained to over-focus on information that is critical and negative. We see what we     . . . read more

Quick Tip Tuesday-5 Ideas for SAD Prevention

Attention Mainers and other cold-weather dwellers- it’s now officially mid-November! This is the time to develop your SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) prevention plan. Let’s face it, SAD is a real problem for us living in the dark and cold for months out of the year. Yes, you can always move south, but for those of us who prefer this way of life- I recommend a few tips for keeping up your SAD resistance: Sun. Find it. Sit in your car or under the atrium window at the mall. Take cues from the felines in your life- they’ll show you where all the sunny places are. Talk to your doctor about supplements. Vitamin D can be a particular problem for Northerners. Exercise. I know you won’t feel like it, but you really need to in order to feel okay. I just     . . . read more

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