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2011 Reflection/2012 Preview: Realizing Our Potential

I experienced a lot of change personally and professionally last year. My daughter was born last January. Being a first-time parent pretty much sums up the personal changes from the last year! Professionally, I continued my ongoing study of how people make positive, lasting changes. I fully believe everyone can make such changes. One theme from last year is that people have tremendous power to shape their emotional lives, but most fail to realize they have this potential. I am very impacted by the work of Brene Brown. She is a researcher who has studied important topics like shame and worthiness. Brown says that one of the keys to living a connected, “wholehearted” life (her term), is to believe in your own worthiness. Much pain and disconnection from others is caused by the mistaken belief that we are not good     . . . read more

Positive and Helpful Articles on Mental Health

I recently came across some very good articles in the mainstream media about mental health issues. I’m particularly impressed with a series called, “Lives Restored” from The New York Times. It is a series featuring people who have struggled with serious mental health issues and have found success. The latest, the fourth in the series, is called “Finding Purpose After Living with Delusion” by Benedict Carey (you can read it here). The story features Milton Greek, who has been working to better understand his own psychosis and thus help his recovery from schizophrenia. I was struck by the way some people are taking an empowered approach to understanding their diagnosis and finding common-sense strategies that work for them. Gathering information, using self-reflection, and seeking the help of trusted professionals and loyal friends and family are wise courses of action for     . . . 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

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

Emotional “Weight Lifting”

There’s a new gym near where I live. I’m feeling inspired by watching the very fit people walking in and out. Lately, I’ve considered hiring a personal trainer to help me out. I want to sleep better, have more energy, and be a little stronger. These seem like reasonable goals, right? A very astute person said to me recently that therapy is like personal training: its something you do to be more fit and well, not something you do because you are unwell or somehow lacking. I think this is a great comparison. It’s perfectly wise to hire a professional to help with your physical fitness. It’s similarly prudent to hire a professional to improve your emotional and interpersonal well being. Yes, there is some hard work involved, but with support and encouragement improvement is very attainable. Fall is a     . . . read more