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
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
My tip today is for all of us who sometimes do too many things at once, speed more than we should, or gulp down food without proper chewing- slow down! It is the natural rhythm for late fall to get slower, quieter and more reflective. I’m convinced slower does not mean less productive or less accomplished- just more intentional, intuitive and relaxed. How can you slow down?
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
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