General

Loving the Small Stuff

I am really feeling the benefit of peppering my day with mini-meditations right now. The next one I want to share with you is this: loving the small stuff.

I learned this wonderful mini-meditation practice from one of my teachers recently. It’s one that she does every day and I can see why.

I am already a fan (and frequent practitioner) of gratitude practices. I include them in my online and face-to-face programs. But this one has a really delightful twist.
Continue Reading

Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Is Your Microbiome Making You Crazy?

Anxiety, depression, brain fog, mood disorders, mood swings or just feeling out of sorts? It’s possible that the answers may lie in the health of the trillions of bacteria living in the intestine called the gut microbiome.

There is a profound connection between gut flora composition and mood. Depending on the different types and quantities that are prevalent, these bacteria can influence everything from the immune system, digestion, DNA expression, inflammation and brain function -- for better or worse. Bacteria are even known to play a role in serious conditions like autism and schizophrenia. Put simply, a balanced microbiome equals good health, but the opposite is true as well.

Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

Silence is Golden

The old song by Simon and Garfunkel was so right: silence really is golden, but maybe in more ways than we realize. In our urban, busy world we don’t get enough outer silence. There’s always the sound of traffic, TVs, other people in their apartments and the general buzz of the city as we go about our daily business. These days we have to hunt out the quiet spaces, but they are there as I discovered just the other day.

I’m selling my apartment, so we have the bi-weekly ritual of having to go out with the dog for 45 minutes during house viewing and find somewhere to be. As my dog is a bit old and grumpy (he’s 85 in human years), we try to seek out places that avoid other dogs and small children, which is hard in a café-obsessed beachside suburb of Sydney. As we took a walk up the road we discovered a small nature reserve that had been recently restored. Pristine bush tucked away in the city, green, tranquil and no sound, that’s bliss.

Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

Old-School Interventions for Today’s Stresses

We are so busy being busy we approach the day with a vengeance. Today is not a marathon; it’s an Ironman triathlon. To stay ahead we cut corners: skip breakfast; work through lunch; eat frozen dinner while glued to a digital screen. And we wonder why we are tired (but can’t sleep), sickly (yet can’t quite pinpoint the malady), and unfulfilled (in spite of the sacrifices, things are still not coming together).

There are a few old-school interventions that can help to get your head back in the game:

Continue Reading

ADHD and ADD

Why Nature is So Good for Your Mental Health

Where did you go on your last vacation? If you live in the city or the suburbs, there’s a good chance that you spent it in a natural setting, perhaps at a national park, the beach or a cabin in the mountains.

Most of us have felt the inexplicable pull of the outdoors, even if it’s simply prompting us to take a neighborhood walk or sit in the backyard watching the clouds or the squirrels. Nature holds a special kind of energy: it is pure and wild and spirit-renewing.

Continue Reading

Depression

On Living Simply and with Integrity

In her young twenties, writer and activist Eileen Flanagan spent two years teaching English in the country of Botswana, which borders South Africa and Zimbabwe. She ate, lived, and slept in a 180 square-foot mud hut and was quite content.

Then life got a tad more complicated… she married, had kids, and eventually found herself in a three-story house packed full of stuff: Barbie condos, Heelys (sneakers with wheels), Wii games, electronic guitars, and microscopes.

In her engaging new book,
Continue Reading

Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

8 Ways to Feel Better in a Hurry When You’re Depressed

There will always be dark days, weeks or months where our problems seem insurmountable or every day feels like a journey through an obstacle course. Sometimes resolutions or positive progress can happen quickly. Other times we can only keep plodding forward in faith and with patience. We may not be able to eradicate the difficulties immediately, but we can ease them, make the expedition more bearable and keep going in the right direction.

Below are eight simple ways to make yourself feel better in a hurry. You can practice them anywhere and anytime.

Continue Reading

Anger

Contempt, Attachment and Meditation

My wife and I are older parents. We like to think we have much wisdom to pass on, but we have to be mindful of negative things we also can pass on.

Age brings healthy skepticism, and raising a daughter who reasonably questions authority will not be a bad thing. However, cynicism often accompanies skepticism, and the last thing we want is a cynical child. Childhood should be about wonder and possibility. Cynicism can quickly kill that. So we have to keep the negativity in check.

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Life Lessons from the Roach Motel

Even from the airport taxi, I could tell that the motel's website had been more Photoshop than reality. From my after-work evening flight, I had just landed in Florida for a professional conference where I was to chair a discussion panel. Always eager to score a bargain, I had selected and booked this budget motel over the official five-star conference location.

A friend helped me find and unlock my room, and before she left -- of course, she had booked the five-star conference hotel -- she said, "I’ll leave my cell phone on all night. Call me immediately if you …"

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Global Day for Hope Kicks Off Mental Health Awareness Month

The International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred) launched the first annual Global Day for Hope on May 2, 2015, to support the 350 million people living with the treatable disease of depression. Organizations and individuals from around the globe joined together in solidarity to plant sunflowers, the international symbol of hope, in an effort to raise awareness for treatment of depression and help end the stigma that prevents so many people from seeking support.
Continue Reading

Depression

Global Day of Hope On May 2 Supports Millions Living With Depression

The International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred) is galvanizing support on Saturday, May 2, for Global Day of Hope, when people around the globe will plant sunflowers in support of the 350 million people living with the treatable disease of depression. The sunflower is the international symbol of hope for depression and Global Day for Hope seeks to amplify the organization's mission to shine a positive light and eliminate the stigma associated with the disease through prevention, research and education.

On that day planting events will span from the U.S. to Asia including Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado, South America, Nepal, Germany and more. People from all corners of the globe are invited to join the movement by planting sunflowers in their own communities and joining the conversation on social media using #Hope2015 and #PLANTHOPE.

Continue Reading