5 Steps to Changing the World

How exactly does change come about? As health and mental health practitioners, our calling is to help people change. But I’m thinking about change on a number of different levels. There are the changes we help our clients make, as well as personal changes we might hope to see in our own lives. I’m also thinking about change on a broader scale – change in our communities, change in our profession and, if I may be so bold, change in the world. Stay with me, and I’ll get back to you on what I mean by that. Recently, I decided…

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Olympic Training for the Brain?

Do Olympic athletes have strong brains as well as strong bodies? Research has shown the benefit of exercise in improving cell health (including brain cells), boosting the brain’s natural anti-anxiety drug, and strengthening the aging brain. But we still have a lot to learn about exactly how exercise changes the brain. Recently, a team of scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a series of experiments to try to tease apart the processes that are at work when we exercise. To do this, they essentially tricked the muscle cells of mice into thinking they were doing aerobic exercise….

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5 Ways to Create an Anti-Depressant Brain

Depression can rob people of their sense of aliveness and vitality, interfere with job performance, disrupt relationships, and increase the likelihood of self-harm. So are there tools we can use to help clients reduce and even prevent suffering from depression? My friend, Elisha Goldstein, PhD has identified 5 natural ways to create an anti-depressant brain. Elisha is a clinical psychologist in private practice, co-founder of The Center for Mindful Living in LA, and author of the book Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion. ________________________________________________________ For years now, I’ve studied what helps create more resilience and happiness within us….

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Can Mindfulness Change How the Brain Processes Emotion?

We’d like to think it can, but what does the evidence show? A working definition of mindfulness is that it attentively and non-judgmentally focuses on present experiences. But does this actually affect anything in the brain? To find out, Jacqueline Lutz, from the psychiatry department at the University Hospital of Zurich, led a study investigating whether mindfulness could affect the brain during emotional arousal. Lutz and her colleagues recruited 49 subjects with no prior or existing neurological or psychiatric illnesses and randomly assigned them to either the mindfulness group or the control group, which received no mindfulness instruction. Researchers hypothesized…

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3 Ways Undiagnosed Trauma Disrupts Lives

When people have trouble paying attention, when they’re too emotional, or reactionary, or downright aggressive, what can we do to help them turn it around? Perhaps too often, these behaviors are addressed with medication for ADHD or bipolar disorder. But according to Bessel van der Kolk, MD, the problem (and the solution) may lie in knowing how to recognize the signs and symptoms of childhood trauma. Bessel walks us through the major markers of this kind of trauma in this short video – check it out, it’s just 4 minutes. Have you ever recognized any of these symptoms as potential…

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Why a Fresh Perspective Can Be As Precious As a Diamond

My good friend Judith, who is a psychologist in private practice, once told me, “If you can give me a new perspective on a patient’s problem, you’ve given me something of incredible value.” When you have a patient who’s just not making progress, it can be terribly frustrating for both practitioner and patient. But a new way of seeing a patient’s problem can unlock what once felt stagnant and stuck. In those discouraging moments, a fresh perspective can be as precious as the discovery of a rare, exquisite, glittering diamond. But how do we get those “a-ha” moments that can…

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