• Anxiety,  Depression,  Stress

    Mental Health & The Holidays: Tips From Buddhist Psychology

    While the holiday season can be an extremely joyful time, many people report a rise in stress, anxiety and depression during the holiday season. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found that 64% of people surveyed endorsed having the “holiday blues” (defined as “temporary feelings of anxiety or depression during the holiday season”). When it comes to the holiday blues, many possible factors are cited, including the added financial stress, time with family, old memories, and even seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Some “symptoms” of the “holiday blues” include headaches, overeating, excessive drinking and insomnia. If you search “mental health and the holidays”, you’ll find a plethora of articles detailing…

  • Depression

    Depression & Your Diet: What to Eat & Avoid

    A holistic, integrative mind-body approach to depression includes a focus on diet and nutrition. Because the mind and the body are inextricably linked, the foods and beverages you put into your body directly impact your mood. The new biology of depression has shown the substantial role that our gut health plays in terms of depression. While the old science focused on depression in the brain, new research has shown that depression is far more linked to the gut than previously believed. In fact, 90% of serotonin (the neurotransmitter most often implicated in regard to depression) is produced in the gut. Furthermore, a recent study found that probiotics were as effective…

  • Depression

    10 Things You Can Do Every Day to Manage Depression

    Depression is an extremely common psychological diagnosis in the U.S., and depressive disorders can cause significant impairment to one’s life. While psychotropic medication can be very helpful for many people, clients often report unpleasant side effects, among other things. For some, medication never worked or stops working; for others, Western medication as treatment for depression just doesn’t seem too palatable. People may have a hard time finding the right medication for them, and this process of playing “science experiment” on one’s brain can result in feelings of disillusionment, frustration or even hopelessness. A more holistic, integrative, mind-body approach to depression treatment can often feel far more empowering than relying on…

  • Buddhist Psychology,  Depression

    What Depression Does to the Body

    Humble Warrior Therapy is a holistic, integrative approach to mental health, emphasizing the inextricable link between mind and body. This mindfulness-based therapy is rooted in philosophies of yoga and Buddhism, which both promote an extremely comprehensive notion of health. When we experience a certain state of mind, our physical body is affected (and vice versa). So what are the effects of depression on our physical health? How does feeling depressed affect the various systems and functioning of our bodies? Read on to learn about some of the physical health symptoms of depression: Insomnia Decreased cognitive functioning, particularly in terms of memory, decision-making and concentration Increased risk of death post heart…

  • Buddhist Psychotherapy,  Coping Skills,  Depression,  Happiness & Well-Being,  Mindfulness & Meditation

    Depression 101: How the Mind Creates Suffering

    The Buddha said many things on our minds and thinking, including “rule your mind or it will rule you” and “nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.” He taught that all suffering stems from the mind and that through practices such as mindfulness, meditation and yoga, we can learn to relate differently to our thoughts (also known in Buddhism as “ego”) and in doing so, find freedom from suffering. Much of what I do in my practice centers around these concepts. Clients come to see me with a variety of mental health challenges – including depression and anxiety, stress and grief, even relationship issues or problems…

  • Depression,  Happiness & Well-Being,  Mindfulness & Meditation

    Depression, Technology & Mental Health: Time for a Break?

    The vast majority of us spend a great deal of our time on and with technology. From laptops and smart phones to ipads, e-readers and fitbits, our lives revolve around – and often feel dependent on – technological devices. We find ourselves constantly connected, informed and stimulated, but how does this reality impact our mental health? Is technology harming or helping our psyches? While the research is largely mixed, there is slightly more evidence to support technology being harmful for our mental health and general well-being. Social media platforms in particular seem to lead to increased anxiety and depression, and decreased levels of sleep and self-esteem. Stress and loneliness also…

  • Depression,  Happiness & Well-Being

    Depression, Self-Love & Buddhism

    While the Buddha said “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”, loving oneself – mainly in terms of self-care and self-compassion – seems to be extremely challenging for most of us. Many people don’t know what “self-care” or “self-love” actually means – sure, the concepts make sense in theory, but how do we actually put them into practice? For others of us, it’s uncomfortable to love ourselves; we so easily love and care for others, but when it comes to turning that kindness onto ourselves, we often feel selfish or narcissistic doing so. Regardless of the underlying reason, it’s so incredibly important…

  • Depression

    Gratitude Can Help Decrease Depression

    — According to the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, gratitude is a “state of mind that we attain by affirming the good things that enter our lives and appreciating even the smallest pleasures.” In the recent past, gratitude has become a major buzzword in the field of positive psychology, with numerous books, articles and social media posts about gratitude and its countless benefits. According to mindbodygreen, practicing gratitude has been shown to: —Increase happiness —Improve self-esteem, resilience, and ability to deal with trauma —Decrease risk of depression —Heighten our immune system and decrease stress hormones like cortisol by up to 23% Decrease blood pressure and heart rate variability —Increase work productivity and…

  • Buddhist Psychotherapy,  Depression

    Depression in Buddhist Psychology

    Depression – in the form of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) – remains the leading cause of disability among Americans aged 15 to 44 years old. In the recent past, depression was the most common mental health issue in the U.S. (now surpassed by anxiety), and it remains a major problem, affecting tens of millions of Americans annually. While medication can be a helpful and necessary form of treatment, Buddhist psychology takes a different approach when it comes to managing depression. A great deal of Buddhism focuses on the mind and our patterns of thought. When it comes to thinking, the Buddha said “the mind is everything: what you think, you…

  • Buddhist Psychotherapy,  Coping Skills,  Depression,  Stress,  Trauma

    Pain vs. Suffering

    Buddhists say that pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. Pain is our physiological reaction to distressing and difficult experiences in life such as the death of a loved one, divorce or job loss. It is a physical sensation, an energy, that we experience in our bodies (hence the word “feeling”!) While pain is a bodily sensation, suffering is the result of our minds. Suffering occurs when our minds create stories around the pain. For example, if I’m fired from my job, I’ll feel pain; if I then spiral out of control and tell myself things such as “I’m worthless”, “I’ll never get a job again” and “Now my spouse…