• Depression

    Cabin Fever: How to Care for Your Mental Health

    By March, many of us begin to feel a bit tired of winter. We’ve skiied and snowboarded, worn our favorite winter sweaters and cozied up by the fireplace more than once. It seems that around this time of year, “cabin fever” starts to set in, so I figured I’d do some research on the topic and on ways we can help ourselves out when it comes to the winter blues. First of all, is “cabin fever” real? While “cabin fever” is not a diagnosis you’ll find in the DSM, it absolutely is a real phenomenon that affects many people. While cabin fever, at its essence, refers to feelings of social…

  • Anxiety,  Depression,  Men's Mental Health,  Stress

    Buddhism, Addiction & the Myth of Disempowerment

    Addiction can be viewed in various ways – from a psychological vs. physiological perspective, to the debate between whether or not there is a biological basis for addiction. Through my training, clinical experience and the lens of Buddhist psychology, addiction is not a matter of biology. It’s not some flaw in your design, some genetic mistake that predisposes you to a life of struggle and suffering. Rather, addiction is as incredibly simple (and insanely complex) as the brain’s inherent inclination toward pleasure and away from pain. I believe that as a society, we suffer from an epidemic of addiction. When I say “addiction”, I’m not referring to the most extreme…

  • Anxiety,  Depression,  Relationships

    Happiness

    What do you need to be happy? I mean really need? Where does your happiness live? Does it live in your bank account? Do you find it in the comforts of a paycheck, a job title or a dollar sign? If you need those things to be happy, then what happens when they change, as all things do? Is happiness something you find in a number on your scale, or on a tag on the back of your pants? Is it a size, a weight, a certain way that your body looks? What happens when you age, when your body swells with the magic of pregnancy? Where does your happiness…

  • 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…