First Wind of Spring

The Alchemy of Turning Depression into Vitality

After reading about the experiences of Tom Wootton and Will, the author of the great blog, WillSpirit, I’ve been exploring whether I could find a way, as they have, of turning depression into vitality or even bliss, something positive and fulfilling. It’s been a stretch. I’ve usually thought of depression as a force that turns you against the most basic instinct of all – the instinct to survive and thrive [...] Read the rest»

portrait magical thinking

Why Talking to Myself Makes Sense

I’ve tried to stop talking to myself, but I haven’t had much luck. I’m referring to the silent internal conversation that accompanies almost every waking moment when my attention is left on its own. I’ve often wondered why the talking has to keep going. Listening with Awareness As part of dealing with depression, I’ve worked a lot with the techniques of cognitive therapy, and I’ve learned some of the methods [...] Read the rest»

focus for mindfulness and hypnosis

Is There a Link Between Mindfulness and Hypnosis?

In looking for ideas about the power of the mind in healing, I’ve never thought about a possible link between mindfulness and hypnosis. Until now. Michael Yapko claims there is a close connection between the two in his latest book, Mindfulness and Hypnosis. I’ve learned a lot from his well-known self-help books on depression (Breaking the Patterns of Depression, Depression Is Contagious), but he is best known professionally for his [...] Read the rest»

Mysterious Roving Rocks of Racetrack Playa

The Challenge of the Ordinary

When I’m depressed, I dwell most on the failings of the past and the expected disappointments of the future, but there is also the challenge of the ordinary moments of the present. The challenge when depressed is to recognize the things I do well but unconsciously, the daily actions I’m good at but ignore when judging myself harshly. I’ve borrowed this thought, though adapting it to a different setting, from [...] Read the rest»

Focus of Attention by-nd-h-k-d 250

Mindful Attention Is a Healing Force

Learning the skills of mindful attention can put you on a slow but steady track of healing. Medication and cognitive therapy try to put you on the fast track, but the effects don’t always last. Though it may take a while to instill mindfulness in everyday life, once established it’s with you for the long haul. The placebo response shows that the mind can have dramatic effects in healing. Its [...] Read the rest»

powerful dog

Mind Over Pit Bull and Depression

After a family-rich Thanksgiving week, I was hard at work Sunday morning writing a post on the placebo effect when my wife and I decided to take a refreshing walk with our two dogs. We didn’t know it, but we were on our way this foggy morning to a head-to-head confrontation with a stray pit bull. When it was over and I’d had time to catch my breath, I was [...] Read the rest»

Anxiety electric arcs by-Cea 300

Mindfulness as Self-Help for Anxiety

There’s nothing like extreme anxiety to make you feel like you’re falling apart. Using a few basics of mindfulness as self-help may be a way to pull you back together. The all-embracing anxiety I’m talking about comes close to panic. It’s an explosion of fear that hits everything. Certain situations can set it off, or it can start like depression, suddenly there, perhaps from the first waking moment of the [...] Read the rest»

Inability to Escape Depression

If You Can’t Escape Depression, You Can Try Making Do

It's hard to escape depression when it dominates your mind. The illness has many faces, but its most visible one is your own. You see it everywhere because you can't stop thinking about what's wrong with you. The illness is filtering out everything that would disturb your isolation - like brighter feelings, hope, the reaching out of a loved one, self-confidence, the energy to connect with people. It keeps your mind roiling with your flops, dumb mistakes, broken relationships, and acid self-contempt. When you're well, you can lose yourself in the daily flow of living, but when you're depressed you never lose yourself. Read the rest»