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The Science of Compassion: Survival of the Most Compassionate

joy Feb 26, 2019

 

This video explores the scientific secret sauce to living a full and more healthy life. And believe it or not, it only takes eight minutes a day using this shiny, super-expensive, brand new fitness and diet fad... oh wait, nope. The secret sauce is... compassion?! Watch the video to learn more about the power of compassion and how you can put it into practice.

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Sympathetic Joy Meditation

joy meditation Feb 19, 2019

Dr. Emmons and his meditating avocado have a simple, joy-boosting meditation you can practice anywhere. Use this Sympathetic Joy Meditation to let some sweetness in when you're feeling sour or salty.

Why does this kind of meditation work? Learn more about the science of compassion in this video blog. 

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Hemp, Marijuana, CBD, and THC: What They Are and When to Use Them

calm focus joy Jan 21, 2019

 By Tim Culbert, MD

Hemp, Marijuana, CBD, and THC... what's the difference? Can any of them help with anxiety? Depression? Do they make you high? Learn the basics below so that you can decide if any are right for you.

A Trip Down Memory Lane: Hemp, Marijuana, CBD, and THC

Cannabis is thought to be one of the oldest domesticated crops. Throughout history, humans have grown different varieties of cannabis for industrial and medical uses. These sturdy plants were grown by early civilizations to make a variety of foods, oils, and textiles. These plants were bred with other plants with the same characteristics, leading to the type of cannabis we now know as hemp.

Other varieties of the cannabis plant were identified as psychoactive (causing euphoria or the “high” experience) and were bred selectively for medical, recreational, and religious purposes. This led to unique varieties of cannabis that now known as marijuana.

While hemp and marijuana are both...

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Viruses and Mood: The Infection-Depression Connection

joy Jan 15, 2019

 By Tim Culbert, MD

I’ll assume you’ve had a head cold before. Those viral upper respiratory infections (URI) bring the usual symptoms of fever, stuffy nose, and scratchy throat. However, have you also noticed that you feel crabby, unmotivated, foggy, or restless at night?

The culprit? Neuroinflammation. Yes, a head cold = a hot head (and a bad mood).

Here’s how it works: Viral infections like a cold (caused by viruses like rhinovirus) or flu (caused by the influenza virus) are foreign invaders to the immune system. The immune system works as a “defense and repair” mechanism and is closely linked to your neurological and psychological systems. When those bug invaders enter, your immune system revs up to defend. This activation can cue the process of inflammation to occur in your body and brain. An inflamed brain (neuroinflammation) can contribute to a depressed mood and brain fog (i.e., mental fatigue, lack of clarity, poor concentration,...

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Adaptogens and Nervines for Resilience in Body and Mind

calm focus joy sleep Dec 20, 2018

 By Tim Culbert, MD

Adaptogens and nervines can support resilience in body and mind. These substances are generally well-tolerated and can help your system adapt more skillfully when faced with stress. 

What are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are typically plant-derived substances that work to balance your body and mind. You may also hear them called “adaptogenic herbs.” These substances can help your body adapt to physical, chemical, environmental, and emotional stress; and can also exert a normalizing effect on bodily processes.

Adaptogens Can Help

  • Increase blood flow in the central nervous system.
  • Increase the release of helpful brain chemicals such as nerve growth factor and BDNF.
  • Modulate brain waves.
  • Support neuroplasticity.
  • Boost the production of neurotransmitters.
  • Prevent cell damage.
  • Eliminate toxins.
  • Balance the stress response of the adrenal system.
  • Quiet the mind and body.

Common Adaptogens

  • Ginseng.
    • American ginseng (panax quinquefolius) can help...
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Minding the Mind

focus joy meditation Dec 18, 2018
 

By Catherine Duncan, MA, BCC

*Read below, then click the play button above to practice the "Minding Your Mind" meditation.*

My cell phone rang during dinner with friends. Scott, my husband, had collapsed and was being taken to the hospital.

Panic rose in my chest as I made my way to the ER. The doctors struggled to make sense of his symptoms. Was he suffering a heart attack? An aortic dissection? A strange cardiac rhythm? I gasped for air as the doctors wheeled him from room to room for tests– and again when he landed in the ICU. Breathe, I told myself.

Soon after entering the ICU, Scott flatlined. My heart flooded with terror. The medical team rushed to his room and after a few minutes his heartbeat picked up again. I held fast to only one thought: Breathe.

Scott was taken to the operating room for a temporary pacemaker implant. Breathe, I reminded myself. Ten days later we were told that Scott has a very rare heart condition. Breathe, I thought. One breath at a time.

Few of...

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The Window of Tolerance

calm joy Dec 04, 2018

  By Tim Culbert, MD

The Window of Tolerance

The "Window of Tolerance" is the optimal zone of arousal where a person is able to thrive in everyday life. This zone has been described by Drs. Dan Siegel and Pat Ogden as “sailing within a river of wellbeing where we are able to respond to all that comes our way with equanimity-without being thrown off course" (learn more here).

 

When you find yourself outside of this desirable zone (e.g., a nerve-wracking social situation), then your nervous system gets revved up and you can become emotionally over-reactive and quick to anger. Or, you may go the other way, and shut down or withdraw.

As the saying goes, "You can't direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails." So how can you adjust your sails when you find yourself outside your window of tolerance? You can use awareness, grounding, and mindful breathing skills to help you get back in the zone for more optimal functioning.  

The...

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Winterize Your Brain Kit: Support for Seasonal Affective Disorder

calm joy Nov 20, 2018
 

It's here! The kit to get you through winter without that mind-body crash has arrived. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is common in winter. The Winterize Your Brain Kit includes key supplements and tools that work synergistically to help you create more warmth, light, & happiness- even during the coldest & darkest days. Learn more about your kit below.

Watch the video above and learn more about the kit here

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Give Yourself the Gift of Connection

awaken joy Oct 25, 2018

By Sandra Kacher, LICSW Emeritus

As we enter the season of great festivities, I realize once more that this is the time of year when my therapy clients begin to talk about loneliness, isolation, and grief. My first Christmas disappointment was getting a generic “Lovely Linda” doll instead of a Tiny Tears. The heartache (for a child)! I can clearly remember the sinking in my stomach when I realized I wasn’t getting the real thing. For too many people, that sinking feeling lasts from October through New Year’s Eve.

The image of your perfect holiday may have to do with childhood memories of special foods, tree decorating rituals, and beautifully wrapped presents under that tree (and Tiny Tears in one of those packages!). Glossy holiday images also tempt us in sentimental movies, TV commercials, and a barrage of magazine recipes for this year’s version of the new best food for the holidays.  

Despite the focus on food and presents, the perfect holiday...

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A Light on Seasonal Affective Disorder: Definition, Treatment, & Prevention

joy Oct 18, 2018

By Henry Emmons, MD

Our annual journey around the sun has crossed the threshold that creates a mild sense of dread in many people—winter is coming. The days are now shorter than the nights, and if you live north of a line going through Atlanta, you are probably noticing a change in your biology. Your body wants you to hibernate. Most of us don’t actually hibernate, and probably wouldn’t feel good if we did, but living out of sync with nature’s rhythms comes at a cost.

You may just feel a little sluggish, want to sleep more, crave comfort foods, or have a harder time getting to a gym. Or, you may feel something more—a specific form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (known by the apt acronym SAD).

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder refers to a form of depression that occurs at a specific time of year. For most people, that means the winter, though there are subsets that occur in the spring or summer. Look for...

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The NMH newsletter goes out twice monthly. You'll receive helpful tips, resources, and special offers to optimize your mental health and create more joy, calm, and focus in your life.