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Reappraisal training can help hugely in coping with difficult experiences

Reappraisal (changing the meaning we give to experiences) has been repeatedly shown to be one of the most effective ways we have to regulate our emotions.  It's one of the star components of effective emotion-regulation, coping-skill toolkits ... and it's important to realise that these toolkits can be very helpful (De Castella, 2017).  Reappraisal is important across a variety of difficult states ... depression (Cheng, 2017), anxiety (Goldin, 2017), anger, interpersonal conflict, minor hassles (Richardson, 2017), and major life difficulties.

Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - aspects of self-compassion

I've woken early.  Lying here I feel an unfamiliar hollow pressure in my gut.  What is this?  Fear?  Anxiety? Tension?  "Tense apprehension" seems to fit.  I'm lying here in the early hours of the morning, a hollow tense apprehension in my belly.  And it isn't surprising.  Pretty normal in fact as I move closer & closer to major surgery.  Consciously.  By my own decision.  On this journey, travelling down the "kidney donation river", I can hear the roar of the approaching rapids.  Surgery soon.  It's a pretty standard, basic, healthy response to tense a bit as I move towards the crux, possibly the most intense section of this "donation river".  And I don't have to tighten the rest of my body around the belly apprehension.  I can let go, loosen in my arms, my face.  It's OK. Nothing to do right now.

Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - goals and journey

I'm due to donate a kidney soon, and I have been writing about what's involved - see "Kidney donation: why it's well worth considering", "Kidney donation: what are the risks?" and "Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - values are central".  Primarily these posts are for other donors, but aspects of what I write are also relevant for facing challenges more generally as well.

Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - values are central

I'm soon due to have an operation on my left kidney.  I'm donating it anonymously to someone else who needs it pretty desperately.  I have already written about this process - see "Kidney donation: why it's well worth consideringand "Kidney donation: what are the risks?".  Primarily these kidney-focused blog posts are to help other donors and their families & friends.  However, some aspects of the posts are likely to be of interest more generally.  For example, these ones on pre-operative preparation have some relevance to many situations where one is facing a potentially daunting challenge.

Non-drug treatments for bipolar disorder (1st post) - the value of psychotherapy

I am due to give a talk for the Lothian branch of "Bipolar Scotland" on "Recent research on non-drug treatments for bipolar disorder".  Here is the downloadable Powerpoint presentation (with pictures removed to reduce the size of the file) and here is a slide illustrating the main points that I touch on:

Don Baucom on couple-based interventions for anxiety disorders

Just about to start the second day of this two day workshop led by Professor Don Baucom on "Couple-Based Interventions for Anxiety Disorders".  We're here at the Royal Foundation of St Katharine in London's East End.  St Katharine's aims to provide a "sense of an oasis in the city" and I think it succeeds really well.  I've been to workshops here before and I would thoroughly recommend it.  But how was yesterday's first day of this workshop?

Complicated grief - how common is it?

I recently wrote a blog post "Grief is our natural human response to bereavementwhere I said that mourning may well involve powerful feelings of yearning, disbelief, anger & depression.  When we have lost someone who has been very important to us, we gradually need to learn to live without them. Reconfiguring our inner emotional lives and our outer activities can be such a challenge.  Mostly though people manage.  It may be hard, but like the body healing after injury, emotional pain also resolves as we hold our loved ones in our hearts but engage more fully again in our lives.  Sometimes though after physical injury, wounds don't heal adequately.  Maybe there is infection or non-union of fractures.  In these situations the healing process may need help.

Warwick BABCP conference: 1st afternoon - treating adolescent anxiety & depression, and depressive rumination (3rd post)

I have already written about the pre-conference workshop I went to on "Anger dysregulation" and the presentations on the first morning of this year's summer CBT conference in "Warwick BABCP conference: 1st morning - trauma memories & a master presentation on four decades of outcome research (2nd post)".  In the afternoon I attended a symposium on "Improving treatment of anxiety and depression in adolescence" and then went on to a keynote by the Australian professor Michelle Moulds entitled "Rumination and memory in depression".

Maximizing exposure therapy

Michelle Craske & colleagues from the Anxiety Disorders Research Center of UCLA have, for many years, been publishing careful, challenging research on underlying mechanisms & on ways of boosting the effectiveness of exposure therapies for different forms of anxiety.  Craske's list of publications & research presentations runs to 31 pages and begins with a study on musical performance anxiety published in 1984.  As the presentation titles on her list show, for some years the majority of her many lectures at prestigious conferences all over the world have revolved around the theme of how to take evolving scientific findings about fear learning and use them to optimize exposure treatments for anxiety disorders.

So what dietary advice should we be following - for psychological as well as physical health?

A couple of days ago I wrote a blog post that I think makes a very important point - "Emerging research on diet suggests it's startingly important in the prevention of anxiety & depression".  Much of what the post said is downloadable in Powerpoint and can be printed out as a six-slides-to-a-page handout that looks like this:

diet, anxiety & depression                                                       

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