Tame Your Mood is a monthly newsletter focused on the noble challenge of overcoming anxiety and depression. Psychotherapy for depression and anxiety requires many approaches, among which is the critical need to develop your understanding of what these wild moods actually are, how they work and function, and how we can get ensnared. These writings are here to help you build an understanding that supports the uprooting of the wild moods.

Below, you will find about 10 years of writings to help you understand the wild moods more deeply, practices to experiment with, and hopefully inspiration that anxiety and depression are not permanent, and there is actually a way out of them.

September 2020 – Futility: The Whats and Hows (Depression Primer #3)

I’m continuing on here with the idea that there are certain core elements or phenomenon in depression that would really behoove every depressive to know about. And this month’s focus, futility, is dead center in what depression is about. Not that ever knowing these “depression axioms” will be the cure itself; depression requires work and training (link), but it also needs a good theoretical understanding.

May you be staying safe, but also using this difficult time to learn and grow.

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August 2020 – Experimentation: The Whats and Hows (Depression Primer #2)

This is the second in a series of articles concerning the basic principles for healing depression. Last month (link) concerned the practice and purpose of gratitude, and this month will look at the importance of working with depression from an experimental mode. This means that, when trying to influence depression (changing negative thinking, being active rather than de-motivated, etc.), we set up those attempts in our own minds as experiments. Basically, “What happens when I do X?”, which itself acts as an antidote to the dogmatic assertions of depression.

May you all be safe, supported, related, and striving towards wisdom in these amazing times.

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July 2020 – Gratitude: The Whats and Hows (Depression Primer #1)

I’m going to start a run of articles, beginning with this newsletter, on basic tools and ideas related to healing depression (I’m holding here that “coping” or “managing” are not very meaningful if they’re not contributing to healing). It seems like a good time to review basics. So, this article will be about gratitude, what it is and how to engage it, and some suggestions about how to practice.

May you all be finding grounding, companionship, inspiration and wisdom during these turbulent times.

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June 2020 – Tips for the Depressive in Turbulent Times

In these incredible, and incredibly difficult times, we all need to pay attention to the non-negotiable rules of balance, not to the negation of action, but to actually make those engagements sustainable. In my more political 20’s, I saw over and over in my activist peers, and in myself, the tendency towards burnout, almost as a badge of honor. It doesn’t work, not for sustained social change, nor for sustained personal survival.

So in this month’s article, I offer some particular suggestions about ways to orient to this time. Especially with those of you with a history of depression, the need to be aware and careful with your own levels of energy and overwhelm is even more important at inflamed times like this.

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May 2020 – Depression and Ungrieved Futility

Last month, I was interviewed on the Sidewalk Talk podcast by my friend and colleague, Traci Ruble. Sidewalk Talk is a project to bring empathic listening to the streets, literally: volunteers set up chairs on sidewalks all over the world, and fellow humans get to sit down for a bit, and just be heard without judgment or trying to be fixed. It’s a brilliant and heartful idea, and Traci has added this podcast to help support the hundreds of volunteers with different interviewees offering different perspectives on how to understand the project, and stay inspired.

So below are a few notes about the interview, and the link to the audio recording. Enjoy.

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April 2020 – Faith as Openness, Faith as Training

As the coronavirus keeps washing through the world, and many of us are paused in one way or another, the question of how to use this time keeps arising. There are many answers, of course, from topical to deep, and it’s to the latter that I address this month’s article. Depression often is phrased in terms of control or management of it, often as a medicalized condition, but it has a deep relationship to faith—the choice to remain open in the face of the unknown—that is not obvious on the surface.

So here, I’m suggesting a couple questions intended to help you parse out when depression is speaking in its “anti-faith,” and to expand your attention beyond the contracted and stifling confines that depression tries to impose.

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March 2020 – COVID-19 and Depression

I’ve been offline for a few months, in terms of putting out this newsletter, but it seems this is that time to get back in touch. For all of us. So, in this newsletter (and likely quite a few to come), I’ll be offering some initial thoughts on this COVID-19 period, as it relates to staying mentally healthy, and particularly with the challenge of managing depression.

May you be well, healthy, connected, and finding resilience during this difficult time.

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October 2019 – Tool of the Month – Resource for “Dancing”: Finding an Ally to Cut Through Shame

In this month’s Tool, I describe something that can helpful in negotiating shame, that force in everyone’s psyche that points at us with a deep disapproval. It blocks desire and hopes, and the actions connected to them, and can be a heroic project to shift. This tool isn’t meant to take away shame, but to perhaps provide a wedge to make a bit more space between it and you.

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August 2019 – Tool of the Month – Breathing as if Your Life Depends on It

August’s Tool-of-the-Month is a kind of exploratory/diagnostic one, not so much intended to change something about your experience. But it’s pretty cool, because what it does is help us realize (in our own embodied experience) that there is a difference between reacting to someone’s, or some part of ourselves’, demand, and taking it as a request. We generally have no idea how much of our power and self-control we give away routinely, until we start to see this connection—between request and response—is not fixed.

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