Easing stress and seeking normalcy in traumatic times

For most Americans, 2020 has already been a rough year — and it’s not even half over. A pandemic, natural disasters, economic decline, and, for many, the loss of a job have taken a toll on their mental health. “Stress...

Can forest therapy enhance health and well-being?

The beauty of the outdoors naturally encourages people to go outside, inhale fresh air, listen to the birds, take a walk, or watch the wind animate the branches of the steadfast neighboring trees. The pull toward the natural world is...

Collaborative care: Treating mental illnesses in primary care

Like most people, you probably do not enjoy going to the doctor only to be referred to a specialist in a different practice. Unfortunately, fragmented care is often the reality among people suffering from common mental illnesses such as depression...

Health coaching is effective. Should you try it?

In the fall of 2019, my hospital put out word that it was looking for physicians who might wish to undergo intensive training to become certified health and wellness coaches. Having worked with patients who have used health coaching, I...

Strategies to promote better sleep in these uncertain times

These are unprecedented times. Given the real and tangible threat of the coronavirus pandemic on personal, community, and societal levels, it is normal to experience anxiety and sleep problems. Sleep is a reversible state marked by a loss of consciousness...

Can stress really make hair (or fur?) turn gray?

It seems like common knowledge or conventional wisdom: stress can turn your hair gray. Whether it’s the kids, your spouse, your job, or something else, people with gray hair have been blaming stress for centuries. The example of Barack Obama...

Dopamine fasting: Misunderstanding science spawns a maladaptive fad

The dopamine fast, created by California psychiatrist Dr. Cameron Sepah, has very little to do with either fasting or dopamine. As Sepah told the New York Times, “Dopamine is just a mechanism that explains how addictions can become reinforced, and...