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Page history last edited by Keely 12 years, 2 months ago

Welcome to Therapy 2.0: Mental Health for Geeks!

 

Hello! I am Keely Kolmes. I created this wiki as an adjunct to the 2009 SXSW Interactive panel, Therapy 2.0: Mental Health for Geeks which I developed with Thomas Roche.

 

IMPORTANT: Linking to Content on this Wiki

This wiki was an adjunct to the presentation listed above and it was intended for people to continue the conversation started at SXSW. For example, you may wish to add Self-Assessment tools or other Online Tools and Resources. I welcome such contributions. 

 

If, however, you wish to link to the wiki, I ask that you please credit me, the author, Dr. Keely Kolmes and provide a link to my website. Also, if you wish to share my list of Five Things You Can Start Doing Now to Improve Your Mental Health, below, I request that you link to my blog post Return From SXSW: Therapy 2.0 Report and Wiki which includes the list of five things. Thank you very much and I hope you find useful material in these pages, or are able to contribute something useful.

 

Adding Content to this Wiki

Unfortunately, this wiki finally fell prey to spam. So if you have something valuable to add, I ask that you email me directly and I'll be happy to add your resource.

 

Research

 

If you want to get straight to the science, I will soon be compiling a summary of the research on internet, technology, and mental health issues.

 

Self-Assessment

 

Many people wonder how to know whether they need help or how to assess their own level of functioning. Here is a simple symptom checklist that you can use to begin to get a baseline.

 

Books

 

For those of you who would like to do some work on your own to manage issues you may be dealing with, I've complied a list of books that I regularly recommend to clients.

 

Online Tools & Resources

 

Some of you may wish to check out a list of online tools and resources for self-help or support. 

 

If you are struggling with productivity, I have blogged about taming procrastination in our online culture of distraction and you can find some good tips and resources there.

 

Find a Therapist

 

If you're looking for a therapist, there are a number of good sites to get you started.

 

 

Five Things You Can Start Doing Now to Improve Your Mental Health

 

1. Weekly gratitude practice

 

Research has shown that keeping a weekly gratitude journal has significant effects on increasing optimism and decreasing reported physical symptoms. But don't overdo it. Lyubomirsky et al. (2005) found that those who practiced gratitude three times per week saw less benefit than those doing it once a week, suggesting that there may be a habituation effect and loss of gains if you do it more than once per week. Consider putting a reminder in your calendar to do this once a week.

 

2. Breathing exercises/Mindfulness practice

 

If you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious, doing a simple breathing exercise can help lower your blood pressure, lower your heart rate, and bring your attention away from distressing thoughts. It is easy to let future-focused or past-focused thoughts get in your way and this can increase depressed or anxious feelings. Be sure to breathe deeply into your lower abdomen, rather than taking shallow breaths just into your upper chest.

 

Breathing exercises are one component of mindfulness which is the practice of staying focused upon the present moment. There have been many studies showing the beneficial effects of mindfulness practice on depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, stress, chronic pain, and other ailments. When practicing mindfulness, sit in a comfortable place and start with the breathing. Then focus simply on being in your body. Notice your weight in the chair and the sounds you hear. If worrisome thoughts enter your mind, bring your focus back to your breath. Try to do this for 5 minutes a day and work up to 15 minutes.

 

You may also want to search for podcasts that offer relaxation, breathing, and mindfulness exercises.

 

3. Connect with others

 

There is much data suggesting that social support and connection increases mental health and feelings of self-worth while simultaneously decreasing stress. Consider joining an activity group, taking a class, or even volunteering somewhere.

 

Have a lot of work to do? Try co-working or just go to a cafe to get your work done.

 

4. Exercise

 

There is significant data indicating that exercise relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety while also helping with insomnia. Consider combining exercise with connecting with others by joining a gym or a boot camp or organizing physical activities with friends.

 

5. Thought-tracking

 

If you're struggling with anxiety or depression, tracking thoughts and moods can be helpful. Thought records are a cognitive-behavioral tool that can help you examine thoughts and beliefs and how they influence your mood. You may notice patterns and less useful beliefs that come up in your inner monologue with yourself. Identifying these thought patterns can be a first step in changing them.

 

 

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