Wednesday, July 20, 2011


In this day and age many people are frightened by our irresponsible government or debt or that the Chinese are taking over or a hundred other reasons why people live in fear.  There are two motivators in our lives; one is fear and the other is love. Fear is only a strong motivator as long as whatever we are afraid of is present.  It is like a parent who tries to motivate their children out of threats of spanking or taking things away. When mom or dad aren’t there to threaten or are out of sight the kids then do whatever they want to because the fear factor is gone.  Love on the other hand is the motivation that comes out of a conviction or a belief that something is the right thing to do. This is the primary reason why we at TurningLeaf work on instilling values as a part of the lives of the people we work with.  If you have values and they are intrinsic to your way of life then they are always motivating you to do the right things for the right reasons.  Back to the example of motivating children; each family needs to establish 10 core values for each member of the family (2 to 4 for younger children) and then taking all the core values establish by the family members and condense them into 10 core values as a family. This way all of the family knows and respects the family’s life direction and love becomes the key motivator.

Richard Y Moody, PhD
Clinical Psychologist

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Depression - Getting Out and Staying Out

I’ve been slow to get back to the answer to the last blog. I guess I was depressed or at least putting it off. The topic was depression and how we get depressed. The topic now is about getting out of and staying out of depression. One of the real problems with depression is getting so far down  you can’t see any light to work toward for getting out of the depression. If this is the case and you have thought seriously of committing suicide you will probably need a little outside help in the form of therapy or anti-depressants.  In these cases I recommend anti-depressants for a short period until you can at least see daylight. At this point where you can work up enough energy to get out and start exercising this needs to be your mainstay. Exercise has been shown to be the single best method of reducing and staying out of depression found to date. When I talk of exercise it needs to be on a regular basis (3 to 4 times a week) and you need to get your heart rate up to at least 120 beats per minute and keep it there for 30 minutes. 2nd get out with people you love or at least care about and LAUGH! Do this frequently. And finally learn to respect and appreciate yourself. We are all special with a mired of gifts and talents that most of us overlook and especially when depressed we believe we’re not worth much. This is the lie depression tells us so don’t be fooled by it. You are great….      

Richard Moody, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist
TurningLeaf Wellness Center

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Depression - The Many Faces and Causes

This week’s blog is about depression and the many ways into a depressive state.  Depression has many faces and causes. There is a situational depression, i.e. “My girlfriend just left me for another guy”.  There is a long time, at least 2 years,  depressive state that is called a Dysthymic Disorder according to the DSM IV. This is a state of low energy, fatigue, low self-esteem, difficulty making decisions, poor appetite or over eating that continues to plague an individual for several years and has become more of a life style.  There is a  major depressive disorder where an individual will think seriously about dying, feels hopeless, helpless and has no energy for days on end. Every day is a burden and every night is a burden of sleeplessness or the need to sleep all of the time to avoid life. Weight loss or weight gain, diminished interest or feeling no pleasure in any or all activities all are signs of a major depressive disorder. This depression is brought on by being hit with multiple stressful events, i.e. “ my wife left me, my house is going into foreclosure, my child fell and hurt themself at school, etc.”.  Another form of depression is the kind brought on by a traumatic event often  having occurred earlier in our life and now resurfaces. These events are often serious in nature, i.e. a rape, seeing the ravages of war or as a participant in war or any serious abuse be it sexual, physical or emotional.  These are some of the ways depression sneaks up on us.  The blog next week will be about ways to fight depression and to keep ourselves depression free throughout our life.

Richard Moody, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist
TurningLeaf Wellness Center

Friday, June 3, 2011

Are you Existing or are you Living?

I will often ask the question of my patients  "are you existing or are you living your life?" By this is meant do you invest in your daily activities or do let events carry you along through life? Investing in your daily activities means you are proactively seeking out activities each day that enhance your life. Whether the activities are at work, with the family or with friends do you make the most of each of these  experiences each day or do you just "go with the flow".  Is work enjoyable and does it bring a smile to your face as you engage in your work or is it a daily grind? Do you really stop and think about how great it is to hug your child or your wife and to be with them or is it just routine? What about your friends do you enjoy being with them and know they love you for who you are or are they just a means to an end? If you can answer yes to these questions  it would seem you are on the right track.

Richard Moody, Ph.D.
TurningLeaf Wellness Center

Friday, May 27, 2011

Depression and Value Based Life Style

Depression is that state of mind when you feel helpless, hapless and hopeless. Most of depression results from being out of touch with your innerself in the sense of feeling dead  inside yet very much intouch with the innerself in constantly focusing on what is wrong or what I’m doing wrong. Often depression results from not having enough focus or direction in life. You feel adrift and you are at the whims of others, with little or no control over what will happen to you. (helpless) You make decisions based on what others tell you rather than listening to the directions of an inner compass. The inner compass is spinning and a direction doesn’t exist. (hapless) Your decisions lack conviction and you just want some release so you turn to alcohol or drugs, of any kind, for solace. (helpless)
Having values in your life essentially stops most of the depressive symptoms before they become a state of depression. Yes, you will have ups and downs of life, this is part of being human. But values give you a constant direction in your life, with boundaries, which are automatically tied into your values. When you have a constant direction and have established boundaries to protect you from the influences of others or your own desire for misdirection you remain on course, safe and secure you are progressing in a manner both healthy and functional. 

Values designed to keep you away from feelings of depression are:

1.      I will take care of my body. This means you literally will do whatever it takes to maintain a healthy body. This includes exercise, eating right, sleeping right and maintaining an appropriate body weight. It also means I don’t use drugs beyond that proscribed by my doctor, I don’t over indulge in alcohol and I take care of physical things necessary for my age, i.e. physical checkups, cancer checkups, etc. It also means I’m aware of the health problems indemic to my family (diabetes, specific types of cancer, etc.) and I take precautions to prevent these health problems.

2.      I will live an active life style. This means you will get off the couch and interact with others. It means you will get outside as often as possible and engage in some form of games, (social or formal) picnics, cookouts, reunions, etc. It means you limit the amount of time you spend playing computer games, watching TV, surfing the net, eating, etc. It means you will take an inventory of your life and look honestly at who your friends are and what you do together. You may find you don’t have many friends or have lost contact with the friends you once had. It means you will move “being active” way up on your priority list.

3.      I will exercise my belief in God. This means you will start to pray and exercise your belief in something greater than you. A belief in someone who has a greater understanding of the universe, your life, your purpose in life and your greater abilities helps to calm your soul. It means you know there is somewhere else you can look for help and He is always willing to help those who ask. But, you have got to ask. This is faith. Faith is essential to believing something will help. So have faith in and believe in you by applying the above values.


- Richard Moody, Ph.D.