Anita Kemp Ph.D. Blog

Ideas for a healthy body, mind and spirit.

Taming Dragons That Control Your Mental State

If you have never heard of Daniel Amen MD, you should. He has been a leader in the mental health field with using SPECT brain scans to assess emotional, cognitive and behavioral problems. His clinics do a thorough assessment of the mental health issue and then provide treatment which includes nutritional supplements. He has demonstrated that his program can heal brain trauma in NFL players. You can check out his website He also has a brain fitness program on line

His latest book (Your Brain Is Always Listening: Tame the Hidden Dragons That Control Your Happiness, Habits and Hang-ups) is a fun one. Using metaphor of dragons, he tackles various emotional issues like anxiety, anger, grief, low self-esteem. For example for the Hopeless and Helpless Dragon, he gives antidotes of creating a positivity bias, gratitude practice, writing down your accomplishments and strengths, and getting your brain healthy with Omega-3’s. All his suggestions are doable and make sense. Then he tackles ANTS – Automatic Negative Thoughts for each of the issues. This is the good old cognitive-behavioral work. Mainly this book would be for someone new to the arena of psychology.

May 29, 2021 Posted by | anxiety, Depression, Emotional Well Being | Leave a comment

Eating to End Depression and Anxiety

Wouldn’t it be better to eat your way to emotional health than to take medications that have side effects? It’s not that hard and really just involves healthy eating that you already know. However to help with this process Drew Ramsey MD has written a book – Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety: Nourish Your Way to Better Mental Health in Six Weeks.

He reviews the 12 essential nutrients to heal anxiety and depression – Folate, Iron, Omega-3 Fats, Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium, Vitamin B1, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, B12, Vitamin C and Zinc. Don’t worry. The food sources for these are outlined.

There are sections on inflammation and gut microbiome which are both involved in anxiety and depression. Then at the end of the book are recipes. The Mushroom and Chicken Cassoulet was good but the Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraiche was wonderful.

Who knew that you can eat well and heal your emotional health.

May 28, 2021 Posted by | anxiety, Depression, health | Leave a comment


Here is a new concept for our times – EMOTIONAL INFLAMMATION. Lise Van Sustern MD, a psychiatrists, has written this book before the COVID-19 and how relevant it is. She discusses all the stressors present in our world now- hunger, homelessness, drug use, crime, federal budget deficit, poor health care, environmental crisis, income inequality, too many guns, poor race relations. Now we can add more. The result is anxiety, preoccupation with threats, rumination, fears. Even worse is that emotions are contagious. We have mirror neurons that pick up other’s emotions and help us resonate with these. All very good if the emotions are positive. Not so good in our current environment.

Given this contagious effect, she counsels that you may need to disengage from some friends, redirect conversations to less stressful topics, using positive visualizations and other stress management tools. She then outlines types of reactors: nervous reactor, revved-up reactor, molten reactor and retreating reactor. Then she delineates all the negative impacts of reactivity on us before she helps with ideas to “steady your body’s natural rhythms.” Then she presents ideas for managing distressful thoughts. Then the last part of her program for well-being is to “reclaim the gifts of nature.”  Here is the beautiful concept of forest bathing.

The last section presents some ideas for action. This includes smaller and larger steps. Action reduces depression and anxiety. It empowers us and as we all take action, big changes can happen. Let us all move forward in a positive way and heal our world.

Many will find comfort in the recognition Van Sustern gives to the distress we are feeling living in this world.





June 3, 2020 Posted by | anxiety, Depression, Emotional Well Being | Leave a comment

CBD for Anxiety/Depression?

CBD (cannabiol) is now getting a lot of press and increasing use by indivduals wanting relief from anxiety and depression as well as physical ailments. CBD does not produce the high that THC does and therefore is not addictive. Please note that we produce a similar chemical in our bodies (endocannabioid) and this has an impact on a lot of processes in our body and mind. If you also take it in externally, it will impact our natural system and perhaps lower our ability to produce this.

That said CBD is increasing being prescribed to quell anxiety and PTSD symptoms by mental health professionals. Studies that have looked at this use large amounts from 400 mg to 1000 mg and the typical available capsule is between 10-25 mg.  Also the products available vary in the amount of CBD actually in the capsule despite what they say and may have various contaminants like pesticides, since this is not well regulated yet.

Little evidence has yet been produced for benefit for depression. Limited research shows  some improvement for insomnia at low doses but increased wakefulness at higher doses.

So the bottom line is  BE CAREFUL and use non-drug means to handle anxiety before you start any drug.



September 28, 2019 Posted by | anxiety, Depression, Emotional Well Being, health | | Leave a comment