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Therapeutic Lifestyle Choices

Healthy lifestyles can reduce psychological symptoms and suffering, such as feelings of anxiety, depression, agitation, anger, and trouble concentrating, as well as low energy and poor self-esteem.

These therapeutic effects are why healthy lifestyles are called “therapeutic lifestyle changes” or “TLCs” (Roger Walsh, 2011). The eight therapeutic life choices are:

  • Health and Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Spending Time in Nature
  • Relaxation and Stress Management
  • Contribution and Service
  • Relationships
  • Spirituality
  • Recreation

But making healthy lifestyle choices can do more than just relieve symptoms. You don’t have to feel bad to feel better. In fact, healthy ways of living can make you emotionally happier, mentally clearer, intellectually sharper, and energetically give you more get up and go as well as the stamina to keep going.

The first kind of benefit of healthy lifestyles or TLCs is that they reduce psychological symptoms and suffering. The second kind of benefit is that they enhance your performance and sense of wellbeing.

But there’s more. The third big benefit of living more healthily is that you reduce your risk of future problems.

You’re just less likely to suffer anxiety, fall into depression, lose your intellectual edge as you age, or develop disabling brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinsonism. They build up your strength, or resiliency, to fight off difficulties.

Evidence shows that TLCs can help prevent and treat many psychological disorders—including anxiety, depression, and age related cognitive loss—and can enhance wellbeing in everyone.

TLCs can be just as powerful as drugs for preventing and treating some mental health disorders and for enhancing well-being.

Yet the importance of lifestyle for mental health is little appreciated in our culture, and only a small minority of mental-health practitioners emphasizes TLCs.