{flickr photo by: ourmanwhere}

Mental Health Alternatives to Medication and Counseling

Last February, the American Psychological Association (APA) published an article called Lifestyle and Mental Health on the advantages of therapeutic lifestyle changes or TLC on individual and social well-being. While culturally we’re more apt to grab a pill and then see a therapist to help us cope with our emotional problems, this article offers an alternative.

Surprisingly, there are things that you can do to improve your mental health that may involve less risk. Things that the author of the article Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D. of the University of California, Irvine’s College of Medicine says, “are sometimes as effective as either psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy and can offer significant therapeutic advantages.” In fact, he says health professionals often underestimate its powerful benefits.

So what are these healthy lifestyle changes that could change your life?

TLC’s such as exercise, diet, stress management, relationships, spirituality and religion, service to others and spending time in nature can potentially offer both physical and psychological benefits.

The greatest problem with implementing TLC’s into a manageable and possible treatment option is contending with our culture’s love of unhealthy behaviors and immediate results. Incorporating healthy lifestyle changes takes a great deal of time and commitment. As the article explains, we don’t have an ideal support system to help us with this either.

Although this article doesn’t offer quick answers, it does give us the sense that working toward a more wholistic treatment plan for things like depression and anxiety is a worthy endeavor. Furthermore, adopting a healthier lifestyle can and will allow you to take back control of your life. It’s all in the TLC’s that give you the option to either pop a pill or change your circumstances in a more complete wholistic way.

Have you successful changed your lifestyle and in doing so has it altered your mood?

*Want more info? I will be going over each subject as it pertains to the article in subsequent blog posts.

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