When was the last time you took a nature walk? Stared up at the stars? Drank a tall glass of fresh water? Meditated on the morning sunshine? You could be missing out on some very cost-effective therapeutic practices.
Therapeutic self care is a new way of looking at changes you can make in your life today that have the power to change your lifestyle dramatically for the better. Nature, raw foods, taking fast walks during breaks may sound like a luxury – but a new paper published by the American Psychological Association reveals that a therapeutic lifestyle leads directly to improved mental health and cognitive performance.
All it takes is focus, time, energy and the integration of a few new concepts into your daily practices. According to a paper published earlier this year by Roger Walsh, M.D., PhD. of the University of California Irvine College of Medicine, research on the effects of TLCs (therapeutic lifestyle changes)—including exercise, good relationships, stress management, diet, community service, being in nature, and spiritual development—points to significant therapeutic advantages.
The opposite lifestyle of too much hanging out on the couch, watching television, eating fast food and stressing and obsessing about every deadline could be costing you more than muscle tone. These behaviors and practices could indeed have a great psychological cost, Walsh maintains.
Some of the lesser known benefits of living a therapeutic lifestyle include increased memory in older adults, new neuron formation in the brain, increased cognitive performance, and better school performance for children.
Specifically, nourishing one’s body with a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and fish also improves cognitive function in adults and school performance in children, while reducing symptoms in schizophrenic disorders, states Walsh. Even experiencing a good relationship can provide fabulous therapeutic results, as well as relaxation and stress management.
For a simple meditation exercise, try this. Take a few moments to breathe. Focus on your breath. Sit with your back straight, your head directly over your shoulders. Take 10 breaths and watch yourself breathe. Turn off your phone and computer for 10 minutes, so that you can have this time to replenish your brain cells. Breathe into your body and just be aware of sounds as they go by. Don’t try to meditate, just breathe. You may want to start out with only two or three minutes, as you build up your meditation “muscles.” Your brain will thank you!
Relaxation, meditation, and managing stress in more productive ways treats anxiety, insomnia and panic disorders, according to Walsh. It all starts with a glass of water, taking time out from your busy day, and taking care of yourself with foods rich in life force. It doesn’t have to be complicated. And the results will be appreciated by not only you, but by everyone in your life.