Walsh is associated with the University of California, Irvine College of Medicine. In his article he addresses the importance of making therapeutic lifestyles a central focus of mental, medical, and public health.

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The central idea of his article is remarkably simple. Health professionals have considerably underestimated the importance of life style for a psychological state. As the years progress mental health professions have progressed faraway from effective lifestyle interventions. Instead therapists are being pushed toward briefer, more conventionalized interventions.

They’re being pressured to offer less therapy, prescribe more drugs, and target a quick fix.

As a result, with the underestimation and underutilization of lifestyle treatments, the need for them has never been greater. Walsh states in his article “therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLCs) are underutilized despite considerable evidence of their effectiveness in both clinical and normal populations.” (Walsh, 2011) After reading Walsh’s article I was fascinated in the research they have found for the eight major therapeutic lifestyle changes, and how each of them benefits us in one way or another.

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Throughout the article I noticed it was exceptionally biased towards therapeutic lifestyle changes, so I decided to do some research outside of the article. After attempting to research the negatives of TLC’s outside of Walsh’s article, I wasn’t able to find much. Therefore, I firmly believe that Walsh wrote an exceptional article on why TLC’s should be a more common path of treatment.

In the 21st century, therapeutic lifestyles should become the central focus of mental, medical, and public health. Important TLC’s as reported by Walsh are exercise, nutrition and diet, time in nature, relationships, recreation, relaxation and stress management, religious or spiritual involvement, and service to others. Considerable research and clinical evidence support lifestyle changes that inspires healthy behavior and a greater well-being. As with physical effects, exercise offers both preventive and therapeutic psychological advantages. “There is currently extended proof of the important of nutrition for mental state, and an extensive review of over 160 studies suggests that dietary factors are so important that the mental state of countries is also joined to them” (Gomez-Pinilla, 2008). While technology has evolved, we have lost touch with nature, a documented source of healing and wisdom. “Of all the means which are procured by wisdom to ensure happiness throughout the whole of life, by far the most important is the acquisition of friends.” (Epicurus, quoted in D. Gordon, 1999, p. 35)

Through experiences of positive emotions people transform themselves, “becoming more creative, knowledgeable, resilient, socially integrated, and healthy individuals.” (Fredrickson, 2002, p. 123) While stress is universal, many don’t know how to manage it. Many skillful strategies have become readily available, ranging from lifestyle changes to psychotherapy to self-management skills. Religious and spiritual concerns are vitally important to most people, they become beneficial when it centers on themes “such as love and forgiveness and is likely to be less helpful or perhaps harmful to mental health once themes of punishment and guilt predominate.” (Walsh, 2011) Walsh’s intention throughout the text was to address therapeutic lifestyle changes. His primary argument is that lifestyle factors offer major advantages, yet health professionals have underestimated their importance. His article reviews research on their effects and effectiveness; the principles, advantages, and challenges involved in implementing them; and the forces hinders their use.

As I stated before, after I had finished reading this article, I felt that it was very biased, and it did not address the negatives of therapeutic lifestyle changes. Come to find out the only real negatives addressed on the internet about TLC’s were in this article. Unfortunately for us as Americans we have been unable to adopt therapeutic lifestyle changes. The reasons involve patients, therapists, and society. Patients struggle to adopt TLC’s because they require a considerable amount of effort. Unlike psychotherapy, lifestyle changes are a process that takes time and requires support. Also, patients’ content with a daily barrage of psychologically sophisticated advertisements that encourage them, usually negatively. Therapists face a challenge with adopting to therapeutic lifestyle changes because therapists tend to take a “professional biased toward pharmacological and formal psychotherapeutic interventions. In addition, fostering patients’ therapeutic lifestyle changes can be time intensive, can demand considerable therapeutic skill.” (Walsh, 2011)

Overall, I thought this article was well written, and organized. Throughout Lifestyle and Mental Health Walsh addressed the importance of therapeutic lifestyle changes. Walsh took the eight major lifestyle factors; exercise, nutrition and diet, time in nature, relationships, recreation, relaxation and stress management, religious or spiritual involvement, service to others and evolved them in to why they were beneficial to determine both the physical and mental health of a person. For me this article led me to think why we have not adopted to the therapeutic lifestyle changes. As we evolve further and further into the era of science and technology, through digital technology we have changed the way we live and communicate but also is rapidly changing our brains. As the years progress mental health professions have progressed away from effective lifestyle interventions. “Instead therapists are being pushed toward briefer, more stylized interventions.

They are being pressured to offer less therapy, prescribe more drugs, and focus on a simple 15 min med-check.” (Walsh, 2011) This statement is eye opening to me because even the people that are supposed to be helping us become healthy and our best selves are sticking to old habits and aren’t recommending the best method for us. Important dependent variables addressed in the article include social capital, meditation, and exercise. “Social capital appears absolutely and partially casually associated with a good vary of social health measures- such as reduced economic condition, crime, and drug abuse—as well as in- creased physical and mental health in individuals.” (Roger Walsh, 2011) “Meditation enhances psychological capacities, health, and maturity in each patient and nonpatients. It will reduce stress in both clinical and traditional populations.” (Walsh & Shapiro, 2006). “Neural factors are especially intriguing. Exercise in- creases brain volume (both gray and white matter), vascularization, blood flow, and functional measures” (Erickson & Kramer, 2009; Hamer & Chida, 2009). The independent variables within this article are the eight major therapeutic lifestyle changes. I think the article could be improved by including more information on why this method is not applied to the modern era. Also, using more experiments to back up the positives of TLC’s could give health professionals more of a reason to induct TLC’s as their main course of treatment.

I can conclude that after reviewing this article by Walsh, his main idea doesn’t fall short of a potential breakthrough in science. He created a foundation for psychotherapy by addressing the principles, advantages, and challenges involved in implementing therapeutic lifestyle changes. Walsh has noticed a new technique and has evolved that technique to the modern era. Now more than ever, we are in serious need of lifestyle treatments, because unhealthy behaviors are increasing to such an extent that it is about to become a global epidemic. Walsh provided well researched ideas, significant evidence, and specific details to express why therapeutic lifestyle changes are the best option moving forward in the 21st century.

Updated: Dec 13, 2021
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Healthy Lifestyle and Mental Health. (2021, Dec 13). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/healthy-lifestyle-and-mental-health-essay

Healthy Lifestyle and Mental Health essay
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