Blog post: 4th July 2019
Diet and exercise are at least as important as philosophy of life in determining how we feel!
Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, July 2019
Over the years that I’ve been providing counselling and therapy services to individuals and couples, I have had to keep broadening my understanding of the nature of human beings.
I was originally trained as a Rational Therapist (REBT), and tended to focus exclusively on the self-talk of the client. I had bought into the idea that people are upset by what they “tell themselves” about their negative experiences.
Then I came across clients who did not seem to have any obvious psychological reason to feel depressed or anxious, but they were. This led me to realize that many people suffer from ‘gut dysbiosis’, including Candida Albicans overgrowth, which (we now know) also causes ‘leaky brain’, which allows toxins from the large intestine to get into the bloodstream, and from there, into the brain; disrupting brain chemistry, and causing symptoms of anxiety, depression, in the main; but theoretically also, anger.
I also found that some people were anxious because they were over-consuming caffeine or sugary foods; and not consuming enough calming foods and drinks (like Brazil nuts, and Camomile tea).
Out of these realizations, and others, I began to build, and to constantly amend, my own stress and anxiety diet, which I shared with my clients, when appropriate.
And some clients had such sedentary lifestyles that they became anxious or depressed, because of the lack of exercise-induced production of endorphins (or ‘happiness chemicals’); and exercise-assisted washing of stress hormones out of their systems.
Eventually, Renata, my wife and professional partner, did some research on the role of diet and exercise in the experience of anger, anxiety and depression; and we collaborated on a book in which we put her research, and my stress and anxiety diet, together; plus some work we’d jointly done on exercise.
There are six parts to this book:
The first part deals with diet and nutrition and how they influence anxiety, anger and depression.
The second part of the book deals with physical exercise and how it can affect these common emotional problems.
The third part is a description of my ‘stress and anxiety reduction diet’ and offers guidelines for understanding different types of diets and their effects.
The fourth part shows some of the key findings from the science of nutritional deficiency, and the role of inflammation in the creation of depression.
The fifth part is a summing up of the key findings of the book, so that you can spot the most useful material that you can use for yourself – or for your clients, if you are a health-care or psychotherapeutic practitioner, counsellor or psychologist.
And the sixth part is our attempt to coach you through the process of habit change (including controlling alcohol consumption; changing your diet; or increasing your physical activity); and to give you a map to guide you through the process of accessing, learning and applying the transformative information in this book.
You can read a page of information about this book here: