Books about emotional life, including anxiety

Dr Jim’s Blog post

23rd April 2020

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Books as depositories of valuable knowledge and ideas; and as outlets for speaking to the world…

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Introduction

Jim and the Buddha, 2I love books; and I’ve enjoyed scouring bookshops for new ideas since I was about 14 years old.  It is perhaps one of the greatest deprivations of the Covid-19 lockdown that I cannot get to walk around the philosophy, psychology, health and self-help sections of Waterstones, in Leeds or Manchester; or the Bookcase in Hebden Bridge; or W.H. Smith’s in Halifax; or the Bookcase store in Piece Hall.

I also miss the whole floor of good quality, and interesting secondhand books in Oxfam in Bradford!

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A story of browsing

Yesterday I was browsing my own (and Renata’s) bookshelves in our attic office when my mind alighted upon one of our own books – Holistic Counselling in Practice: An Introduction to Emotive-Cognitive embodied Narrative Therapy.[1]

Book-cover-frontBut, actually, it was the original version I had in my hands; the one with the bnlue cover, and the coloured illustrations – and my eyes were drawn to three illustrations, on pages vi and vii of the Foreword.

– The first illustration shows the interaction of a mother and baby, giving rise to the socialized mind of the child.

(See below).

– The second is a blue boxed callout, which says: “We are bodies as well as minds; primarily social animals; with the potential to develop virtues and vices”.

(Not shown on this page).

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– And the third was also a callout, like this:

“The thoughts and beliefs of the (counselling) client cannot exist independently of their diet, exercise, self-talk, relaxation, stress level, social and economic circumstances, etc.”

Basic-CENT-model

With the benefit of the passage of time, I can see that sleep and relaxation should have featured prominently in that second callout.

Anyway, the surprising thing was that I had to skim all the way through to page 123 before I could find our Holistic SOR model, which is what distinguishes us from the CBT, psychodynamic and humanistic traditions.  This is it:

Holistic-SOR-model2

This model shows that diet and food supplements; meditation; exercise regime; plus sleep and relaxation histories; are among the many factors which determine how the body-brain-mind will respond to an incoming stimulus, or, if you like: how we will respond to our ongoing experiences.

The importance of high quality, original research

I recall that, as I was beginning to draft that book, I realized that we needed to be quite specific about the kinds of foods, and exercise systems, that would most benefit a person who is suffering from anger management issues, or anxiety/panic, or depression.  And I knew I could not afford the time to study nutrition and exercise at that time; so I spoke to Renata (my wonderful wife and life and business partner) and she agreed to do what turned out to be months of research of the scientific studies which have looked at the links between diet and exercise, on the one hand, and the experience of anger, anxiety and/or depression, on the other.

Renata’s research of those subjects appeared as Appendices E and F of the Holistic Counselling book; and later we created a more expanded book – Lifestyle Counselling and Coaching for the Whole Person – in which Renata did weeks of research on the science of sleep, and how it relates to emotional states; and that went into the Lifestyle Counselling book.

Recently, we’ve gone back to all of that research, and subsequent refinements, to produce a new book.

This time we’ve tackled a topic which is very relevant to the Covid-19 pandemic: how to control your anxiety.  Here are the details of the book:

Front cover 2Cutting through the Worry Knot!

How to Reduce and Control Your Anxiety Level: Using a whole body-brain-mind approach

And without using drugs, alcohol or escapism!

By Dr Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne

Anxiety is not a disease; not a mental illness. Anxiety is part of our normal, innate, mental signalling system which tells us what is happening to us, and what to do about it.  That is to say, it is part of our emotional wiring. Our emotional intelligence.

Trying to get rid of anxiety with drugs is like hanging two overcoats and a duvet over your burglar alarm when it goes off.  The burglar alarm is designed to give you helpful information, which you can then use to guide your action. Should you check to see if a burglar has got into your house? Or call the police? Or realize that you’d mismanaged your alarm system, and that you should therefore switch it off?

Once you understand anxiety correctly, it becomes as useful as a burglar alarm; and you can learn how to manage it correctly.

When you buy a burglar alarm, it comes with a little Instruction Book about how to set it; calibrate it; monitor it; reset it; and switch it on and off.

You should have got just such an Instruction Book about your anxiety alarm, from your parents, when you were very young – and some people did.  But if your alarm goes off at all times of day and night, in unhelpful ways, then I guess you were one of the unlucky ones who did not get your Instruction Book.  This book contains your Instruction Book, plus lots of other backup information, which will help to make you the master of your anxiety, instead of its quaking slave.

Don’t let your anxiety “burglar alarm” reduce your life to misery. Learn how to use it properly!

For more information about this book on anxiety:

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Paperback copy:

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Kindle eBook copy:

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We love books: Reading them; writing them; and talking about them.  We hope you enjoy what we have to say about what we have learned, and how we have applied our learning.

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Best wishes for a happy reading aspect to your growing life!

Jim and the Buddha, 2Jim

Dr Jim Byrne

Doctor of Counselling

Joint Director of the ABC Bookstore Online UK

Joint Director of the Institute for E-CENT Counselling

Dr Jim’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Division

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[1] Byrne, J.W. (2019) Holistic Counselling in Practice: An introduction to the theory and practice of Emotive-Cognitive Embodied-Narrative Therapy. Updated edition (2).  Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT Publications.

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Byrne, J.W. (2018) Lifestyle Counselling and Coaching of the Whole Person: Or how to integrate nutritional insights, physical exercise and sleep coaching into talk therapy.  Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT Publications.

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Taylor-Byrne, R.E. and Byrne, J.W. (2017) How to control your anger, anxiety and depression, using nutrition and physical activity.  Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT Publications.

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Byrne, J.W. and Taylor-Byrne, R.E. (2020) Cutting through the Worry Knot! How to Reduce and Control Your Anxiety Level: Using a whole body-brain-mind approach. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT Publications.

 

Diet and exercise affect mental health

Blog post: 4th July 2019

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Diet and exercise are at least as important as philosophy of life in determining how we feel!

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Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, July 2019

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Front cover design 3Over 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.

Dr-Jim-Byrne8 (2)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.

Jim.Nata.Couples.pg.jpg.w300h245 (1)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.

The book is titled, How to Control Your Anger, Anxiety and Depression: Using nutrition and physical activity.***

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There are six parts to this book:

Front cover design 3The 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:

https://abc-bookstore.com/diet-exercise-mental-health/

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