In private practice, I often utilize steps from the Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) program developed by Dr. Stephen Ilardi. TLC is a 6-step program aimed at enhancing six key areas of your lifestyle in order to combat mental health problems. Originally developed for the treatment of depression, TLC is now often used in the treatment of other mental health conditions as well as overall holistic mind-body wellness.
Presented below is an overview of Step 2 in the TLC program: Engaging Activity.
Rumination is repetitively focusing on negative and distressing thoughts. When done to excess, it can amplify negative emotions, lead to withdrawal, increase stress, and, decrease healthy activity. We cannot always control where our thoughts go. But once the thoughts pop into our minds, we are able to decide whether or not we are going to keep haveing the thoughts.
It is up to us to decide to shift our focus to another activity. Many people spend a great deal of time ruminating without even being aware of it. It is impossible to stop ruminating without first learning how to detect when it is happening.
The first step in breaking the rumination habit is to notice when it is happening. Begin by deliberately monitoring your thoughts every hour; keep an hour-by-hour log every day. Take note of any rumination that has occurred since the last time you took note. Rumination typically happens most often when there is nothing else to occupy your time. One of the biggist risk factors is spending time alone. Make a list of High-Risk Situations (e.g., sitting in traffic, lying around the house, etc.) that often lead to your engaging in rumination.
1. Learn to redirect your attention from the inner world of thoughts to the outer world of people and activities.
2. Think less, do more! When you find your self ruminating, engage yourself in an activity, any activity. Make a list of Alternative Activities that engage you and stop the rumination (i.e., group activities, social events, music, art, books on tape, exercise, etc.).
Check out the video below to learn more about the importance of engaging activity on mental health.
Ilardi, Stephen. (2009). The Depression Cure. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.
Holland Miller, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist, provides individual and group therapy for adolescents and adults in Austin, TX. Specializing in the treatment of depression, chronic low mood, and chronic stress, she incorporates cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLCs) to enhance positive mood, healthy functioning, and overall well-being.
Dr. Miller is particularly passionate about working with adolescent girls and adult women who want to boost their mood and energy, improve their self-esteem and relationships with others, better cope with stress while reducing anxiety and tension, and develop healthy lifestyle habits for lasting wellness.
When she is not in the office, Dr. Miller enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and two mischievous goldendoodles. She can be found discovering the latest Austin adventure, reading and researching, exploring the outdoors on hiking and camping trips, and trying out new recipes.
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