There are specific areas of the world where people tend to live longer and healthier lives. These areas, called Blue Zones, have been extensively studied in order to better understand what contributes to the longevity of the people living there.
Many of the lifestyle choices in the Blue Zones are consistent with the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLCs) I advocate in my work with therapy clients. Not only do these lifestyle changes lead to a longer and healthier life, they also lead to a happier life. Indeed, mood can be greatly impacted by making some adjustments to your daily routine.
Want to incorporate some of the Blue Zone lifestyle changes into your day? Here are some strategies to aid you in your journey towards health and wellness:
Move your body.
A therapeutic dose of physical activity (i.e., the amount of exercise that promotes positive mood) is 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3 times per week. So get your heart pumping with a brisk walk, swim, or run. Not your cup of tea? Look into playing a 30 minute game of tennis with your kids, taking a dance class with a friend, or enjoying a bike ride with your significant other. Incorporating physical activity into your week doesn't have to feel like a chore or involve a gym membership. The key to enjoying exercise is not to think about it as execise. Change your mindset and instead think of it as meaningful and purposeful physical activity. Brainstorm about what activities you would enjoy that also happen to involve moving your body.
Stimulate your mind.
To live a long, happy life its important to keep your mind active. What are some brain games you would enjoy? Perhaps reading, solving puzzles or crossword puzzles, taking an art class, joining a club or group that meets regularly to discuss interesting topics, or helping your kids with their homework.
Put your social skills to work.
Spending time with others is a huge piece to the mental health puzzle. With computers, phones, tablets, etc., etc., etc., it's really easy to unintentionally spend a lot of time disconnected from others. Make it priority to spend more quality time with family and friends. You may even want to pick up a hobby that would facilitate your social life, join a church or Meetup group, or volunteer somewhere that makes you feel good.
Eat your fruits and veggies.
Focusing your grocery shopping list on fruits and veggies has a big impact on health and mood, too. Minimize your intake of sugars, breads, and diary.
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.
Social Support- Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) Step 5 of 6
November 2, 2015
An Intriguing Look at Depression
October 16, 2015
Sleep - Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) Step 6 of 6