In therapy we spend time talking about thoughts and feelings, understanding their origins and how to move past pain to healing and self-acceptance.
We also often spend time talking about living a life that feels worthwhile and healthful. I sometimes explore with my clients big and small changes that can be made to improve how they feel physically, so that they can feel better emotionally.
This can be particularly useful to do in therapy because we can really get into what makes it difficult to make good choices. From there we can come up with customized plans to help you move past obstacles and embrace your best self.
The below are some important parts of a healthful life, based on the work of Marsha Linehan, the originator of a type of therapy called Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).
DBT loves a good acronym, and the one for this life skill is PLEASE. As you’ll see, some serious liberties are taken in making that acronym work. Nonetheless, it’s a helpful checklist to go through.
Treat PhysicaL Illness
Take care of your body
Attend yearly physicals and meet with your doctor as regularly as needed
Be sure to take any prescribed medication as directed
Be mindful of your eating habits
Eat regularly and calmly through the day
Try to regularly eat enough to meet your nutritional needs and find satisfaction
Avoid, as best you can over eating to the point of discomfort or skipping meals/strictly dieting
Notice if any foods make you feel overly emotional and be mindful of your intake of them
Be thoughtful about your caffeine use - particularly if you struggle with anxiety
Talk with your doctor if you suspect you have any food allergies
Avoid (non-prescribed) Mood-Altering Substances
Be thoughtful about alcohol and non-prescribed drugs
Talk with your therapist, psychiatrist, or medical doctor if you’re worried that you maybe overly relying on alcohol or drugs to manage your mood
Also talk with your team if you have a hard time controlling your use of drugs or alcohol
Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night, or the amount of sleep that helps you feel good
Try to keep a consistent sleep schedule, especially if you have difficulty sleeping
Check out these posts for tips on improving your sleep
Talk with your psychiatrist or medical doctor if you suspect medication is interfering with your sleep
Get a Health Amount of Exercise
Be sure to move your body everyday
At least 20 minutes of some sort of exercise (including walking) is ideal
Also be mindful and talk to your therapist if you’re worried that you may be over-exercising
Questions? Want to talk more about how to make changes to your life that will help you feel good? Reach out and let’s talk.