Lifestyle self-management: Diet, exercise, sleep

E-CENT Blog Post

14th September 2018

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2018

Dr Jim’s Blog: Mental health is not just about childhood experiences;

Or about current stressors; or badly managed thoughts…

Mental health is related to diet and nutrition, inner dialogue, physical exercise, re-framing of experience, and sleep science…


Revised-front-coverIn science as well as popular culture, the body and mind have long been pulled apart, and treated as separate entities.  And when they are treated as being connected – as in the modern psychiatric theory of ‘brain chemistry imbalances’ causing negative moods and emotions, the ‘brain chemistry’ in question is taken to be unrelated to how you use your body; what you eat; how well you sleep.  It is assumed to be ‘special brain chemistry’ – separate and apart from Lifestyle Factors – which can only be fixed by consuming dangerous drugs!

If you are interested in the impact of lifestyle practices on mental health and emotional states, then you will enjoy our page of information about how all of the ideas above are presented in our book about Lifestyle Counselling.  We see this as the core of most holistic healing practices of the future.

The way ahead

Body-brain-mindIn the immediate future, lifestyle counselling practice will be a novel service offering for counselling and psychotherapy clients who have realized that:

# the body and mind are intimately connected;

# that the body-mind is an open system, permeated by a whole range of lifestyle factors which can be managed well, or mismanaged,

# which results in excellent or poor mental health, physical health, and personal happiness.

In the pages of our popular book on lifestyle counselling, we have presented:

– a summary of our previous book about the impact of diet and exercise on mental health and emotional well-being;

– a chapter which integrates psychological theories of emotion with physical sources of distress – for the emotions of anger, anxiety and depression – and recommends treatment strategies;

– a chapter on the negative effects of sleep insufficiency on our thinking, feeling and behaviour;

– a chapter on how to re-frame any problem, using our Six Windows Model (which includes some perspectives from moderate Buddhism and moderate Stoicism) – but excludes the extreme forms of those philosophies of life!);

The SOR Model, Fig 1

  • a chapter on how to divine and assess the counselling client’s multiple sources of emotional disturbance, using our Holistic-SOR Model;

– and a chapter on how to set about teaching lifestyle change to counselling and therapy clients.

For a page of information about this book’s contents, including extracts, and the contents pages and index pages, please click the following link: *Lifestyle Counselling and Coaching for the Whole Person… by Jim Byrne***


That’s all for now.

Best wishes,


Dr Jim Byrne

E-CENT Institute



Change of E-CENT Institute’s name

Update – Friday 13th November 2015

Re-posted on 6th April 2016

A change of name:

The Institute for Emotive-Cognitive Embodied-Narrative Therapy (E-CENT Institute)

by Dr Jim Byrne and Renata Taylor-Byrne – Copyright (c) 2016

E-CENT logoThis morning, Renata and I were discussing our new book***, on which we are collaborating; and we realized that the time has come to modify the name of the Institute to take account of the true nature of our system of counselling and psychotherapy.

In our original formulation, we made the mistake of following the pattern set down by Albert Ellis – in which rationality and cognition are elevated above emotion.  His system began with the words ‘Rational Emotive’ and ours began with ‘Cognitive Emotive’.  However, from the beginning, we were of the view that humans are fundamentally physical-emotional beings, with some (limited) capacity to think and reason.

We follow the pattern explored by Antonio Damasio (2000)[1], in which the body-brain is the fundamental substrate of emotion.  We then elaborate from the theories of Theodore Sarbin[2], to the effect that our innate feelings, over the first few years of life, become woven together with stories and concepts and themes and scripts which we acquire from our family of origin, and which we co-construct with them.

So, logically, we should have reversed the first two letters of our acronym – from CE (Cognitive-Emotive) to EC (Emotive-Cognitive).

Nata-and-Jim-hols-10001.jpg.w300h192The second problem we realized is that, although the body-brain-mind is the foundation of our understanding of the human subject – the counselling client – the word ‘body’ did not appear in the name of the therapy, nor is it represented in the current acronym.

In E-CENT counselling, we teach our coaching and therapy clients that we are body-minds, and that the mind depends upon diet, exercise and relaxation, etc., in order to function properly: “To keep the body in good health is a duty – otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear”.

The Buddha, from a quotation in Julia Cameron’s (1995) book, The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self.


So we have decided that we should only speak of embodied-narratives, and not the kinds of ‘abstract beliefs and thoughts’ that float around in CBT/REBT.

Therefore, we have concluded that the name of our Institute will henceforth be changed to The Institute for Emotive-Cognitive Embodied-Narrative Therapy – (or E-CENT Institute, for short).

The acronym of the system of therapy has now been changed from CENT to E-CENT.  (It would be too ugly and confusing to hyphenate the letters for Embodied-Narrative).

Welcome to the Institute for Emotive-Cognitive Embodied-Narrative Therapy (E-CENT).


That’s all for now.

Best wishes,

Renata and Jim