Diet, exercise, mental health

How to control your anger, anxiety and depression, using nutrition and physical exercise

Copyright © Renata Taylor-Byrne and Jim Byrne, 2017


Front cover, 8Page updated: 18th November 2017

I have now, at last, finished the index of our book on how to control your anger, anxiety and depression using nutrition and physical exercise.  It comes to more than nine pages! As part of this update, I will append a selection of pages from the index further down this page.

I also want to present all three of the contents pages, below:

Firstly, here is the first page of the contents:

Contents pages001

The other two contents pages can be found further down this webpage.


Next I want to present the first three pages of the index.  Here is the first page:

Index extracts001

See further down this page for pages 195 and 196 of the index.


Page updated: 12th November 2017

The updated cover looks like this:


CreasespaceCover8, diet-nutrition

Next, let us present an extract from the Preface, by Renata Taylor-Byrne, which was updated on 12th November 2017:


By Renata Taylor-Byrne

 “Healthy food can have a powerful effect on mood”.

Dr Michael Greger (2016)


“Thirty minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, five times a week, is associated with numerous health benefits.  These range from improving mood and self-esteem to reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease”.

Dr Mark Atkinson (2007)


Who is this book for?

We wrote this book with three audiences in mind:

  1. Professional carers and helpers, like counsellors, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, health coaches, lifestyle coaches, nutritional advisers (who need to learn the linkages to emotions, and the role of exercise), personal trainers (who need to learn the role of diet and the link to emotions); plus social workers, and others.
  2. Students of the caring professions, including psychology and counselling in particular but also nutritional science (for the link to emotional disturbances).
  3. And self-help enthusiasts, who want to learn how to manage their emotions by taking more responsibility for their physical health, via diet and exercise approaches.

About the structure of this book

renata-taylor-byrne-lifestyle-coachWe live in a world of information overload.  And yet we need to take account of those elements of information that are newly emergent, which could make a huge difference to the quality of our lives.  For this reason, we have designed this book to minimize the information that you have to digest in order to get the essence of the revolutionary message of how to manage your emotions by managing your diet and exercise regimes. The four major subdivisions of the book are summarized in Part 5.  So, if you are in a hurry, you can skip to that part and pull out the elements that are important for you right now.

On the other hand, if you have a specific emotional problem that may be linked to your diet and exercise practices, you could jump to the relevant sections of Part 1 (diet) and Part 2 (exercise) to find out how to manage your particular emotional problem.

Next, we have expanded the index, so you can see the subsections of each of the parts of the book, and go straight to the sections that interest you most.

We have also expended a lot of time and energy (or Jim has!) constructing a highly user-friendly index, so you can quickly find those pieces of information that are of most interest to you; and use this book as a handy resource, to be picked up as and when you have questions to answer about the linkages between diet and exercise, on the one hand, and anger, anxiety and depression on the other.

And finally, we want you to be able to learn and apply the ideas that you read about in this book.  So we have added Part 6, which deals with how to turn the information in this book into durable habits which support you in your daily life!


Where this book came from

We live in a “toxic food environment”[i], in a world of sedentary lifestyle, and standards of health are falling.

For more than thirty-five years, we have been studying the emerging research on a broad range of approaches to personal and professional development, including: counselling and psychotherapy systems; lifestyle coaching options; health and fitness; and some spiritual and wisdom traditions. We were consistent about applying our learning in our own lives, and also teaching our insights to our students and counselling clients.

In 1991, I (Renata) studied for a Diploma in Stress Management, with Mike Hoolihan, at the Manchester Institute for Stress Management.  Among other things, this made me acutely aware that stress is not ‘all in the mind’.  It is a whole body-brain-mind response to external stressors.

Around the same time, I discovered some books on Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), which emphasises the ‘belief system’ of the individual, and claims that people are ‘upset by their beliefs, and not by what happens to them’.

In 1992, Jim began to use REBT on himself, to cope with a serious career crisis; and he eventually trained to be a rational therapist.

Three years later, in 1994, we both began to train in Chi Kung (Qi Gong), with Penny Ramsden – who had been trained as an instructor by Michael Tse.  Again, it was obvious from this physical training that we could calm our minds by exercising our bodies with particular kinds of movements.  And we have both been meditating since 1980, using audio-based relaxation programs, and making sure we get adequate amounts of sleep each night.

Despite our learning about the body-mind connection, from stress management, Chi Kung, relaxation and meditation, we continued to be controlled by the dominant psychological and psychotherapeutic model (as expressed in rational and cognitive therapy, and all other systems of therapy), in which the mind and body have been pulled apart and treated as separate entities. And therefore we continued to believe it was possible to help individuals who had problems with depression and anxiety, simply by talking about their beliefs, perceptions, interpretations and attitudes – regardless of how they managed their bodies.

We both continued to have this schizophrenic attitude towards the body-mind – seeing them as united (for purposes of stress management), but strongly believing them to be separate (for purposes of psychology and psychotherapy).

This schizophrenic approach fell apart in 2007, when Jim began to ‘add back the body’ to the psychological/ psychotherapeutic understanding of human disturbance.  (See the Holistic SOR model, in Byrne 2016; and the body-connection, in Chapter 3 of Byrne 2017).

This present book came about because we wanted to consolidate our understanding of the part that nutrition and exercise play in the well-being of our coaching and counselling clients, so that we can help them as much as possible; and also to inform a wider audience of a range of helpful research studies. Our overall aim is to put an end to the false assumption that the body and mind are separate entities, which can be treated in isolation from each other (by medicine, on the one hand, and by psychotherapy on the other).

Human beings are very complex; indeed the most complex entities in the known universe.  But that does not mean we cannot hope to come to understand ourselves better than we currently do.

There are, for example, some identifiable factors which contribute to the makeup of human personality; and there is now a good deal of research which needs to be added to the psychological model of the human being. We can learn to better understand our body-brain-mind interactions with our social environments, and this can enable us to understand ourselves and our clients, and to help them, and ourselves, more effectively.

For example: we are affected (emotionally and physically) by our diets; the amount of exercise we do; our self-talk (or ‘inner dialogue’); our sleep patterns; our family of origin; and all the patterns of behaviour we observed and experienced in our development; plus our current relationships, and environmental circumstances: e.g. our housing accommodation; the educational opportunities we had; our social class position; and our opportunities for employment (or earning a living).


…End of extract…


[i] Campbell and Campbell (2006), The China Study.


And here is the second page of the index:

Index extracts002


And now the second page of the contents:

Contents pages002

And next, here’s an extract from the updated Foreword, to give you an additional flavour of the content of this new book:


By Dr Jim Byrne

“Total health is the positive and vibrant state of physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health that emerges from within when all major barriers to healing are overcome”.

Dr Mark Atkinson[i]


Anger, anxiety and depression

honetpieBecause this book is about how to control your anger, anxiety and depression, we must begin by understanding those phenomena. For Aristotle, in ancient Greece, body and mind were one thing: the body was seen as the ‘substance’ and the mind (or soul) was seen as the ‘form’ that it takes in the world.  Thus a mind (or soul) should be expected to be a true expression of the state of the body, and its journey of experience through life.  And this was certainly the view taken by Hippocrates. But then, in 1639, Rene Descartes ripped the body and mind apart, and tried to suggest that they were connected through the pineal gland.  Of course, the body-mind of every individual since 1639 continued to be united, like the form and content of a flowing stream; but the world now lived in ignorance of the connection; and treated body as one ‘thing’ (to be healed by various forms of medicine), and the soul (or mind) as another ‘thing’, to be healed by spiritual ministrations, religious rites, or, in the twentieth century, by counselling and psychotherapy – and, of course, by ‘miracle drugs’.

Sigmund Freud was the first major theorist of the modern view of the ‘mind’ and emotions.  Although he was originally trained as a neurologist, and his theory of personality development is based in the evolution of the individual body over time, he did not link this to how well that body is fed, rested or exercised.  Fritz Perls, who created Gestalt Therapy, was aware of the way emotions were anchored in the body, but again, he failed to link this insight to diet, exercise, sleep, and so on. By the time Carl Rogers, Albert Ellis and Aaron Beck came along, the ‘mind’ had become completely detached from the body, in all forms of counselling and psychotherapy.

In 2016, we produced a new model of the body-brain-mind-environment complexity. (See Byrne, 2016). It’s called the Holistic SOR model, and this is how it looks:

Holistic SOR model.jpg

You will see from the central column that a person may become angry, anxious or depressed for a whole variety of reasons, when the ‘incoming stimulus’ (or experience) in Column 1 interacts with any and all the elements of Column 2, which includes diet, exercise, sleep, family history, ongoing environmental stressors, and so on.

Anger, anxiety and depression are based upon innate, inborn, ‘affects’, which have been ‘selected’ by nature to ensure our survival.  Anger (properly controlled) protects us from oppressions of various kinds.  Anxiety (properly controlled) keeps us ‘on our toes’ in terms of potential threats and dangers.  And sadness/grief helps us to come to terms with losses and failures (but can turn into ‘stuck depression’ if we fail to process those losses and failures).

The content of Column 2 above is too complex to teach in one volume.  (We know, because we tried to teach it all in Byrne, 2016!) So, therefore, in this volume, we are going to restrict our teaching to the role of diet and exercise in emotional problems.

One of the oversights in Column 2 is this: A person may present with anxiety or depression in a counselling context, and the cause may be largely (or to some significant degree) a result of an undiagnosed medical condition, like an autoimmune disease (like Celiac disease, or multiple sclerosis – [Personal communication from Julia Duffin]. And also see Footnote 10).  So, as a general principle, every counsellor and psychotherapist should make sure their clients have been checked out for physical diseases before they conclude that the problem is purely psychological.

Poverty and mental illness

It would be so easy, and so wrong, to imply in this foreword that the dynamic relationships between diet and physical exercise, on the one hand, and both mental health and emotional wellbeing, on the other, can be address as a technical problem, related to understanding the scientific information available on this subject, and nothing else.

There is, after all, no longer any doubt that people who eat an unhealthy diet and fail to get enough physical exercise are in serious danger of developing not just physical diseases, but also mental health problems, and problems of emotional distress.

In his foreword to a recent book on nutrition essentials for mental health, Dr James Lake wrote this:

“In the face of widespread and often inappropriate prescribing of powerful psychotropic medications, accumulating research evidence supports the use of a range of non-pharmacological approaches for the prevention and treatment of depressed mood, anxiety, dementia, substance abuse, and other common mental health problems.  Diet, exercise, and stress management fall under the broad heading of ‘lifestyle’ changes and, among these, diet is certainly the most important.” (Page xi of Korn, 2016)[ii].

What Dr Lake fails to say is this: …

…End of extract…


[i] Atkinson, M. (2007) The Mind Body Bible: Your personalised prescription for total health.  London: Piatkus Books.

[ii] Korn, L. (2016). Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health: A complete guide to the food-mood connection. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Summary: “This book is geared toward clinicians. It presents practical information on the complex interactions between the food one eats and how they feel, think, and interface with the world around them. It seeks to provide the information clinicians need to provide nutritional counselling that will improve their clients’ mental health and mood”.


And here is the third page of the index:

Index extracts003.jpg

That is the end of the three-page extract from the 9.25 page index.  It is a very thorough index, which should make this a very user-friendly reference work.


And now, the third page of the contents:

Contents pages003

Coming soon.  Renata has now begun her final proofreading of the entire text; and then I (Jim) will do a final edit, and then you can get this valuable resource from Amazon!