What is Green Zone and What inspired its Creation?

As a student of psychotherapy and a practicing therapist, I realized that most books on mental health were written for health professionals. However, I wanted to write books for the average person who suffers from anxiety and depression, and marital and family problems. I was interested in creating a self-help program to focus on emotional and relationship issues. The Green Zone Philosophy and Green Zone Books are the result of that wish and our gift to our patients and their families.

Green Zone Philosophy inspires people to create a happy, healthy and peaceful lifestyle for themselves and for their dear ones, that we call Green Zone Living. In one sentence, Green Zone Living is peaceful living. The Green Zone Philosophy has already helped so many people through our clinic. In our community there are many doctors and nurses, psychiatrists and social workers, who refer their patients to our Green Zone Clinic. No wonder we have nearly a one year waiting list.

One benefit of the Green Zone Book Series is that people who are on our waiting list or who visit our website, www.greenzoneliving.ca can start reading our books even before they see us in therapy, so that when they see us, they are more equipped to do their work and engage in Green Zone Therapy.

How it all started
Wise people say that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. So a couple appeared in our clinical practice that became my teachers. As a creative writer, I am used to eureka experiences, some minor, some major. Such experiences are magical as they bring us profound insights about life.
So let me share the story of a couple that became a major eureka and offered me some profound insights into life, human suffering and healing.
This couple was married for ten years and had a five year old son. They struggled with domestic violence. The husband would get angry and become abusive. He shouted insults and belittled his wife. Finally, she had enough and gave him an ultimatum, to get professional help or she would leave. So they went to see their family doctor who referred them to our clinic, the way he had referred other couples.
During my assessment the husband told me that he loved his wife and wanted to change but he did not know how. He shared that he had a poor role model as a child as he saw his father being abusive to his mother. He wanted to break that cycle of violence but he needed some professional help.
During the second interview when he was talking very affectionately about his son, I asked him,
“What do you want to see for your son?”
He said, “I want to see him grow up as a prince.”
I responded, “If you want your son to become a prince, you have to treat his mother like a queen. If you treat her like a slave, your son will never become a prince.”
Hearing my comments, he smiled and I felt a special connection with him. I knew I could help him.
In the next session when he was telling me how he got angry and lost control, I looked right in his eyes and asked,
“When you are driving and you see a yellow light, what do you do?”
“I put my foot on the accelerator.” He honestly replied.
“Why is that?” I was curious.
“Because I am always in a hurry. In a hurry to go to work. In a hurry to pick up my son from the babysitter. In a hurry to get home.”
I said, “A wise man puts his foot on the brake, not on the accelerator.”
Hearing this, his pupils dilated and I could see my words touched him deeply. Building on the driving analogy, I continued, “When you start to get angry, you are in your Yellow Zone. You need to leave the room and wait until you are back in your Green Zone.”
After two weeks when his wife came for her session, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there had been a significant improvement in his behaviour. In the next few months, he worked hard to control his temper and became more affectionate and loving with his wife. Finally he was able to save his marriage and transform his breakdown into a breakthrough. I was quite impressed by his progress.
That experience made me wonder about the effectiveness of using the traffic lights to symbolize the emotional states. It is visual. It is immediate. It connects a well know symbol, such as the traffic lights with our Emotional Zones.
So I tried that concept with a second couple, a third couple, a fourth couple and I was so happy to see it work, even with couples who had serious emotional problems. Over the years it developed into the Green Zone Book Series, a series of 6 books focusing on different expects of emotional and relationship health.

So, what is the Green Zone?
According to the Green Zone Philosophy, we all live in three Emotional Zones – Green, Yellow and Red – just like the traffic lights.
In our Green Zone, we are relaxed, happy and enjoying life. When we are somewhat upset, sad or frustrated, we are in our Yellow Zone. And when we become very depressed, angry or lose control, we are in our Red Zone. The more we are able to become aware of our Emotional Zones, the more we are able to spend time in a peaceful Green Zone.
If you wish to read more about the Green Zone, you can find our books on Amazon Kindle.


Dr. K. Sohail
MBBS FRCP (Canada)

16 thoughts to “What is Green Zone and What inspired its Creation?”

  1. Contemporary, Web-based help is exciting to say the least! Access to behavioral health professionals is the key to success . Speaking from experience , this site is just another example Dr Sohail’s open mindedness . Receiving help right from where you are removes the fear out of asking for it .
    I want to express my sincere gratitude for the contribution Dr Sohail and his team have made toward saving my relationship,family and enhancing my life. I do appreciate the patience and direction given. His advice is valuable and has given me a new perspective . My family and I were lucky enough to see the value of waiting “until you are back in your Green Zone” to save our relationship.

    1. Dear Sam, Your comments will inspire others to take the first step to get the help they need. Thanks for your comments.
      Dr Sohail

  2. So happy to see your blog. Thank you so much. I’ve really missed you and Bette and the group. This blog gives me a sense of being connected to all of you. Susan

    1. Dear Susan, It is so wonderful to re-connect. We are hoping the Blog will create a Green Zone Community. Stay in touch. Peacefully, Dr. Sohail

  3. Dr, Sohail I am so happy that you are now sharing this information. I know as one of your clients that it has helped me in all areas of relationships. This blog is a new venue to reach people that do not yet have this information. I am thrilled to watch it in its infancy and see how it grows. best always FB

    1. Dear Florance, I am sure the more you will share your wisdom with others on Blog, the more people will get enlightened. Helping others is one way of helping ourselves. I believe growing together is better than growing alone. Thanks for your support and inspiration. Peacefully, Dr. Sohail

  4. Great piece, explains the spectrum of moods in terms of easy to visualize zones. How can we avoid the causes that push us to the wrong zones?

    1. Dear Jahanzeb, The more we recognize our emotional triggers the more we are able to find ways to cope with them in a healthy way. Peacefully, Dr. Sohail

      1. Very correct. One should always keep an eye of our subconscious mood swings in order to be able to regulate them better.

        What should be our policy towards sources of negativity outside of our personality on which we don’t have a direct control?

        1. Dear Jahanzeb, You asked an important question. When we become aware of a Red Zone person or situation that triggers us, we can avoid it if possible or wear an EMOTIONAL RAINCOAT when we have to face it. I used to get upset when I encountered busy traffic in the evening as I was worried I would get late and my friends would be waiting for me. The traffic was out of my control. So now I call my friends before I leave home and listen to CDs of my favourite singers – Kenny G, Kenny Rogers and Abida Perveen – when I am stuck in traffic. It helps me deal with the Red Zone traffic. So for each person and situation we need to find a Green Zone solution or create an Emotional Raincoat.
          Thank for your continued interest in our Blog. In the next few days you will get our 3rd Blog. Stay tuned.

  5. “In our Green Zone, we are relaxed, happy and enjoying life” If so then can I term Green Zone as normal state of a person where he is not ” somewhat upset, sad or frustrated” or beyond. If yes then how you describe consistent pursuit of even more happiness, pleasure seeking using extreme measures, relaxing by doing nothing. Can it be called Dark Green Zone

    1. Dear Interested, Thank you for your interest in different shades of Green Zone. When I am very excited and happy I call it Bright Green Zone rather than Dark Green Zone [ for Dark has a negative connotation] but you are more than welcome to name your emotional zone so that you can recognize it. Green Zone Philosophy makes us self aware to develop more self control. Peacefully, Dr. Sohail

  6. Just a Question, when we are thinking, reviewing, analyzing, planning, and implementing, which zone are we in? Give the out of box answer please.

    1. Dear Iffat, It depends what we are thinking and planning. If we are planning a loving gift for a loved one we are in our Green Zone but if we are thinking violent and angry thoughts and planning an act of revenge, we are in our Red Zone. We have a choice. Don’t we? Peacefully, Dr. Sohail

  7. Thank you for writing on this subject. I understand that people often need to change the way they see things, and that most conflicts include more than one person. It is one thing to change yourself, but where do you start in encouraging others to seek help? Can an individual help a loved one see the value of waiting “until you are back in your Green Zone”?

    1. Dear DJ, I have met many couples who have regular weekly meetings to review their week so that they can create a peaceful Green Zone Relationship together. They agree to give each other time and space to recover. They know that Green Zone Communication takes place when both parties are in the Green Zone. Peacefully, Dr. Sohail

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