Mental and physical health are often thought to be separate, unrelated areas when in reality they affect each other more drastically than most people realize. Poor mental health can lead to problems with physical health, and vice versa, physical ailments can lead to issues with mental health. The sooner that we start to realize that these two are closely related, we will be a healthier society as a whole.
How Are Mental & Physical Health Related?
Mental health issues can have a devastating effect on your physical health. According to mentalhealth.org those that suffer from mental health issues are also less likely to receive the preventative medical care they need to identify physical illnesses before they become serious. Physical concerns in patients with mental health problems include heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer, and more.
Physical issues can also affect mental health without patients even realizing it. Cancer patients, for example, are typically referred to both an oncologist to treat their cancer but also a psychiatrist or counselor to help them work through the mental side effects that this type of diagnosis can cause. However, the majority of physical disease diagnoses do not come with any sort of mental health consideration.
Psoriasis is one such physical health issue that doesn’t come with any mental health consideration. Patients that suffer from psoriasis have red, flaky skin rashes on the surface of the skin which have been shown to cause anxiety, depression, relationship issues and even suicide due to embarrassment and humiliation.
There are several lifestyle factors that can impact both mental and physical health. Lifestyle can have a much larger impact than most realize, and making minor changes in your daily habits can yield amazing results.
Diet & Exercise
A balanced diet is something that so many people neglect when it comes to considering mental and physical health concerns. Eating a healthy diet, consisting of the right amount of protein, healthy fats, fiber, etc can really improve both your physical and mental health. The same can be said for an unhealthy diet as it can obviously negatively affect your physical health but it can also leave a lasting impression on your mental state.
The same can be said for exercise, as physical activity has been proven to elevate your mental state through the release of endorphins while obviously also having a positive effect on your physical state. Diet and exercise both play crucial roles when it comes to overall health.
Drugs & Alcohol
Nicotine has been proven to help increase the levels of dopamine released in your system, which is the key chemical to happiness. Therefore, those that suffer from depression or other mentally related issues turn to nicotine or other substances to make them feel better.
This type of behavior only increases the negative feelings of self-loathing, depression, addiction, etc as you become convinced that without this substance you cannot function.
Overall mental and physical health are undoubtedly tied together. As a society we have to begin to take both into account in all circumstances if we want to be able to live happy and healthy lives.
Below is an excerpt from an article in everydayhealth.com. You can find the full article by clicking the link provided.
How Should You Care for Your Emotional and Physical Well-Being?
It’s hard to do, but slowing down and simplifying routines can go a long way to strengthening your mental and physical health.
- Eat right. A healthy, regular diet is good for the body and mind.
- Go to bed on time. Losing sleep is hard on your heart, may increase weight, and definitely cranks up the crankiness meter.
- If you fall down, get back up. Resilience in the face of adversity is a gift that will keep on giving both mentally and physically.
- Go out and play. Strike a balance between work and play. Yes, work is a good thing: It pays the bills. However, taking time out for relaxation and socializing is good for your emotional health and your physical health.
- Exercise. A study published in October 2017 in Reviews in the Neurosciences shows that exercise improves your mood and has comprehensive benefits for your physical health.
- See the right doctor, regularly. Going to the right doctor can make all the difference in your overall health, especially if you have a complicated condition that requires a specialist. But if your emotions are suffering, be open to seeing a mental health professional, too.
Total health depends on a healthy mind and body. Take time to nurture both.