The Connection Between Mental and Physical Health


Our mental health can affect our physical health. Our emotional wellbeing plays a vital role in our physical health. When we are overly anxious we can develop stomach aches, headaches and even muscle tension. It can adversely affect our sleep and stress levels. Depression can also cause us to stop taking proper care of ourselves and we can lose the motivation to exercise and eat right. Many people with depression also tend to be less physically active and make poor food choices because they don’t feel like eating.

Does it really matter that we’re depressed or stressed? Yes, it does! When we’re depressed, it can affect our moods, we have decreased energy levels, and we may feel like doing nothing. Also, when we’re stressed it can affect our sleep patterns and make us feel sluggish. Physical symptoms of depression and stress can range from headaches and digestive issues to even heart problems. Plus, the effects of chronic stress can lead to sleep problems and make it difficult to control weight.

The good news is that your mental health can improve over time. There are many reasons why this is possible, and your physical health may improve in some way as well. The key to feeling better physically is to make a change and find ways to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Below are some ways that you can improve your physical health, while also supporting your mental wellbeing at the same time.

1. Start an exercise routine. Physical exercise is an important part of improving your mental health. When you’re stressed out and busy, it can be easy to get away with skipping exercise. However, exercising can help you feel refreshed, energized, and focused. It can help reduce stress and decrease your risk of depression and stress-related illnesses. Even just 10 minutes of exercise a day can make a huge difference. It’s really as simple as taking a walk or getting active in other ways. If you can’t do physical activity, try getting more sleep and eating better. Sleep deprivation has been shown to affect a person’s ability to lose weight, and poor eating habits can also be a factor. Also, make time for yourself to exercise, and consider your schedule and constraints before you commit to exercising. If you can’t exercise at the same time every day, try scheduling your workouts into your week so you can fit it into your routine.

2. Go easy on the diet. Stress can have a negative impact on our diets. When we’re stressed, we tend to grab fast food, overeat, and eat in front of the television. When we make poor food choices, we don’t feel like exercising or taking care of ourselves. If you feel like you can’t fit in exercise every day or want to avoid foods that may cause you to be depressed or stressed, try keeping a food diary to track what you eat. Make sure that you eat well and that you’re getting plenty of fruit, vegetables, and healthy fats.

3. Ask for help. Maybe it seems like this should go without saying, but it’s true! Getting support from your family, friends, or co-workers can make a huge difference in your physical and mental health. Your people don’t want you to be stressed and they want you to be well, too! Seek out the support that you need so that you can give yourself permission to take care of yourself. The support you need may be different for everyone, and it may require different forms.

4. Sleep. Sleep deprivation can be a major factor in how we feel physically and emotionally. Not getting enough sleep can lead to an increased risk of depression and anxiety. Getting enough sleep will help you to feel refreshed and energized. Sleeping on a regular schedule is also important because if you are getting enough sleep, your body will start to adapt and you won’t feel sleepy so often.

5. Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Cigarettes and alcohol are both harmful to your mental health. Even a small amount of smoking or drinking can make your mental health worse. Smoking is linked to depression, anxiety, and stress. Drinking alcohol is linked to depression and anxiety, as well as heart disease, liver disease, and some cancers. Make an effort to limit or stop either one.

6. Be gentle on yourself. Don’t expect to be perfect at everything, and don’t beat yourself up about mistakes or failures. It’s important to give yourself a break. This will keep you from becoming overwhelmed and allow you to take a deep breath and start over.

7. When you need to cry, cry. Reaching a breaking point will make us feel better about ourselves when we have a good cry. If you’re able to cry when you’re feeling stressed, it can be a powerful way to release stress and unwind. You might cry because you’re so stressed or because something happened to you that upset you. You can cry if you want to or you can allow yourself to have a good cry.

8. Pay attention to your feelings. When you are feeling anxious, pay attention to what you’re feeling and where it’s coming from. Are you worried about paying the bills or moving out? Are you missing your family or your children? Are you stressed because your workload is increasing or because you feel like your family is falling apart?

9. Do something for yourself that brings you joy. Spend time on an activity that brings you joy and helps you relax and get ready for the rest of the day. Yoga, shopping, cooking, or watching a movie can all make you feel better and less stressed.

10. Give yourself a moment of peace. When you are having an anxiety attack, it is very common for you to try to fix everything. This can be a dangerous way to cope with your emotions. Instead, take a moment to be still and calm your thoughts. Find a place where you feel comfortable and quiet your mind. Meditation is a great way to calm your mind and feel better about yourself. Meditation and breathing exercises can help to bring calmness to your mind.

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