How Mental Health Affects Physical Health

There is an inextricable linkage between your physical and mental health. A slight shift in the well-being of one of them is bound to affect the other. This article discusses in detail the connection between mental wellness, its effects on the physical health of a person, and the importance to maintain a balance between the two.

According to The American Psychological Association, if you are mentally ill, your physical health will also show signs of distress. Similarly, if you are physically feeling down and weak, your mental health will also be affected. Thus, there is a strong connection between your mind and body, which affects your overall well-being.

Many people still tend to ignore the plain truth that our body’s physical health is interlinked to our mental health, and both cannot be separated. A decline in one of them causes disruption to the other. Whenever you are stressed, disturbed, or feeling emotionally low, you suffer from physical ailments that make you inactive and unhealthy. There are hundreds of studies that have demonstrated this strong connection. Researchers at Bangor University in Wales had this to say. Participants who were mentally fatigued prior to doing a difficult exercise test got exhausted quickly, as compared to those were relaxed before performing the same physical exercise text. Thus, resting before a big day of physical activity is definitely going to help you last longer through the day.

Effects of Poor Mental Health on Your Physical Well-being
» According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, poor mental health reduces the immunity of your body, making you more vulnerable to physical ailments.

» Lifestyle changes have increased stress, and other mental health problems are taking its toll on the overall well-being and health of the population. Stress has been linked to many diseases and physical ailments. Negative feelings as well as poor mental health aggravates any physical discomfort experienced by the body.

» Stress, anxiety, and depression can lead to hordes of disturbances in your physical health, such as sleep disruptions, digestion problems, back pain, headache, fatigue, etc. Stress hormones are released in the body, which may increase blood pressure and trigger anger, aggressiveness, fear, or any negative feelings. If this continues for a long time, the persistent high level of stress hormones in the body causes changes in the brain chemistry. This could culminate into heart diseases, stroke, sleep problems, headaches, and other chronic illnesses.

» Obesity is prevalent among children and adults alike, which makes them inactive, lazy, and more vulnerable to various diseases and infections. Again, if you are physically unfit, your mood changes, which makes you irritable and cranky and affects your general well-being and health.

» Intense emotions, breakups, loss of a loved one, etc., make you feel low. These stressful situations leave you depressed. If you bottle up your feelings, they tend to come out in the form of aggression, anger, rejection, etc. A person with a mental health condition is more likely to indulge in risky and unsafe actions, like substance abuse, violence, self-destruction, or suicide.

» According to the Harvard Medical School, pain is depressing, and depression causes and heightens pain. People with chronic pain are thrice at a risk of developing a mental health condition and those suffering bouts of depression are three times more at a risk of developing continuing long-term pain.

» Research has also shown that a mental health condition aggravates the physical disturbances and vice versa. It is a vicious circle, which can be broken with the right attitude and necessary treatment to overcome both these hurdles. Getting treated for only one of these may not help.
Hence, it is very important to take care of your emotions, and preserve a balance between your physical and mental health.

Maintaining a Balance Between Mental and Physical Health
» Taking care of yourself is vital in the first place. Our body gives out signals to convey that all is not well with it. Look out for these signs. Do not ignore them as they are ways of communication between you and your body.

» Venting out your feelings and indulging in an activity to relax and soothe your nerves is extremely essential. Exercising and yoga are ways through which you can keep stress at bay. Exercise reduces stress, increases blood circulation, and improves immunity.

» Studies were conducted on elderly adults who are physically fit and compared to those who were less fit. According to psychology professor Art Kramer (who led the study), “The higher fit people have a bigger hippocampus, and the people that have more tissue in the hippocampus have a better spatial memory.”

» Crying is also an excellent way of dealing with stress, grief, and other negative emotions. The emotional tears contain higher amounts of the stress hormones, which are eliminated from the body. This is the reason why crying makes you feel good.

» Indulging in your favorite hobby, like reading, traveling, trekking, cycling, etc., which you thoroughly enjoy doing, will help keep stress at bay. It will help you relax and rejuvenate.