Mental health refers to cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being. It revolves around how people feel, think, and behave. It has an impact on daily living, physical health, and relationships.
On the other hand, physical health refers to the well-being of the human body and the effective functioning of organs. In the past, people defined physical health as a state where the body is free of illness or disability. People maintain physical health through proper nutrition and physical exercise. Good physical health reduces our susceptibility to ailments and helps us recover faster.
Physical health and mental health share a cyclical relationship with a link based on primary chemistry. External factors can have an impact on your mood. The feelings associated with our emotions, however, come from our transmitters and hormones. These chemicals dictate to the brain when to feel sad or happy, increase to reduce adrenaline and control the internal reward system. Because of this, physical changes in our brain’s chemistry, such as serotonin or dopamine deficiency, can result in mental illness.
Our mental health can also impact our bodies positively or negatively. According to a study from Oxford University, severe mental illnesses can lower the lifespan of a human being by an average of 10 to 20 years. Understanding the logic behind the value is complicated, but it has to do with the connection between physical illness and mental illness. Below are some of the most popular links:
The good news is most of the techniques we use to uphold and improve our physical health also improve our mental health. Practices such as maintaining nutritious diets, maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, and exercising regularly can help balance the chemistry in the brain. Activities that offer mental benefits such as social interaction and meditation can reduce stress hormones in our bodies.
How are mental health and physical health connected? This is one of the most common questions researchers have been asking themselves over the years. The answer, as you would expect, is quite complicated. However, studies show that mental illness affects physical health both indirectly and directly.
Depression does not just have an impact on motivation and mood. It can also affect the immune system by suppressing the response of T cells to bacteria and viruses. With the suppressed T-cell response, you get sick quickly and feel sick for longer. A weak immune system can also result in more severe allergies or asthma symptoms. Chronic stress triggers an immune-inflammatory response in the brain waves that can lead to depression.
Anxiety, depression, and similar mood disorders can result in constant exhaustion and tiredness. Mental tiredness often results in physical tiredness. Mental illness goes hand-in-hand with fatigue, and continuous tiredness can result in deteriorating physical health. People suffering from chronic depression and anxiety are less likely to take part in exercise. Fatigue caused by mental illness also affects basic hygiene and increases one’s susceptibility to disease.
Maintaining a healthy balance between your physical and mental health takes work, but can quickly become a habit with a few simple lifestyle changes.
Self-care refers to any actions one takes to improve or preserve their current mental health or mental state. Self-care is essential in setting healthy boundaries and improving the ability to put up with life’s stresses. It includes creating a solid sleep schedule, increasing the amount of time spent outside, and scheduling time for healthy activities.
You can only benefit from self-care if you also work on improving your physical health. Limiting screen time goes a long way in improving physical health. A lot of screen time typically means you live a more sedentary lifestyle. Technology is here to stay, so you cannot totally get rid of screen time. However, you can find ways to consume media in moderation.
Adopting healthy eating habits also helps improve physical health. Take time to learn more about the food you eat and how nutrition affects your body. With a little work, it’s easy to find a healthy diet that appeals to your preferences. Healthy diets improve the immune system and keep you energized, which is reflected in your mental state.
All in all, your mental health and physical health share a strong connection, and one affects the other. This is evident when discussing the link between chronic depression and fatigue and how depression affects the immune system. However, you can improve the balance between the two by improving your mental health through self-care and improving physical health by limiting screen time, sticking to healthy eating habits, and exercising regularly.