The relationship between physical and mental health is an important one and they are interlinked. People with poor mental health usually experience poor physical health, and people with poor physical health usually experience poor mental health.
The Relationship Between Physical and Mental Health
How Mental Health Can Affect Physical Health
When you are in a good state of mental wellbeing, a hormone called dopamine is released in your brain. Dopamine is often referred to as the happy hormone. This occurs when people are in a happy state of mind and overall well-being. The happy feeling produces feelings of joy, pleasure, and excitement about life.
This state of mind is wonderful because when people feel good, there is excess energy that comes along with the feeling of well-being. When people are happy they tend to take care of themselves better by eating correctly, partaking in physical activities, and having more balance and structure in their daily lives.
Being in a poor, or negative, state of mental wellbeing can have a big impact on a person’s physical wellbeing. In most cases, people with mental health conditions just don’t feel like doing anything that involves using energy. Chronic illnesses and diseases like depression, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and heart disease can be directly linked to poor physical health. Poor mental health can also affect sleeping patterns which can lead to insomnia and sleep apnea.
How to Improve Mental Health
Physical exercise is great for mental and physical health. Aerobic activities release endorphins which in turn reduce anxiety and depression. Endorphins are another hormone that gives the mind and body an overall feeling of wellbeing. There are other options available if physical exercise is not an option for you:
- Practice mindfulness, be present and enjoy each moment you are in.
- Connect with people, get to know people, hang out with friends who will uplift you.
- Humor is vital, so laugh more, and bring some light into your life.
- Learn something by taking a course.
- Try something artistic and create something you can enjoy, such as artwork or pottery.
- Help someone else, we always feel good when we help another person.
How Physical Health Affects Mental Health
Regular physical activity can help improve your overall quality of life, physically and mentally. Exercising regularly helps reduce stress levels, anxiety, and depression. The dopamine and endorphin hormones are released when both physical and mental health is in balance.
Physical activities do not always have to involve aerobic, high-impact exercises. A walk around the neighborhood or a yoga or pilates class will suffice. Any exercise that leaves you feeling relaxed and releases the feel-good endorphin hormone will also help ease sleep difficulties and insomnia. Exercise improves blood flow and takes your mind off any worries that you might have. Concentrating on your activity gives your mind the break your mind needs.
Benefits of Physical Exercise
- Builds up and strengthens your immune system
- Improves the circulation of your blood
- Lowers high blood pressure
- Helps with cholesterol
- Boosts self-image
Physical exercise leads to lower stress levels and can help boost mental fatigue and memory. Exercise gives a sense of achievement which is an instant motivator and keeps you focused on doing more. This leads to an improvement in mental health which leaves a person feeling better about themselves, more driven, and wanting to exercise more often. The best thing to do if you or someone you know is in a poor mental state is to start with a few small steps of exercise to get back on track.
Additional Information: Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms – Mayo Clinic
SAGE Counseling Omaha
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