Physical and mental health are more closely related than you think. One can have a significant impact on the other, whether positive or negative. Your mental health can affect your mood, response to situations, and how you process information. Mental health has two opposites of the spectrum. On one end, you can take life’s challenges in stride; on the other side, you cannot cope, function, or make it through the day without breaking down.
The good news is, your mental health is constantly changing, and you have a significant say in which direction it swings. However, it would be best to practice mindfulness to sit in the driver’s seat and gain complete control. The key is to catch the first signs of a mood swing; these can range from heightened irritability, low energy, and changes in sleep patterns. Seeing yourself right in the tracks can help stop your mental health from plummeting. However, individuals diagnosed with a disorder, such as anxiety, impulse control disorder, depression, or bipolar disorder, will need a professional to help them navigate emotions.
Physical health is correlated to the level of physical activity and nutrition an individual gets. Since physical health is visible, it gets noticed more than mental health. Consequently, the latter often goes unnoticed. However, it is monumental to understand that both work like clockwork; hence when one comes down, so can the other. Here are five ways mental health can impact physical health. Professionals looking to upskill should enroll in online masters in counseling. This course equips you with tools, concepts, and strategies to help treat patients the most effective way possible.
Weak Heart Health
Going through a roller coaster of emotions can weaken the heart over time. Excessive stress, anger, and anxiety can have a gripping effect on the heart and predispose individuals to trigger a heart attack. These unhealthy emotions signal that your heart is ready to burst open and go haywire. Pair this with an unhealthy diet loaded with oily, greasy meals, and there you have it—the perfect recipe for a heart attack or, worse, a heart failure. Therefore, managing these emotions is essential for a healthy lifestyle.
When the mind is down in the dumps, it can trigger the body to feel drained, low on energy, and tired. Individuals suffering from depression or bipolar disorder often burst out in tears, which can be emotionally and physically exhausting. Moreover, during high-stress levels, individuals can also face depression, which can weaken their immunity.
Ironically, it can also work the other way round. A weak immune system, bad health, and frequent trips to the hospital can spiral individuals into a deep depression and weaken them physically and emotionally.
Compromised Immune System
According to the World Health Organization, approximately more than 264 million individuals are victims of depression globally. This mental illness takes over the mind, body, and soul by demotivating, creating trouble sleeping, causing loss of appetite, and weakening immunity. Moreover, depression can trigger the release of cytokines, a protein that causes inflammation. Therefore, good health cannot thrive amid depression.
Eliminate depression by seeking counseling, talking about your emotions and feelings with a close confidant, journaling, repeating positive affirmations, and being mindful of negative thoughts. Instead, try lifting your spirits by actively thinking positive thoughts.
A lack of sleep can cause irritability and annoyance and even lead to poor mental health. It robs individuals of their capacity to deal with emotions healthily. Therefore, getting proper sleep should be prioritized. Individuals suffering from insomnia or sleep apnea should seek professional help. In contrast, those with mild sleep issues can benefit from creating sleep schedules, avoiding caffeine after midday, dimming lights, and relaxing before going to bed. Some great ways to promote sleep include sipping decaffeinated tea, burning lavender-scented incense, taking warm baths, and reducing screen time before hitting the bed.
Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
Lastly, individuals suffering from poor mental health, depression, and excess stress turn to harmful coping mechanisms, such as smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or self-harm. These tactics provide instant gratification but can worsen their mental health over time. Furthermore, smoking can harm lung health and lead to early signs of aging. Similarly, alcohol can lead to obesity and poor kidney health.
Instead, individuals should opt for healthy ways to cope with mental health, such as eating a nutrition-packed diet, chock-full of fresh fruits and veggies, and working out daily for at least 30 minutes. Individuals can also benefit from guided meditation, which helps relax the mind, curb thoughts from spiraling out of control, and promotes being present in the moment.
Now that we have established how your mental health can significantly impact your physical well-being, you can do plenty to improve it. Elevate your mental health by seeking help from a professional, being mindful of self-care, setting healthy boundaries for others, and having a positive inner dialogue. Take it a step further by setting aside time daily to exercise, get fresh air, and get at least eight hours of sleep. It will help to bolster the immune system, promote positivity, and promote overall well-being.
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