What Is The Connection Between Physical & Mental Health?
Published on 7th December, 2022
There is a fundamental connection between mental and physical health. Various mental and physical health conditions are strongly associated, affecting people's quality of life, demanding health care and other publicly funded services, and affecting society.
Living a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life starts by understanding how your physical and mental health is connected and optimising both. It is possible to improve your physical health with good mental health. At the same time, having good physical health can also improve your mental health.
Effects of mental health on physical health
There are various ways in which poor mental health can affect your physical health. You will have trouble thinking clearly, making healthy decisions, and fighting off chronic diseases when you have poor psychological health.
Your mental health plays a huge role in your general well-being. Being in a good mental state can keep you healthy and help prevent serious health conditions (“WebMD”, 2021). It is possible to develop severe health conditions and problems due to neglecting your mental well-being over time, including high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, weakened immune system, and more. In depression, signalling pathways in the brain fail to function correctly, leading to fatigue, sleeping problems, and unexplained aches and pains. As a result of exercise, new neurons grow in key brain areas, including the hippocampus. Some research suggests that this may play a role in relieving symptoms of some psychiatric conditions, including depression and anxiety (Star, 2021).
It is recommended to seek professional psychotherapy services to improve your state of mental health and improve your physical health as well.
Effects of physical health on mental health
You will inevitably reach a point where you will realise why you should not take your health for granted. For example, if a person breaks their leg and cannot walk without help, they would constantly think about how great it would be to walk again.
In the same way, when someone is diagnosed with a severe illness, such as cancer, heart attack, stroke, or other serious medical conditions, maintaining an optimistic outlook can be challenging, and feeling out of control, hopelessness, and rumination could result in tipping over into feeling depressed. In addition to impairing one's general health, depression can cause one to feel stuck in a rut, making it difficult to get out.
How to take care of your mental and physical health
To improve your general well-being, here are some ways you can take care of yourself physically and mentally:
- Eat a proper diet
In addition to improving your gut health and mood, you can reduce your risk of developing health conditions and boost your morale by cutting out things like fast food, soda, and tons of sugar.
- Exercise regularly
A positive outlook is easier to achieve when you engage in small amounts of physical activity. Regular exercise can help you lose weight and increase your energy and stamina. It is easier to accomplish more tasks daily when you are not battling aches and pains. Exercising is also recommended for improving your mood and boosting endorphin levels (Julson, 2022). Exercise is also a promising first-line treatment option for mild-to-moderate depression and can aid in reducing depressive symptoms when used with antidepressants (Rethorst et al., 2009).
- Get enough sleep
Sleep has restorative power and evidence shows that sleep enhances memory and improves attention (Gumbiner, 2012). It is recommended that adults sleep six to eight hours each night. During the day, you can also take a 30-minute nap to feel more alert. However, mental health issues, especially anxiety, can make sleep challenging. It is recommended to get support from professionals if you are having trouble with getting enough sleep.
- Seek help from others
Seeking help from others when you are in a difficult situation can help reduce your burden. Conversation with a friend or family can help you feel less stressed. If you feel uncomfortable sharing your worries with people close to you, consider seeking professional advice from adult counselling services in Singapore.
It is important to note what makes you feel good inside and out. It is normal for people to need assistance managing their psychological health, even if they follow a healthy lifestyle. Some people tend to prioritise physical health over mental health or vice versa when both should be equally maintained and taken care of.
WebMD Editorial Contributors. (2021). How Does Mental Health Affect Physical Health https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/how-does-mental-health-affect-physical-health
Star, K. (2021). The Mental Health Benefits of Physical Exercise https://www.verywellmind.com/physical-exercise-for-panic-disorder-and-anxiety-2584094
Julson, E. (2022). 10 Best Ways to Increase Dopamine Levels Naturally https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-increase-dopamine
Rethorst, C.D., Wipfli, B.M., & Landers, D.M. (2009). The antidepressive effects of exercise: a meta-analysis of randomized trials. Sports Med. 39, 491–511
Gumbiner, J. (2012). Why Sleep Is Important https://www.psychologytoday.com/sg/blog/the-teenage-mind/201202/why-sleep-is-important