How Mental and Physical Health Are Connected

How Mental and Physical Health Are Connected

The Connection

The body can only function as well as the mind allows. If the body is a temple, then the mind is who tends to it. The state of one’s mental health has significant sway over the way they act, process emotion, and make decisions. If one allows the care of their mental health to slip, then they’re bound to feel the physical repercussions of it over time, and that’s only short term. Long term, the effects can become greater, leading to issues such as depression and other disabilities.

The idea can be overwhelming to some. Taking care of one’s physical health can be difficult, adding a mental aspect to one’s daily regime can feel as though you’re setting yourself up for failure. Especially right now, when there are stay-at-home orders and being alone with yourself is the last item on your list of priorities.

As with many things in life, it’s easy as long as you take it one step at a time.

Understanding the How and the Why

Before knowing how to keep up with your health–whether mental or physical–it’s important to know why it’s important.

The Canadian Mental Health Association of Ontario lists the connections between mental and physical health as the following:

  • Poor mental health is a risk factor for chronic pain conditions.
  • People with serious mental health conditions are at a high risk of experiencing chronic physical conditions.
  • People with chronic conditions are at a high risk of developing poor mental health.

If you’re still skeptical as to the connection between the two, depression can directly affect the immune system by suppressing T cell responses to viruses and bacteria, making it easier to get (and stay) sick.

Lifestyle Options

If you’re afraid of the time that it will take dedicating your day to two different types of care, or if you feel guilty for allotting so much of your day for your own benefit, fret not. There are ways to merge the two.

Yoga is a great way to strengthen your muscles and improve your mind. John Hopkins Medicine released a list of nine top benefits of practicing yoga, which includes:

  • Improves strength, balance, and flexibility
  • Helps with back pain relief
  • Can ease arthritis symptoms
  • Benefits heart health
  • Relaxes you/helps you sleep better
  • Can give you more energy and brighter moods
  • Helps you manage stress
  • Connect you with a supportive community
  • Promotes better self-care

If yoga isn’t your thing, no worries. Simply disconnecting yourself from technology is a good way to ease the stress on your mind, and going out for a hike (or a walk around your neighborhood) and connecting with nature is a great way to elevate your heart rate while also easing the pressure off your overworked brain.

It’s all about balance and finding the combination that works best for you.

Take care of your mind, and take care of your body.

Take care of you.

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