Although mental and physical health are both important for our general good health, the relationship between the two can sometimes be overlooked. Mental and physical health are closely intertwined. The WHO says that health is the state of total biological, social, and mental health that surpasses just falling sick.
Mental illness is more than sadness or anxiety; it includes a range of psychological red flags, from disordered mood to abnormal behaviour.
Maintaining good mental health, on the other side, can help you stay healthy and prevent major health issues.
In this article, we will be discussing the impact of mental health and physical health on each other. We will also find ways to combat poor mental and physical health problems.
The Influence Of Mental Health On Physical Health
Your mental well-being has a significant impact on your overall health. Being mentally healthy can help you stay healthy and prevent serious medical issues. According to one study, good mental health can lower the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
On the other side, poor mental well-being can cause bad habits or bad physical well-being. It interferes with your ability to reason, makes informed choices, and combat chronic diseases. Neglecting your mental health could lead to serious health issues and conditions over time.
#1. Chronic Illnesses
Depression and Anxiety are connected to many chronic diseases. For instance, Asthma, Diabetes, Arthritis, Cardiovascular disease, and Cancer. Obesity and a weakened immune system can also be a result of mental illness.
In addition, schizophrenia is often associated with a higher risk of breathing and heart problems.
Managing a chronic illness is also challenging for people with poor mental health. People with depression or other mental health issues have a greater likelihood of cancer and heart disease-related deaths.
#2. Sleep Complications
Sleep disorders like sleep apnea or insomnia are found to be common in people who have poor mental health. Depression, one of the most prevalent mental illnesses, can lead to exhaustion and sleep issues.
People might find it difficult to go to sleep or stay asleep when they have insomnia. There are also certain breathing issues that arise due to sleep apnea. These can make people wake up regularly.
Around 75% of adults suffer from depression-induced insomnia. According to studies, 15% of those with hypersomnia and 20% of those with depression have obstructive sleep apnea.
In addition to that, sleep problems also tend to aggravate pre-existing psychological health problems.
Dopamine levels are lower in those who are depressed. Many positive emotions are regulated by dopamine in the brain. Smoking is used to counter the symptoms of depression because the nicotine in cigarettes causes the dopamine chemical to be produced.
Due to that, people having mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, depression, or anxiety are far more likely to smoke.
However, because nicotine only provides short-term relief, you can experience a constant urge to smoke. Thus resulting in more frequent and excessive smoking, which leads to severe addictions.
In addition to that, those with mental illnesses tend to die 10 to 20 years sooner than people without. It has been found that smoking is a significant factor in this imbalance in life expectancy.
Also, some antipsychotic medications and antidepressants must be taken in bigger doses because smoking impairs their effectiveness.
#4. Accessing Health and Self-Care
Access to quality healthcare is less likely to be available to people who suffer from mental health issues.
Those with mental health issues may find it more challenging to maintain their physical health. It may be tough to seek treatment or remember to take your medication on time when you have a mental health condition.
You may also have a harder time cooking or eating balanced meals, or staying active. This may raise the likelihood of developing another illness.
Physical Health Issues That May Have an Impact on Mental Health
Your mental health is influenced by your physical well-being as well. While managing diseases like cancer, diabetes, or psoriasis, maintaining excellent mental health is frequently neglected.
Mental health issues might arise in people with physical health issues. For instance, psoriasis, which is a dermatological condition, causes red and painful blisters on a person’s body. Depression and severe stress are often connected to it. People with psoriasis endure severe psychological and physical symptoms which might negatively affect their overall health or quality of life.
Anxiety or depression might also result after receiving a cancer diagnosis or suffering from heart attacks. Many people that have severe medical conditions (one-third of them) will experience depressive symptoms like fatigue, and disturbed sleep. They may even start losing interest in various activities.
Fostering a Healthy Body and Mind
The greatest approach to care for your mind is through therapy, but managing your mental well-being is only one aspect of your overall health. If you want to improve your overall health, you should start taking care of both your physical and mental health.
Here are some methods for fostering a healthy body and mind:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Keeping your weight under control not only enhances your quality of life, but also reduces your chance of a variety of ailments, including heart disease, blood pressure issues, and high cholesterol. Finding the correct balance of physical activity and health-conscious eating can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
- Prioritize Exercise: Exercise on a regular basis has a number of positive effects on your health, including elevating endorphin levels and enhancing joint mobility. If you have a busy schedule, make time for physical activity by riding to work or taking a quick stroll. If cardio isn’t your thing, strength training is a terrific way to build muscle strength and also improve your mental health.
- Balanced Diet: Diets high in processed, high-calorie foods have been related to illness and psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. Avoid missing meals, and load up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats. If you’re having trouble eating a balanced diet, talk to your physician about taking vitamins.
- Avoid alcohol or drugs: While drinking and smoking may help you feel better in the short term, they can be harmful to your physical and mental health. People who suffer from depression are more likely to feel calmer and more cheerful after quitting smoking and drinking, as well as have a higher quality of life. Research shows that quitting smoking can have the same long-term effect on anxiety and depression symptoms as taking antidepressants. It basically helps reduce your anxiety, despair, and stress levels.
- Get good sleep: When your body feels good, it’s simpler to deal with stressful circumstances. Avoiding electronic devices an hour before bedtime is an excellent approach to achieving restful sleep. The CDC states that young adults require 8-10 hours of sleep per night while adults need 7 to 9 hours. You can also boost your concentration by grabbing a 30-minute nap during the day.
- Attempt relaxation techniques: When you are stressed, deep breathing, and focusing your thoughts can all help improve your mood. Things like meditation and prayer have also been found to assist. PubMed states that spirituality and mindfulness activities can help heal stress, resulting in better physical and mental health. Mindfulness can be as easy as decluttering your thoughts in a dark room or using an app that guides you through deep relaxation.
- Cultivate good mental practices: Try focusing on happy thoughts and experiences instead of negative ones. Journaling is a good practice that helps make your thoughts and emotions visible. Studies have shown that when you can actually see a problem it results in a faster solution. Besides that, it helps you to come to terms with your emotions and by extension yourself.
- Seek help and communicate: Go out with friends, discuss hobbies, and talk to them. Talking with loved ones or friends can help you unwind. Having others support you in difficult times can also lessen the pressure you feel.
Besides that, you can try things like occupational therapy or support groups. You may also want to consider medical treatment through a licensed therapist.
Chronic illnesses and depression are mutually exclusive. People with chronic illnesses sometimes struggle with mental health issues such as depression. However, depression too appears to raise the chances of physical sickness.
The causes are complex, involving a mixture of physiological, mental, and socio-environmental factors. For instance, bad sleeping habits, smoking, and chronic illnesses are both caused by mental illnesses and simultaneously lead to poor mental health conditions.
However, there are certain practices that can improve both physical and mental health conditions. While certain health disorders are lifelong, depression does not have to be.
Maintaining a healthy weight, balancing your diet and regular exercise are great places to start. Besides that, you can also practice mindfulness and journaling.
Avoiding alcohol and drugs is a good way to stay healthy. Most importantly, speaking to people and maintaining good relations is bound to boost your physical and mental well-being.
If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulties in maintaining good mental health, then you can speak to a licensed medical professional.
What are some ways that you use to combat stress? How do you deal with fostering a healthy body and mind? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Shristi is a content writer and owner of F and B Recipes. She enjoys trying different types of Indian curries or writing about trending vintage aesthetic outfits. Formerly the Chief Content Officer at Raletta, she is currently working on her second cookbook.
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