When most people think of maintaining their physical health, things like diet, exercise, and routine doctor’s visits come to mind. And while these factors are important, you must also understand and keep in mind how your mental state can either negatively or positively impact your physical well being. Believe it or not, your mental state and maintaining a positive mind frame can greatly affect your physical well being in a variety of ways. On the flipside, if you’re not healthy physically, it can lead to mental health issues. Read on to discover 5 ways that your mental and physical health work together to help create a positive and healthy lifestyle.
The Belief that Bad Habits Relieve Stress
Smoking. Drinking. Drug abuse. Sadly, many people use these unhealthy habits to treat both mental and physical conditions. Many people believe that smoking cigarettes cuts down their cravings for unhealthy foods and helps them maintain a healthier weight. While smoking cigarettes is a habit that some people turn to instead of searching for a snack, it’s creating a long list of additional, and potentially worse, medical complications including lung cancer, respiratory issues, and yellowing teeth and skin. The same holds true for alcohol and drug abuse. People adopt these habits to relax or escape from stress and other negative triggers in their lives.
Sadly, these substances are only a temporary fix for mental anguish and in the meantime, are damaging your body. Alcoholism destroys your liver, heart, pancreas, lungs, and bones, just to name a few. Depending on the type of drug used, illegal substances can lead to overdose, heart disease, and damage to most major organs. There’s also the risk of addiction, which can cause additional mental disorders and isolation from friends and family. Another factor to consider is the effect that substances like nicotine and illegal drugs have on the brain. Users will experience a slight spike in their dopamine levels, which elicit feelings of happiness and positivity. The problem with this is that the body quickly loses the ability to create this feeling on its own, resulting in addiction and dependency. So the belief that these unhealthy habits can help combat mental health issues is a false security and the opposite is actually true. These substances will only create additional issues for both your mental and physical health.
Mental Health Disorders that Impact Your Health
If you’re suffering from a current mental disorder, it can negatively impact your health in a variety of ways. That’s why mental and physical health are so closely connected. Certain mental health issues are associated with specific medical conditions. In fact, serious mental health conditions can actually shorten a person’s lifespan by as much as 20 years. For example, those suffering from schizophrenia are at greater risk for heart disease and nearly three times more likely to die from respiratory complications. Another risk for schizophrenia patients is osteoporosis, which is characterized by low bone mass, resulting in easier fractures and breaks.
Probably the most common types of mental health disorder that affects your physical well-being are depression, stress, and anxiety. Millions of individuals report feeling stressed, anxious, and depressed at one time or another. Common causes of these conditions include relationship trouble, financial pressure, family turmoil, or tragedy. While some of these triggers are short lived, others can last for months or even years. The longer a person struggles with these mental conditions, the greater their chances are of suffering the physical side effects. Some common side effects cause by depression and stress include:
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Rapid heartbeat
- Frequent illness
- Low sex drive
- Aches and pains
These physical ailments are extremely common in depressed and stressed individuals. Maintaining a positive mindframe and optimistic attitude can help combat some of the mental triggers that cause stress and depression in the first place. Just like physical exercise strengthens your body, fostering your mental health will make you mentally stronger. Things like yoga, meditation, and understanding the Reticular Activating System can all lead to positivity and success in life, which help maintain your physical well-being.
Leading a healthy life isn’t just about diet and exercise or about positive thinking. In order to be the best version of yourself, you need to understand how these two elements work together and help support and foster both in your life.
Article Submitted By Community Writer