The relationship between your mental health and physical health isn’t just one-way traffic. There’s a deeply interconnected bond that can either elevate your general wellness or serve as a toll on it. The spotlight on mental health has never been brighter, and it’s crucial for individuals to pay close attention to this delicate balance.
How Your Mind’s Wellbeing Influences Your Body
Have you ever considered that your mental health might be directly affecting your physical condition? The evidence is compelling. For instance, individuals dealing with mental health issues have a higher chance of developing preventable physical ailments like heart disease. Let’s delve into some of the reasons behind this complex interaction:
Genetics: The same genetic factors that make you more susceptible to mental health issues might also predispose you to physical health problems.
Low Motivation: Some mental health struggles or the medications prescribed for them can sap your energy, making it hard to muster the enthusiasm for self-care.
Concentration Challenges: Mental health conditions could make it taxing to focus, impacting your ability to schedule or keep doctor’s appointments.
Neglected Support: Sometimes healthcare providers make assumptions about your ability to change, not offering adequate support for habits like smoking or excessive drinking.
Medical Negligence: There’s a danger that your physical symptoms may be brushed aside, presumed to be a manifestation of your mental health condition. This assumption can lead to a lack of thorough medical check-ups.
Moreover, mental health issues often manifest physical symptoms. It isn’t surprising to find depression accompanied by headaches, fatigue, and digestive issues. Anxiety might upset your stomach or disrupt your sleep patterns.
Empowering Steps for Self-Care
The good news is that a mental health issue doesn’t predestine you to physical illness. You have the power to mitigate risks and encourage a healthier life. Here’s how:
Physical Activity: Exercise is like a universal remedy that’s beneficial for both mind and body. Even a brief 10-minute walk can work wonders by releasing endorphins—the body’s feel-good hormones.
Nutritious Diet: What you consume has a huge impact on your mood and overall well being. A diet rich in essential nutrients and minerals can significantly affect your mental health.
Quit Smoking: Contrary to popular belief, smoking doesn’t relieve mental health symptoms in the long term. There’s a myriad of support out there to help you quit.
Consult Your GP: If something feels off, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your GP. If you find it challenging to articulate your concerns to healthcare professionals, consider taking along a friend or relative to help you communicate more effectively.
Your mental and physical health are more intertwined than you may realise, and taking steps to improve one often benefits the other. The important thing is to start somewhere—whether it’s a brisk walk, a balanced meal, or a timely chat with your GP. Your future self will thank you.
Source: Mental Health Foundation (2022). Physical health and mental health. [online] Mental Health Foundation. Available at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/a-z-topics/physical-health-and-mental-health.