The connection between your mental and physical health

The connection between your mental and physical health

One of the most powerful symbiotic relationships that are often overlooked is the one between mental health and physical health. If you have poor physical health, it is highly likely that your mental health will decline as well. Whether it’s diabetes, obesity, or another illness your mental health is directly affected. Regardless of your range of healthiness, you can make changes that will improve your overall health. Here are a few suggestions to consider.

 

The yin-yang of physical and mental health

You already know that there is an endless list of benefits of being physically healthy. From increased energy to longevity of life, there are more pros to being in the best physical health possible. You have the power to increase the possibility of remaining healthy. Your gut is a powerhouse that keeps microbes in your body in synch. Think about the last time you felt nervous. You probably felt your stomach churn. That’s because the fight-or-flight response in your brain causes blood flow to your gut to halt or slow down. This means that your physical body is directly affected by your mental health. One will always affect the other that’s why you want to find a balance that works for you.

Activity and exercise

Good physical health starts with being active. Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood, going for a swim, or working out at the gym, keeping active is key. Have you ever felt bad after a workout? Probably not because you felt better and had more energy afterward. This is highly beneficial for your mental health. Being active releases endorphins and a host of other ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain. This flooding of chemicals can lead you to feel happier, more content, and less depressed. This healthy step for your physical self has a direct positive impact on your mental health as well.

Food and diet

Your food choices can be directly linked to how you feel. If you are having a stressful day and not feeling your best, you may reach for carbohydrate-rich foods. It seems like a cliché but think about how the media portrays an upset and emotional woman. They show her crying and eating a pint of ice cream. Doing this now and then won’t wreak havoc on your body. However, continuing to eat sugary foods will impact your physical health through weight gain and the risk of diabetes. If you eat heavy carbohydrate food, it’s less likely you will want to go for a walk after dinner. Making food choices that involve vegetables and fruit can help both you’re physical as well as mental health.

How to change both for the better?

You start by deciding and committing to make a change in your health. Knowing you want to change your habits is just the start. You have to be willing to take action. This looks different for each person. The change you may be ready to make is to commit to increasing your activity each week. Your goal for change is your personal goal, no one else’s. Keep this in mind if you begin to compare yourself to others. Deciding each day what small changes you can make add up to a significant impact.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t reach your goals every time. The goal isn’t perfection; it’s persistence. If you slip up in your quest for better health, you can start over the next day. Take time to figure out what makes you happy and brings you peace. Maybe it’s having a day off where you do something fun or creative. It’s your responsibility to do what you need to improve your physical and mental health. Once you realize the connection, you will want to continue to strive to live your healthiest life.

3 Ways to Rediscover the Joy on Your Path to Licensure

Many EPPP candidates admit that joy is hard to find during the study process. They experience a mental fatigue that can affect their attitude towards their career path as well as success on exam day. Although studying is likely the dominant factor in their mental fatigue, other circumstances can be blamed such as family trouble or stress at work.

Plenty of research on happiness has pointed to the fact that joy is created from the inside out as opposed to resulting from life circumstances. Therefore, to overcome mental fatigue and find joy, you must get outside of your own head.

Here are three ways to get out of your head and rediscover joy.

 

1. Be Healthy

Exercise is often the first item on the list that we sacrifice for additional study hours. Skipping out on the gym, however, can impact our experience of joy. Exercise releases endorphins, increases energy levels and oxygen flow to the brain, and ultimately increases memory and retention abilities. Consider exercise as part of your study routine.

Eating right is the second half of the healthy equation. Certain foods can increase your energy levels and help you focus. Eating leafy greens, for example, can make your brain function like it did when it was younger – sharper and more energized.2. Be Mindful

In short, mindfulness is purposefully paying attention to the moment. Because of our prefrontal cortex, we can observe our thinking and censor our own thoughts instead of falling victim to negative and passive thinking. Practice mindfulness by exercising moment-by-moment awareness of what is going on in your brain and body. Notice when you feel overwhelmed by EPPP study. On the flip side, notice when you are relaxed and experiencing happiness.

Mindfulness will come more easily with practice. Eventually, you may be able to tune into your emotions more quickly by recognizing how they alert your body. For example, perhaps you notice constant headaches and fatigue despite getting sufficient sleep. These are indicators that you are stressed. Through practicing mindfulness, you may be able to understand your body’s emotion indicators before you become overly stressed and eventually burnt out.

3. Be Grateful

Practicing gratitude can literally detoxify your brain. On average, we experience thousands of thoughts daily. Most of them flow into our mind quickly without us choosing to think them. Even if only a small percentage of our thoughts are negative, they can still number in the hundreds and affect our joy.

To cast out the negative thoughts, start by noticing them. Then, when you notice a negative thought, think about something or someone you are truly grateful for. Picture your beloved pet, your spouse, your child, or your career aspirations and achievements. Bringing yourself to a genuine feeling of gratitude will make the negativity vanish.

 

Further Reading

Exercise and Passing the EPPP: Why you Should Include Exercise in your EPPP Study Schedule

Brain Food: Holiday Treats to Boost Your EPPP Success

How Peace of Mind is a Skill That Can Be Developed With Practice 

The Three B’s of Mindfulness: Breath, Body and Brain

Use Gratitude to Detoxify Your Brain

Train Your Brain for Confidence on Exam Day

Exam day is often associated with anxiety. Whether the thought of taking the EPPP evokes negative emotions from test taking in your school days or more recent graduate school days, the anxiety can impact your EPPP test score.

Confidence on exam day is key to succeeding. So, how do you combat test anxiety and replace it with confidence?

Begin by understanding why the thought of test taking evokes anxiety.

Neurologically, due to your past experiences of anxiety during exams, the mere thought of test taking now ignites the feeling of anxiety in your brain’s cingulate gyrus, which is located deep in the cortex. Your brain has made an association between test taking and anxiety. Therefore, the two have been “wired” together in your brain and anxiety is now a habitual response to the thought of test taking.

To replace anxiety with confidence on exam day, your brain has some rewiring to do. Thankfully, due to the brain’s remarkable plasticity, certain associations can be reversed.

Throughout the Taylor Study Method process, you will take roughly 4,000 questions before EPPP exam day. If, during those practice questions, you stimulate the conditions of a test within the safe and relaxed environment of the TSM study process, your brain can begin to associate testing with relaxation or calmness.

In a way, TSM is providing you with 4,000 moments for your brain to adopt the habit of relaxing during an exam.

During these moments, you can actively practice desensitizing yourself to anxiety by going through stress relief strategies. To combat stress as it arises you might do a power stance, express gratitude, or focus on breathing. The more you practice stress-relief techniques and learn to relax during mock exam questions, the more your brain will remain calm at the thought of test taking.

Ultimately, by the end of the TSM study process, you will be capable of replicating your relaxed state throughout the actual EPPP exam.

And, as if reducing anxiety isn’t enough, taking 4,000 test questions before the exam has multiple benefits. Frequent testing improves memory and reinforces the information you will need to pass the EPPP. Practice tests can also reflect how well you understand the material before you take the test, so they can be an indicator of when you are ready to sit the exam.

The consequence of habitual relaxation during test taking, paired with increased memory and a surety that you’re ready, is confidence. And confidence during exam day is crucial to a passing score.

Are you interested in allowing our 4,000 test questions to help you combat test anxiety and pass the EPPP? Find out the many ways TSM can support you specifically to pass the EPPP.

For more information on how TSM can help you prepare confidently for your exam, call us at 877-510-5445.

 

Further Reading

 

 

How to Overcome Test Anxiety with help from the Russian Special Forces

It’s not what you think.  While the difficulty of Special Forces training around the world is known to be extreme, especially among the few who have actually endured it, what the Russian Spetsnaz goes through is on another level.

The stresses that such rigors impose upon those undergoing it would also likely be unbearable for them were it not for the psychological tools they are provided with to help them cope.

Where do these tools come from?  They are found within the Russian Martial Art simply known as the “System” or Systema in Russian.  While its core skills and training methods are believed to be about eleven hundred years old, it was scientifically refined into its current form in the later half of the twentieth century by Soviet researchers and engineers (think Ivan Drago’s trainers in Rocky IV).

However, the communist government restricted its knowledge and practice to only its most capable forces within the Spetznaz and KGB.  It was not until the fall of Communism that this secretive system was revealed to anyone outside of these elite units.

 

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Six Thinking Errors and How to Avoid Them

Research shows that much of what we experience in life is fundamentally ambiguous and open to a variety of interpretations. (For more about that, see our earlier article, ‘Gratitude as a Way of Seeing.’) One of the ways we make sense of life’s circumstances is by the meanings we ascribe to those circumstances. The problem arises when we impose negative meanings onto our experiences that are based on a distorted view of reality.

Psychologists who have studied human thought and communication have identified some common distortions or “thinking errors” that cause many people negatively to frame their experiences. There are many lists of these thinking errors on the internet, but below are ones I have identified as being the most common and relevant to everyday life.

 

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