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.