We often treat our physical and mental health as separate entities. In reality, both are linked and are equally important. These two types of health are two halves of the same whole and deserve an equal amount of respect. Below are just three ways that these two types of health are equal.
Your Mind Keeps You Motivated
Your mental health and emotional intelligence are responsible for a great deal of your life. For example, your emotional intelligence and mental well-being are the biggest part of what drives you to stay motivated. This means that the health of your brain will largely guide how well you stick to a diet, whether you get out and exercise, or even whether you feel like getting up to go see the doctor. If you don’t take care of your mental health, you might find that you can’t get your physical health back on track. If your physical health is failing, other problems may arise.
Motivation isn’t just about fitness goals and illness, though. You may find yourself in hot water with work, school, and even family if you aren’t keeping up with your schedule. Losing a job or failing a class can only make depression, anxiety, and lethargy worse, forming a dangerous downward spiral for your life. Even if you aren’t feeling your worst, get help before things are out of control.
Physical Health Can Impact Mental Health
How you feel might have a great deal to do with how your body is reacting to the environment around it. A gas leak in your home can lead to feelings of paranoia, for example, or an insufficiency in a particular vitamin can leave you feeling lethargic. In many cases, the way the body processes physical problems is to create an emotional response. When you are in better health, you have a better chance of being able to deal with mental/emotional issues—and a good chance of being able to avoid some of the emotional baggage that comes with physical illness.
In addition to passive responses to nutrition and illness, physical health can be used actively to improve mental health. Exercise of almost any kind has been proven to improve your mood by releasing endorphins. Even a short walk around the block can be a boost to a tough day. Eating healthy can also help. When you eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, and keep your vitamin levels up, your body will have more energy, a strong immune system, and just feel better in general, all of which provide a buffer against illness and mental distress.
Mental Health Can Lead to Physical Ailments
Of course, the reverse is also true. If you have a major mental issue it will take a toll on your body. Depression, for example, is often cited as a major reason for weight gain or weight loss. Anxiety can manifest itself not only in feelings of nervousness but in higher blood pressure. The body is very often the plaything of the mind and thus your physical health will follow that of your mental health. In such cases, it’s often necessary to see a counselor as well as a doctor to return to health. Health information professionals (often doctors and nurses who earn a health information management degree online) often check both physical and mental health before they make a treatment plan.
As with physical health, positive mental health can be used actively to improve your physical health. Many of the practices often suggested for those with depression or anxiety disorders can help you live a healthier lifestyle. For example, doctors often recommend creating and sticking to an eating, sleeping, and activity schedule. While this can help provide stability for the anxious and direction for the sullen or depressed, this can obviously help you to maintain your body. Adding a moderate workout and a nutrition plan to your mental health schedule can turn it into a complete personal wellness regime. Even simpler suggestions like getting more vitamin D by going outside or briefly tanning can improve your overall health dramatically.
It’s a mistake to think of mental and physical health as completely separate. They inform one another and even have the power to change one another. From extreme examples like Broken Heart Syndrome to subtler things like a vitamin D deficiency, each side of this health binary has a lot of power. If you find yourself sinking into depression or just losing your edge, talk to your doctor about what you can do to live healthier.