Mental Health is as important as Physical Health

The implications on mental health from being stuck indoors can have a knock-on effect on physical health.

Possibly your mental health issues are recent, or maybe they have been around for as long as you can remember, perhaps you have relationship issues, or you are being affected by work or social media. Day to day task can become overwhelming and keeping on top of physical health can appear difficult or almost impossible. The mind-body connection is stronger than you may think. The tendency to separate mental and physical illness has posed a prominent problem when it comes to understanding overall health.

Mental health problems have physical consequences and mental illness can worsen with physical illness. In the same way you listen to your physical health needs, you need to be mindful of your mental health needs.

Our minds and bodies are interconnected, so when suffering from mental health issues our body will feel the impact in more ways than one, and vice versa. Motivation, sleep, appetite, energy and response to exercise can be positively or negatively impacted by our emotional state. Research has shown that emotional states such as anxiety and depression can reduce the immune system and contribute to illnesses such as diabetes, stroke or heart attacks. Although we all handle stress differently it is to be expected that the beginnings of stress are noticed by the way we sit and hold ourselves. We need to take notice of all our physical responses as this is the body’s way of telling us we need to be aware.

Have you ever considered why so much muscular tension is held in our head, neck and shoulders? This occurs due to a reflex action to stress impacting on our body. Research has revealed that migraine and tension headaches are associated with muscular tension in the head, neck and shoulders. Stress has also been linked to lower back problems, particularly work-related stress. Your brain regulates your bodies temperature and heart rate, which is why your thoughts alone can get your heart racing and affect your body temperature. Body pain, particularly in vulnerable areas can be caused by stress, which is why pain can serve as an early warning system that you need to prioritize your overall well-being.

Stress symptoms can affect feelings, thoughts, body and behaviour. Being able to recognise common stress symptoms can help you manage them. Some markers to look out for are:

  • Changes in eating habits
  • Low energy, tiredness or sleeping problems
  • Withdrawal from social situations
  • Feeling sad or down
  • Reduced ability to concentrate and confused thinking
  • Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Excessive fears or worries
  • Extreme mood changes
  • Relationship issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Excessive anger or hostility

 

 

There are factors within your control to modify and improve your mental health and overall well-being. First and foremost, nutrition will certainly affect your energy and state of mind. Having a healthy diet will help improve your mood. Exercise can have a significant impact on your physical and mental health. The long-term benefits from exercise are immediate and impact on both mind and body. Maintain a healthy social life. Strong social networks can play a key role in maintaining good health. Learn a new skill, take up a new hobby or join a club to meet new people. This is a great way to break up your day and lift your mood.

 

When your head isn’t in the right space, it can be exhausting for both your mind and body.

 

If you are struggling with stress or mental health issues it is advisable to seek help from a professional.