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The Relationship Between Physical Health and Mental Health

What’s the Connection Between Physical Health and Mental Health? To most people, physical health and mental health are two very different things. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Physical health and mental health are very intricately related. When you have good mental health, your physical health can improve. At the same time, when you have good physical health, your mental health can improve. By connecting physical and mental health and understanding how they influence each other and the importance of optimizing both, you can live a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A PERSON’S MENTAL HEALTH DECLINES? When you’re in a good mental state, you can stay physically healthy. In fact, studies show that having a positive outlook on life can reduce the risks of heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, studies show that happiness helps reduce levels of inflammation in the body. On the other hand, when your mental health starts declining, your physical health can follow suit. For example, research suggests depression is linked to cancer, chronic pain, thyroid problems, heart disease, and even multiple sclerosis. Add it all up, and good mental health can go a long way toward helping you live a healthier, more enjoyable life. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A PERSON’S PHYSICAL HEALTH DECLINES? It’s often said that many of us take our health for granted. When our bodies work as they’re supposed to, we don’t give our health a second thought. Sooner or later, we all reach a point where we realize why we shouldn’t take our health for granted. For example, when someone breaks their leg and can no longer walk without assistance, all that person will think about is how great it would be to walk again. Before the accident, they likely didn’t spend much time thinking about their leg at all. Similarly, when an individual is diagnosed with a serious ailment — like cancer, a heart attack, or a stroke — it can be difficult to maintain an optimistic outlook on life, which could lead to depression. As we just learned in the previous section, depression can hurt general health, which could further exacerbate their conditions. TIPS FOR IMPROVING BOTH MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH Now that you have a better idea about the mind and body connection and how physical and mental health are linked, let’s look at some tips you can use to improve your mental and physical health and live life to the fullest.

Eat healthier meals

If you’re struggling with your mental or physical health, there could be a relatively easy fix: Make a conscious decision to eat better meals. By ditching things like fast food, soda, and tons of sugar and consuming more healthy meat, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, you can enhance your mood, reduce your risk of developing cancer, and improve your gut health, among other health benefits.

Exercise regularly

Exercising regularly can improve your physical health by helping you lose weight and increase your energy and stamina. At the same time, exercise can also help you improve your mental health — and depression and anxiety in particular. The better you feel physical, the easier it is to see the world in a positive light. You spend less time dealing with aches and pains and have the energy needed to accomplish more every day.

Practice mindfulness

Many of us go through life without stopping to smell the proverbial roses. By forcing yourself to pay more attention to the present moment, you can become more in tune with your own body, which can help reduce depression and anxiety — and even help you manage chronic pain. This is all possible by practising mindfulness, a meditative practice inspired by Buddhist teachings.


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