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7 Ways Your Physical Health Is Connected to Your Mental Health

by Gomedii Health care Doctor Appointment

Have you ever wondered how your physical well-being is connected and impacted by your mental well-being, and vice versa? This blog post will explore this undeniable interconnection and outline 7 distinct ways that your physical health is connected to your mental health.

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During the 17th century, the mind and body were seen as separate entities working within two distinct systems and were treated within a medical model without an emphasis on mental well-being. More recently, the resurgence of the importance of emotional health has resumed and the mind-body connection has been shown to be an important component to an individual's overall health and well-being.


The World Health Organization (WHO) states that "health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Let's explore this concept by identifying 7 ways that physical health is connected to mental health. As you read through each category, think of how your own mind-body connection either negatively impacts your life or enhances your well-being.


1. Nutrition

 

Food intake is one of the most important mind-body connections and is also a necessity for our survival. According to Dietitians of Canada "the food we eat is associated with our mood, behavior, and cognition" and is therefore intertwined with our overall mental well-being. There are many factors that can contribute to poor or inadequate diets and as a result, can cause long-term detriments to both the physical and mental well-being of an individual. 


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More facts linking nutrition to mental health:

 

Increased intake of processed foods may be increasing the prevalence of mental health diagnoses including depression.

Food insecurity or scarcity may lead to increased stress and has been shown to be linked to anxiety and depression.


Studies have shown deficiencies in micronutrients & Omega 3 fatty acids to increase the risk of depression; low intake of fish, fruits, and vegetables to elevate the risk of depression; proper nutrition may mitigate symptoms of depression; a suggestion of further study into how proper nutrition may negate follow-through of suicidal ideation.

 

Tip: Consider speaking with a nutritionist about your own dietary habits and how they are currently impacting on your mental well-being. Co-create a nutritional plan that will fit in your budget and serve to increase your overall health.


See more: Health Benefits of Alkaline Foods


2.Hydration

 

Water is also a necessary component of everyday life, and it is common knowledge that an individual is required hydrate in order to sustain life. However, the link between hydration and mental health is less well-known in society. According to the University of Connecticut's Human Performance Laboratory, "even mild dehydration can alter a person’s mood, energy level, and ability to think clearly". How do you feel when you haven't had enough to drink throughout the day?


Some more facts linking hydration to mental health:


Lack of water can reduce cognitive abilities such as concentration, short-term memory, and alertness.

A study on the effects of dehydration showed that mild dehydration was connected to significant elevations of subjective mood score, including fatigue, confusion, anger, and vigor.

Dehydration may also play a role in the experience of delirium (mental confusion) in the elderly.

 

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Tip: Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day - if you're having a hard time drinking H20 (water can be a bit boring sometimes) try drinking other liquids (tea, coffee, juice) and eating water-laden foods such as cucumber or lettuce salads. Remember to drink even if you're not active


3. Exercise

 

Physical activity is linked with a long list of mental health benefits, from reducing symptoms of depression to increasing self-esteem and resilience, and more. According to helpguide.org, "physical activity immediately boosts the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels" which can benefit an individual's mental well-being and reduce symptoms related to mental health disorders. Even a little bit of exercise can be very beneficial at promoting mental wellness.


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Let's look at some more facts:

 

Studies have suggested that 30 minutes of exercise five or more days per week can reduce symptoms of depression; exercise more effective at treating eating disorders than other therapies.

Exercise can relieve anxiety symptoms such as stress or tension with the natural release of endorphins.

Regular physical activity has been shown to be beneficial for people with ADHD, increasing concentration, memory & mood.


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Tip: Improve your mental well-being by incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine - stick to an activity you enjoy or try out something new.


Let's look at some more facts:

 

Studies have suggested that 30 minutes of exercise five or more days per week can reduce symptoms of depression; exercise more effective at treating eating disorders than other therapies.

Exercise can relieve anxiety symptoms such as stress or tension with the natural release of endorphins.

Regular physical activity has been shown to be beneficial for people with ADHD, increasing concentration, memory & mood.

 

Tip: Improve your mental well-being by incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine - stick to an activity you enjoy or try out something new.


Let's look at some more facts:

 

Studies have suggested that 30 minutes of exercise five or more days per week can reduce symptoms of depression; exercise more effective at treating eating disorders than other therapies.

Exercise can relieve anxiety symptoms such as stress or tension with the natural release of endorphins.

Regular physical activity has been shown to be beneficial for people with ADHD, increasing concentration, memory & mood.

 

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Tip: Improve your mental well-being by incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine - stick to an activity you enjoy or try out something new.


Chronic sleep problems have been shown to be linked to mental health issues including PTSD. A common link suggests that sleeplessness (especially chronic) leads to increased stress and set for mental health issues.


5.Substance Use

 

According to helpguide.org "substance abuse and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety are closely linked, one does not directly cause the other". Substance use can refer to alcohol, illicit drug use, medication, or tobacco use The use of any of these substances can impact on the physical and mental well-being of a person, but can also cause mental health concerns to become much worse. There can often times a stigma associated with either having a mental health disorder or a substance use problem and seeking help for both can be even more challenging. Having support for these concerns can significantly increase a person's overall well-being.


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More information:

 

Alcohol or drugs are often used to self-medicate the symptoms of depression or anxiety; can increase the underlying risk for mental disorders; alcohol and drug abuse can make symptoms of a mental health problem worse.

Medications for physical or mental concerns can have side-effects but can also alleviate many ailments or emotional disturbances - always check with a doctor before altering a dosage of prescribed medication.

Individuals diagnosed with a mental health disorder are more likely to smoke; smoking can alleviate some symptoms connected to mental health diagnoses and may be used as a coping mechanism but are detrimental to an individuals health.


6.Illness

 

A diagnosis of a chronic or short-term illness can bring on many emotions including shock, regret, anger and most, perhaps most commonly, sadness. Prolonged feelings of sadness can relate to the diagnosis of the mental health condition of depression which can impact an individuals life in profound ways.

 

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Anxiety and stress brought on by the experience of illness can also trigger mental health disorders or exacerbate underlying symptoms related to anxiety, depression or other mental health concerns.


More facts about the connection between illness & mental health:


People living with a chronic health condition have a higher risk of experiencing depression.

The stigma associated with people living with chronic illness such as pain can interfere with the recovery and maintenance of physical and emotional symptoms.

Learning to manage illness such as symptoms of pain can improve individual overall well-being and reduce symptoms related to a mental health condition.

Tip: Depression and anxiety are treatable - speak to a health professional for more information. Support (such as support groups, individual counseling, health & wellness coaching) for chronic illnesses may also be helpful in alleviating co-morbid experiences of mental health issues.


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7.Social Well-being

 

How well a person feels in connection with friends, family, co-workers, classmates, and others in their lives is directly connected to their overall emotional and mental well-being. Poor social connections or overall social well-being is associated with poor emotional health and may even exacerbate mental health conditions such as depression.

 

A study identifying the association between mental health and social well-being found that positive mental health was linked with lower levels of loneliness and higher levels of social support; lower levels of social well-being was the biggest predictor of negative mental health.

Social well-being also relates to community and society and how interconnected an individual feels to services, government, or society, in general, can also impact mental well-being

 

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This blog post identified 7 proven ways that health and mental health are connected and interconnected and I hope it has helped to identify tangible areas that these two very important parts of us are connected. There are lots of other ways that the mind-body connection happens (can you think of others?) but hopefully, this article helps you start to identify this connection and how it affects or improves your own life.


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Created on Feb 21st 2019 05:36. Viewed 725 times.

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