WHY YOUR MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS TOO
We are at a point in history where mental health and physical health are no longer thought of as two separate things, and what a relief to be over the era where a clear distinction was made between body and mind.
Because let’s face it, the two are so intertwined that a deficiency in one eventually leads to a deficiency in the other. Poor physical health is a high-risk factor for developing mental health problems just as poor mental health can have a negative impact on physical health, leading to an increased risk of some conditions.
In fact, health is defined very broadly by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’, adding that without mental health, there is no health.
So, your mental health matters a lot if you are to be physically healthy.
Some facts you need to know
Fact number 1: People with severe mental health issues are at a higher risk of experiencing chronic physical conditions.
Fact number 2: Persons living with chronic physical conditions are at a higher risk of developing poor mental health.
Fact number 3: Facts number 1 and 2 are cyclical in nature, and work together to form the cycle from hell.
Mild to medium physical signs of poor emotional health
- Back pain
- Extreme tiredness
- Loss of appetite or an increased appetite
- Heart palpitations
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Sexual problems
- Stiff neck
- Dry mouth
- Constipation or diarrhea
- General aches and pains
- Inability to sleep
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Psoriasis flare-ups
More serious physical signs of poor emotional health
- Heart disease
- Cancer mortality rates
How to improve your mental health
The best way to safeguard your mental health is to concentrate first on preventing the onset of mental problems. Once the mental problems show up, it takes twice as much effort to get a resolution than it would have taken for prevention.
So, to decrease your risk of developing mental issues, here are some tips:
- Be aware of your thoughts, behaviors, and feelings: Be in touch with what you are thinking, feeling and how you are acting, because these are foundational to having good emotional health. Try to recognize your emotions and find out why you are feeling the way that you are. Once you can sort out the causes of stress, sadness, and anxiety in your life, you are on your way to managing your emotional health.
- Find an appropriate outlet for your emotions: Keeping your emotions bottled up will inevitably make you feel worse, so its best that you express how you are feeling to your loved ones, bearing in mind that while they may not be able to help you feel that way, their understanding of how you feel will make them more considerate and compassionate towards you. But understand that you may need to ask someone neutral and who is outside of the immediate situation for help. This might be your family doctor, a religious advisor, or a therapist.
- Cultivate only healthy relationships: Because we are social animals, the strength or weakness of our relationships will always have an impact on how we feel, so you need to make it a point of duty to surround yourself with those who make you happy and don’t unnecessarily stress you out. If you are in a toxic relationship whether, with a significant other or a family member or a friend, you will do yourself a world of favour by distancing yourself from such a person.
- Strive for balance in your life: We start to feel stressed out when we perceive that things are not balanced or are out of order in our lives. To cultivate a balanced life, focus on the things that you have to be grateful for. We are not asking you to be pretentiously happy when you are not; we are only asking that you never lose focus of the positive while dealing with the negative. If you are the type that forgets things easily, create a journal in which you keep track of the things that give you peace and happiness, then whip out that journal when the feeling of sadness and anxiety creeps in, just to remember.
- Take care of yourself: Eat healthy meals, get adequate sleep, exercise daily, don’t abuse alcohol or drugs, avoid overeating. You will find out that when you take care of yourself this way, you will have better emotional health.
- Learn and adopt new ways of calming yourself: When you get agitated, sad or anxious, there are several ways you can adopt to try to calm yourself. This includes meditation, listening to music, breathing deeply, taking a warm bath as well as practicing yoga and Tai Chi.
How to improve your physical health
- Physical activity/exercise: Exercising regularly helps you reduce the risk of a heart attack, helps you manage your weight better and helps to lower blood pressure. It also helps you develop stronger bones, muscles, and joints while lowering your risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Good nutrition: A study carried out by Boston’s Tufts University School of Nutrition scientists discovered that about 50 percent of all deaths from heart disease, strokes, and diabetes were traced to poor diet. so, we cannot overemphasize the importance of a good diet. It helps to promote overall health, lowers the risks of cardiometabolic diseases, and gives your body the nutrients it needs to remain healthy, active, and strong.