The mind and body are often thought of as separate. However, there is a clear connection between the two and they regularly have an impact on one another.
Effects of Poor Mental Health
Depression alone can cause chronic fatigue and insomnia leading to a weakened immune system. Chronic stress can increase strain on blood vessels leading to high blood pressure and heart disease. In general, poor mental health can affect an individual’s ability to make health decisions.
Effects of Poor Physical Health
Conversely, those who have poor physical health, specifically chronic conditions, are twice as likely to have depression, anxiety, and chronic stress. It is common to struggle with these mental illnesses due to the pressure and strain that accompany serious health conditions.
Tips for Supporting Mental and Physical Health
- Stretching reduces tension on tight muscles, reduces recovery time, and prevents injury. It is a great way to unwind and reduce stress. Take time each day to stretch and be mindful of what your body needs.
- Proper nutrition provides the body with fuel and enhances brain function. Diets heavy with processed, high calorie, and low-nutrient foods have been linked to anxiety and depression. They can also cause fatigue and a cloudy mind. Consume foods that will provide energy for both the body and mind, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and protein.
- Sleep and relaxation help cultivate happiness and increase the ability to manage stress. Sleep also allows the body to recover and receive well deserved rest. Try relaxing before bed, lowering caffeine intake, or developing a nighttime routine to improve sleep.
- Physical exercise causes a release of endorphins and serotonin that boost mood, improve sleep, and ease depression and anxiety. Exercise also improves muscle strength and boosts endurance, which helps maintain a healthy heart and lungs.
- Fostering social inclusion and social support is an important way to reduce anxiety and depression. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Feeling connected can increase a sense of purpose and willpower to face challenges when they arise.