The notion of staying healthy is different for every individual.
Everyone understands that you need to exercise and eat right to maintain a healthy body, but people are only just starting to understand that your mental health is equally important.
While research into mental illness is still in its early stages, there is evidence to suggest that both health concepts are more interlinked than you may think.
As such, let’s explore this notion to discover just how your physical health and mental health work alongside each other.
You may find that you discover something new that can help you to cope with either one of these complicated issues. Read on to find out more.
How Are Physical Health And Mental Health Related?
What Is The Mind?
Before looking at how these two entities are related, we need to understand each one as a separate entity.
It is easy to mistake the brain for the mind, but these are two very different things.
The brain is the organ that works to coordinate your body and emotions, whereas the mind represents your consciousness and thought processes.
Therefore, the brain represents the physical, while the mind represents the mental.
With that in mind, it should be easier to understand what is meant by mental health.
What Is Physical Health?
Physical health refers to how well your bodily functions are operating.
Everything inside you needs to work at a certain level of efficiency for you to remain healthy, which is why it is important to maintain good physical health and eat a balanced diet.
These actions can help your body, but you will soon find out that they can also affect your mind.
What are The Physical Health’s Effect On Your Mind?
The reason behind your regular exercise routine is to strengthen your body. The more you work your muscles, the better they become at functioning.
However, it isn’t just your muscles that get a workout. Your organs also receive the benefits of regular exercise.
For example, cardiovascular fitness will increase your lung capacity, which in turn speeds up the rate at which oxygen is delivered throughout your body.
This oxygen is needed to help turn your food into energy, therefore, you should have more energy if you work out more often. But what has this got to do with your mental health?
A common symptom of depression is lethargy. Your body must work harder to combat the serotonin deficiency that is causing this illness, which can greatly reduce your energy levels.
Therefore, by keeping your body physically fit, you should have more energy than you otherwise would to help fight off this symptom of depression.
Of course, this is a massive oversimplification of events, but you should now start to see how the two concepts of health are linked.
What are The Mental Health’s Effect On Your Body?
Your mind is responsible for maintaining the functions of everything needed to help you feel and experience the world around you.
This means that you are also using your mind when you exercise. However, poor mental health is going to influence your overall fitness levels.
Lethargy is not the only symptom linked with a mental illness like depression. Those who live with this mental illness also suffer from bodily aches, reduced sleep, irritability, and a loss of appetite.
As you can guess, working up the motivation to exercise while experiencing these symptoms is extremely difficult, which is why many people lose fitness levels when they experience mental health issues.
Now that you can see how each facet of health is affected by the other, what can you do to balance them?
How to Use Exercise To Ease Symptoms Of Mental Health Disorders?
Once you understand the science behind mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, it is easier to see how exercise can be used as part of a healing solution.
Since there is no direct cure for these mental illnesses, you will need to focus on tackling each symptom as they arise. The key is reducing the effects instead of abolishing them.
However, the simple act of exercise is not enough to help you in these efforts, as you will discover when you read through Talkiatry’s grounding techniques for anxiety.
Using up the excess energy in your body is necessary for relaxing, but you will find the most important step in grounding techniques for anxiety is to focus on your breathing.
Slow deep breaths will help to reduce your heart rate and reduce the likelihood that your anxiety experience develops into a panic attack.
The best way to practice these breathing techniques, of course, is by engaging in regular fitness workouts.
These regimes will accustom your body to taking long recovery breaths so that you are more prepared to ground yourself next time you find yourself in an anxious situation.
When it comes to depression, these quiet periods of meditation can reduce the harmful spiral of thoughts in your mind.
By giving you an additional focus, you can use exercise as a distraction and as a way to relieve stress. This process should give you some clarity moving forward.
How to Use Mental Health Practices To Improve Fitness?
Once again, just as your fitness regime can help you to ease symptoms of mental illness, mindful mental health practices can help improve your fitness.
The grounding techniques discussed above are designed to relax and comfort you in times of stress.
When you are experiencing stress, your body is not working at full capacity, and there is nothing more stressful for your body than an improper cool down routine.
Grounding yourself with meditation and breathing techniques can teach you to relax your body properly, helping it recover quicker from your workout.
What’s more, meditation techniques can lower your blood pressure, one of the biggest issues facing people with mental illness.
A core part of engaging in sport is keeping concentration. Practicing mindfulness is a great way to clear your mind, giving your body the tools needed to focus on the physical task at hand.
What is The Connection Between Mental Health And Diet?
This article has already explained how exercise can help improve your mental health, but there is another facet that contributes to your physical health, and that is your diet.
Various foods can have a positive or negative effect on your body, but it is important to achieve a balance in the types of nutrients you consume.
In fact, studies have shown that too much of certain food products can actually cause you to experience low moods and stress, two things you should avoid if you struggle with mental illness.
Processed foods that are high in flour or sugar, such as bread, cheese, and biscuits, cause inflammation in your body over time.
While your body is fighting to reduce this inflammation, it has less energy to focus on serotonin production or keeping your oxygen flowing.
Therefore, participating in a poor diet for too long can have a negative effect on your mental health. You don’t have to give up your favorite foods altogether, just consume them in moderation, and you should start to notice a difference.
What you should remember?
The world is only just beginning to understand how the mind and body work together.
But, there can be no denying that there is a positive connection there.
So, to answer the initial question: yes, there is a relation between your physical and mental health.
Is there a difference in mental health between men and women? You can find out here!