The Mind-Body Connection: Tips to Achieving Optimum Health
Medical and scientific studies are continuing to prove the deep connection between mental and physical health. Though separate entities, it has been determined that when a person neglects their mental well-being, it has a significant impact on their physical health. Therefore, in order to achieve complete health, one must learn how to take care of both the mind and body.
Mental illness is becoming more common these days. Though not everyone comes forward for proper treatment, it is believed that approximately one in five adults struggles with mental illness each year. Significant health issues like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and even addiction can occur. Treatment often involves medication, therapy, and drug detox programs along with a complete change to one’s daily habits.
How the Mind and Body Connect
How does your mental health impact your physical health? As the mind controls every aspect of the body, neglecting one impacts the other. When a person isn’t taking care of their mental health it alters their ability to make sound decisions. However, it also reduces their ability to prevent chronic illnesses.
Someone struggling with a mental illness without getting treatment runs the risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, obesity, and a shortened lifespan. Similarly, a person suffering from chronic stress, depression, or anxiety might suffer from body aches and pains, chronic fatigue, and abnormal functions.
Developing a Healthy Mind and Body
As you can see, you can’t solely take care of your mind and expect to maintain optimal physical health just as you can’t put all your focus on your body and expect to be well mentally. If you want to achieve maximum health it is imperative that you find balance in sustaining a healthy mind and body. Below are some suggestions on how to accomplish this:
Exercise – Exercise, believe it or not, is good for your mind and body. It helps to build strong muscles and bones, remove toxins from the body, and improve your mood. When you exercise regularly, it helps the brain to release feel-good hormones serotonin and endorphins which help to ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. A good fitness routine doesn’t have to mean going to the gym. There are lots of ways to get active, so take the time to find what works for you. Perhaps you’re more interested in taking dance classes, playing sports, taking a hike, or going for a swim. If you’re not sure, try a few different workout routines out to see which fits and stick to it.
Eat a Balanced Diet – Another method that benefits both the mind and body is diet and nutrition. What you eat can alter your brain chemistry and body function. Consuming too many foods high in calories and low in nutrients deprives the brain and other vital organs of the nutrition they require to function properly leading to everything from lack of concentration and depression to obesity and diabetes. Make sure that you’re eating at least three times a day. Your diet should also include lots of whole grains, nuts, vegetables, fruit, and lean poultry.
Get Some Sleep – It might not seem like a big deal to keep a haphazard sleep schedule, but it impacts you mentally and physically. When you’re asleep your body gets to work its magic repairing and replenishing itself. Failure to get at least eight hours each night can cause issues including depression, anxiety, or chronic stress. However, it can also lead to obesity and other physical illnesses. Try rearranging your schedule so you’re getting at least eight hours of sleep each night. Start a bedtime routine which includes relaxing and winding down before turning in. Avoid stimuli like smartphones and television just before bed. Lastly, try to steer clear of the caffeine.
Get Help When Necessary – Even those with healthy lifestyles can end up suffering from a mental or physical illness. Therefore, it is important for you to know your mind and body and get help when things aren’t right. Often people neglect to seek treatment for their problems out of fear or due to stigmas and myths. However, the longer things go untreated, the worse it is for your overall well-being. Whether you need to talk with your doctor, a therapist, or some other medical professional, don’t be afraid to reach out. Too many people suffer in silence and find out the hard way that it could have been prevented. Reaching out could very well be the one thing that saves your life. The mind and body are intricately connected. Not realizing this, many people focus their attentions on one or the other. Though they may see some improvements, they cannot achieve their best health this way. It is important to regularly practice methods like those described above to keep both the mind and the body intact.