Your physical health and mental health are connected. While we often talk about them as two separate entities – the body and the mind- your physical health can impact your mental health and vice-versa.
Health and Wellbeing
When we talk about health, we’re often separately talking about physical and mental health. Well-being and wellness, on the other hand, combine the importance of both physical and mental health so we don’t have to focus on either physical health or mental health. Instead, you can improve both your physical and mental health to improve your overall well-being.
Luckily, making small changes to your habits and your way of thinking can help you change how you feel physically and mentally. Here are different factors that can impact your physical and mental health and demonstrate how taking care of your health affects your overall well-being.
Well-being is more than being a healthy weight; it means you feel healthy both physically and mentally. Stress can impact your life in many ways, including causing weight gain, inability to sleep, and depression.
Everyone experiences stress in some way. However, what makes someone healthy is how they manage their stress. For example, if you grab junk food every time you’re stressed out, you’re letting your mental anguish impact your physical health. Not only that, but stress itself can affect your physical health and lead the weight gain and other risks, such as high blood pressure if you don’t keep it in check.
Stress begins as a mental health issue, but it can quickly turn into a physical health issue if it’s not properly managed.
Jumping on the elliptical can seem like an impossible feat if you’re someone who doesn’t have exercise in their daily routine. However, you may notice when you’re able to exercise, you feel more energized, confident, and happy throughout the day. Exercise is typically seen as an activity that benefits your physical body, but by taking some time each day to burn off excess energy and get your heart pumping, you’re improving your mood as more oxygen can reach your brain.
The good news is you don’t have to be an athlete or enjoy running to get the physical and mental health benefits of exercise. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, such as a desk job, then you can benefit from a short walk on your lunch break.
We all need food, and some of us love food more than others. However, the type of food you eat affects your physical health, which in turn impacts your mental health. For example, you may have noticed the effects of a large unhealthy lunch at work. If you’re someone who has ever forgotten to pack their lunch and ran out for fast food, you know your body slows down when it’s forced to digest unhealthy food.
On the other hand, you may have noticed that eating a healthy lunch keeps you energized throughout the entire day, making a long workday much easier.
You already know your stomach and brain communicate with one another. After all, if they didn’t, you wouldn’t know when your body was hungry. You may not realize what you put in your stomach can directly impact your brain, which is responsible for regulating your mood and mental energy levels.
By eating healthier food, you can improve your physical and mental health simultaneously to help you reduce anxiety, control mood swings, and keep you energized and motivated throughout the day.
Practicing self-care can be a great way to improve your mental and physical health. To some, self-care can mean taking time to pamper themselves with anti-aging skincare, while to others, it can mean engaging in activities that help them reach a goal. Whatever your definition of self-care, make sure the activities you choose to do can improve your physical or mental health in some way or another. For example, if you’re always busy, you might consider taking some time away from your social life to meditate.
Hydration is important for your entire body, including your brain. Staying well-hydrated allows all areas of your body to properly function. When you’re dehydrated, you may have noticed you have a more difficult time memorizing important information or focusing on tasks. Your body will also slow down.
Unfortunately, many people get so busy throughout their day they forget to drink water. Instead, they start the morning with a cup of coffee and drink other caffeinated beverages throughout the day in hopes they’ll have more energy. Too many people don’t consider that drinking water can help you stay energized throughout the day. If you’re struggling to drink enough water each day, consider setting an alarm on your phone that will remind you to drink every few hours.
Your body needs sleep to recover from the day and keep you mentally and physically healthy. When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system can’t work as hard to keep you healthy, and your brain can’t work as hard to regulate your mood and energy levels. Sleep is both a physical and mental activity.
When you drift off at night, you’re recharging your body and mind at the same time. If you aren’t getting the proper amount of sleep, you may often feel fatigued and get colds. By taking the time to rest your body and mind, you can improve your recovery time, prevent sickness, and help yourself stay energized throughout the day.
Your brain and the rest of your body are connected, so whether you want to improve your mental or physical health, you’ll need to consider both. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you may need to focus on activities that help you feel motivated enough to work out, such as drinking more water and getting more quality sleep.
Whatever your goals are, taking care of your physical health impacts your overall well-being. If you want to feel your best every single day, consider your lifestyle habits and start making healthier choices today.
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.