Your mind and body are interconnected. This could not be more true. When your mental state focuses on positivity and health, it greatly benefits your physical health. The same goes for mood. When you are in a good mood, you are more likely to take great care of your body and mind. Waking up on the right side of the bed can do wonders for your health.
This works in reverse as well. When you are in a bad state of mind, your physical health can suffer a lot. When you are in a bad mood, you are much less likely to take good care of your mind and body.
So, how does it work?
A human being is not just the sum of its parts. You're not just a brain, a heart, a few limbs, a couple of lungs and a bunch of hormones. All of these parts work together and contribute to what you are, how you think and how you feel. When we neglect some aspect of ourselves, we are neglecting our essence completely, since our being functions as a whole. It is difficult – if not impossible – to be in good physical health if your mental health is poor, and vice versa.
Imagine you're having a very good day. You wake up feeling good, the sun is shining and you have nothing weighing on your mind. When it is time to go eat something, you are likely to do something healthy, knowing that it will make your body feel good. It will generate excitement when you go for a walk to enjoy the sun. You want to share your happiness with a loved one, then you call a friend and meet in the park. All these things – healthy meals, the walk, socializing under the sun – can greatly improve your physical health. In addition, they can help your mood to maintain a positive attitude, which keeps the cycle of positivity and health rolling.
The opposite is also true
Studies shows how mental and physical health are intertwined.
Now imagine the opposite day, you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. You instantly want to hit snooze on your alarm, it's dreary outside and you are stressed and worried about the things that happened in the past week (or month or year). These days, you will probably only have time to reach for a quick breakfast – for many people this is something that is not healthy. They think of exercise, but decide that you do not have the energy and stay in their place. They spend the day sitting on the couch watching movies. At the end of the day, you feel worse. You are tired, your back aches and your digestive system is not satisfied with these “convenience foods”. Needless to say, having this kind of day can be detrimental to your health and can amplify a negative cycle.
Research has shown how physical and mental health are truly linked. For example, mental health problems such as depression have been linked to insomnia, fatigue, cardiovascular disease and digestive disorders. Stress has been associated with impaired immunity, weight gain and inflammation. Chronic inflammation, in turn, can lead to a number of chronic diseases, including heart disease, autoimmune diseases, cancers and more.
Keeping Your Mental State Healthy
Tai chi and other activities can help lessen stress to enhance physical and mental health.
As you can see, keeping your mental state as healthy as possible is paramount. Here are some ways to do it:
- You eat, whole, nutritious food, even when you do not feel like it, you will feel better!
- Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes three times a week. Try to go for a walk every day.
- Take action to manage your stress. Meditation, yoga, tai chi and daily activities are a great relief from stress.
- Think positive! Begin each day to write (or think at least actively) three things that make you happy and grateful.
- Make room in your schedule to do things you like. Join a dance class, pottery class or any activity that makes you feel open and alive.
- Make sure you get seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night.
Here's to a healthy mind and body!