How physical health affects mental health

Have you ever considered how your physical health and mental health affect each other?

Think of it this way: a car isn’t going to run efficiently if you don’t service it with an oil change. The car might stall, the engine will run hot, and if the car goes long enough without oil, the engine will shut down and need a replacement.

The same rule goes for your body.

If you aren’t feeding your body the right nutrients, especially if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your brain will begin to slowly shut down. 

Your brain is the engine that keeps you running. That’s why mental health is so important for staying healthy.

The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. Addressing these three key components to achieve all around healthy living can start by doing these three steps:

  1. Identify how you are feeling 
  2. Evaluate how your daily routine impacts your physical and mental state
  3. Implement healthy behaviors that improve your physical, mental and social health

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get started:

How are you feeling?

Are you currently experiencing:

  • Anxiety or panic attacks?
  • Depression and upsetting thoughts?
  • Addictive or harmful behavior?

What does your daily routine look like?

Are you currently:

  • Lacking an active lifestyle?
  • Eating a lot of sugary and fried foods?
  • Consuming alcohol daily or overindulging in illegal substances? 

Here are some suggestions for adding healthier habits to your lifestyle.

Start building regular exercise into your daily routine.

Exercise can help you:

  • Decrease stress – an increased heart rate reduces stress on the brain by stimulating the production of neurohormones, helping improve cognitive function.
  • Improve sleep – increased body temperature helps calm the mind and allows your body to ease into sleep. It also regulates your internal clock, allowing you to build a sleep routine.
  • Minimize the effects of depression – exercise fuels endorphins which helps increase overall happiness and optimism. 

Start making choices that improve your mood and energy levels.

  • Add more raw foods into your diet. Think fruits, vegetables and superfoods like nuts, wholegrains and legumes.
  • Make more time for activities you are passionate about (or obtain a new skill through an activity you’ve always wanted to try!).
  • Turn off your phone for parts of the day. This eliminates distractions and keeps you focused.

Start replacing addictive behaviors with healthier options.

  • If you are a heavy smoker, find things to replace the itch to pick up a cigarette, like chewing gum or talking a walk.
  • If you find yourself scrolling for hours on social media, set a timer notification that tells you when you’ve spent more than X amount of minutes a day on social media. This will help increase confidence and decrease the feeling of loneliness.
  • If you are a drug user, access care and treatment for your addiction through our addiction recovery services.

For more resources available through MHA Dutchess County, come in and we’ll help you find what’s right for you.


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