How Physical and Mental Health are Connected
Let me start by saying "well done" for clicking on this article. This means you may be in a state where your body is not at optimum health or you are struggling with some mental health issues and in need of some tips or reminders.
Mental Health is no longer a stigma. In recent years it has become more and more acceptable to come out in the open about mental health, and it is widely accepted in Western culture. Most doctors and specialist will also encourage you to seek help.
The most common types of mental health issues are 'Anxiety Disorders', affecting roughly 40 million adults in the US alone. Other mental health disorders include:
- Mood Disorders - Dysthymia, Depression, Bipolar, Substance Induced Mood Disorders
- Psychotic Disorders - Schizophrenia, Delusional disorder, Substance-induced psychotic disorder
- Eating Disorders
As many of these disorders are complex and require expert and professional help, I will touch on Anxiety and Mood Disorders. I would still encourage you to seek medical advice and help with any disorder, but there are some things you can do in parallel to help yourself and your mindset.
Effects of Poor Mental Health on Your Physical Health
People often view the mind and body as being separate, but mental and physical health are actually closely related. Good mental health can positively affect your physical health. In return, poor mental health can negatively affect your physical health.
Serious Health Conditions can arise from depression such as heart attacks, diabetes, asthma, arthritis and strokes. In contrast seeking help to improve your mental health, can also help to improve the chances of these affects.
Many sleeping difficulties arise as a result of poor mental health, so it is not surprising that too many people in the US suffer from lack of shut eye and therefore lack of optimum performance and mental clarity during awake times.
Lastly dealing with an illness or set back is a lot more difficult when you have a mental health condition, and can make it harder to recover.
Now...you are probably feeling worse after reading this, but it's not all doom and gloom because there are steps you can take right now to heal yourself, whether you believe it right now or not.
I have a list of things you can implement into your life right now!
The Simple Things
Drink Plenty of Water
What is plenty of water you ask, and what does this have to do with my mental health? Researchers in a 2015 study for the National Library of Medicine, found that lower water intake was directly related to lower mood, greater tension, depression and confusion.
Researchers in a
I know when I haven't had enough water I am more fatigued and have less clarity at work.
There is a formula some say you should use to determine how much water to drink for your body type. A common one is
- Your weight x .67 (67%). So if you are 175 pounds, you would need to drink roughly 117 ounces a day.
If you exercise a lot then you would need to drink more to counteract the sweat, roughly 12 ounces for 30 minutes of physical activity.
So pick up that glass and drink a glass of water right now! I carry a BPA free water bottle everywhere I go, to meetings, to the gym, in the car. I'm never without it.
I know I know...when you have a low mood or health disorder, it is often the last thing you feel like doing, but the worst thing you can do for yourself is stay indoors on the couch all the time in your trackies. Of course you can do this, but balance is key.
You don't have to join a gym, although I find going to a gym gives me somewhere to go, and if there's a class on it forces you to get through a 30 minute or 60 minute workout. It's over so quickly! Walking, riding a bike, doing a workout to a YouTube video, playing a sport, anything that raises your heart rate.
If you are not a morning person, opt to do your workout in the afternoon when you have a bit more energy. Have a coffee or tea (not too much though) if you are really struggling to get moving. Put on your favourite music to motivate that exercise. Raise your heart rate for 20 minutes, and you will instantly feel the endorphins ( the feel good hormones) that are triggered when you exercise.
Eat Mood Boosting Foods
Certain foods have been shown to improve overall brain health and certain mood disorders. There are some foods that contain the nutrients and natural compounds that effect the brain and cells in your body.
A popular one because they are packed full of the right feel good vitamins. They also contain Vitamin B6 which helps the mood boosting nuero-transmitters like dopamine and serotonin. They also contain natural sugar and fibre, which when paired together allow slow release of the sugar helping with mood control.
Comment below and let us know what has helped you cope.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Opt for these to increase folate levels. Low folate levels have been consistently proven in researched patients with depression. Lack of folate in your body may also make it harder to metabolize dopamine and serotonin. In other words, the other foods that increase the feel good hormones won't work as well if you have low levels of folate. So eat more spinach, broccoli, avocados, artichokes, sugar snap peas etc...just think... green is good! I'm addicted to avocados and due to the fact that baby spinach has little to no taste, I usually add spinach to most things.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
In a study published by the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health , they discovered that people who consumed the most foods with omega 3 fatty acids had lower rates of depression. Here are some foods that contain Omega 3
- Flax Seeds & Chia Seeds
- Canola Oil
What does the gut have to do with mental health you say! Well loads of recent research suggests that bacteria in the gut sends and receives signals from the brain.
"Gut bacteria also produce hundreds of neurochemicals that the brain uses to regulate basic physiological processes as well as mental processes such as learning, memory and mood. For example, gut bacteria manufacture about 95 percent of the body's supply of serotonin, which influences both mood and GI activity." 
Some examples of foods that contain the right probiotics include:
- Greek Yoghurt
- Sour dough bread
Take a Holistic Approach to Wellness
Quite often when we have anxiety or a low mood, we just want to reach for something that is not good for us or that provide a quick fix; trust me I've been there! Instead of reaching for the junk food or the alcohol, or scrolling through your phone (only making matters worse), try and give some mentally healthy practices a go.
Go and buy a self help book and pre-occupy yourself wit positive inspiration. Have a bath and burn some candles or always have a Salt Lamp on in your room to balance energy. There is an affordable and unique range at https://soulhealthlounge.com/collections/salt-lamps. Put on some meditation music on YouTube and burn some essential oils (look up best essential oils for mood). Put on a meditation track from YouTube (even if only for 5 minutes), sit and close your eyes and follow the steps. See how you feel when you are done.
Learn about crystals and how using them or wearing them can help balance your mood. Learn about chakras and what part of your body might not be aligned, and then read about how you can heal that part of you.
This all goes hand in hand with my opening statement, that your mental health really does affect your physical health. When you are calm and happy, you get sick less often, you have more energy, you sleep more soundly and best of all, you attract more positive people into your life.
Try three or four of the above tips tomorrow and comment below to tell us if any of these have helped you. Once again these tips may not heal you completely, but I know if I'm not eating right, exercising and just being a couch potato, I certainly feel my mood drop. Good luck and I wish you all the very happiness in the world. ♥
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25963107/ - Habitual total water intake and dimensions of mood in healthy young women
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21736786/ -Mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood of men
- https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/09/gut-feeling -That gut feeling