Understanding the Connection Between Physical and Mental Health
Everyone wants to lead a healthy life. This is one of the most important pursuits of life. Parents wish to inculcate good lifestyle habits in their children at an early age hoping that they follow them all through their life. Adults too try to strike a balance between work and fun, hectic schedules and easy-breezy routines to take care of themselves in every way possible. These days there’s plenty of health-related information available. However, much of the conversation around health has always been mostly about physical health and not mental health.
It is only in the last few years that mental health as a concept has come up in a big way. As researchers continue to study, investigate and learn what influences one’s health, we find that both, physical health and mental health, are closely linked. If either of the two get badly compromised, your overall health and wellbeing will suffer. In this blog, let’s explore this close connection between physical health and mental health in depth.
What’s the Connection between Physical Health and Mental Health?
Physical health and mental health are fundamentally connected. A person’s quality of life is significantly and drastically impacted when either one of them is gravely compromised.
Mental health as a concept is usually perceived as a diagnosable psychological disorder, but that may not always be the case. You can fall anywhere in the vast spectrum of mental and psychological issues. These people falling in the 'middle' may not have a diagnosable psychological disorder and could be leading, what many may refer to as, a comfortable life. However, they could still experience stress and subliminal anxiety every time they are faced with an unforeseen change.
There are too many associations between mental health and chronic physical conditions and vice versa, which have a deep impact on a person’s overall health and wellbeing. Once we understand how our bodies and minds work in unison, we feel strengthened to make positive choices not only for our own selves but also for our family and children. Given below are some of the ways in which physical and mental health are closely connected.
● Poor Mental Health is a Risk Factor for Chronic Physical Conditions
People experiencing severe mental health conditions are at high risk of facing chronic physical conditions. Whether you’re suffering from a chronic or low-grade mental health issue, it can impact your physical health in many ways. It could affect your sleep cycle, which could further affect your gut health, skin health, and hormones, among other things. There’s sufficient scientific evidence that exhibits how depression affects mood, motivation, and productivity and profoundly impacts one’s immunity, making the person more susceptible to falling sick. Studies show how a person’s inability to manage stress, in the long run, can trigger and develop auto-immune diseases. Chronic depression can also result in inflammation in the body, leading to joint, knee, or back pain.
Uncontrolled and unmanageable anxiety may also result in cardiovascular ailments and cognitive malfunctions in the long run. Many lifestyle issues like PCOD, thyroid, insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes are also likely to crop up if one cannot manage stress well. Additionally, stress is a significant contributor to oxidative stress and free radical activity in the body, which may damage the body at a cellular level, causing it to age sooner and contributing to chronic diseases such as cancer.
● Chronic Physical Conditions Can Lead To Poor Mental Health
Any prolonged physical condition is also likely to lead to poor mental health conditions in the long run. Any physical condition can deeply impact one’s physical appearance, which will alter how one feels about oneself. When you don’t feel good about yourself, you may excuse yourself from all kinds of social activities and even withdraw from friends and family. This could lead to mood disorders, anxiety, and even depression in many cases. Prolonged body pain can also impact your mood and productivity, making you feel sad and depressed seeing your body’s inability to be agile and active. Similarly, dietary and lifestyle restrictions imposed after a diagnosis of a chronic illness can impact a person’s mental health as well given no one likes to lead a restricted life.
● Social Determinants Impact Both Physical Conditions and Mental Health
The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age play a significant role in shaping one’s overall health and wellbeing. These factors act as social determinants that have a deep impact on one’s physical health and mental health. Social determinants include factors like education, socio-economic status, neighbourhood, physical environment, employment, social support networks and easy access to health care. If you wish to improve your health and reduce long standing health disparities, you need to address these social determinants. Once these factors are taken care of, you will definitely be able to pay better attention towards your physical and mental health.
Health is no longer defined as just the absence of illness. It is the state in which a person experiences physical, mental and social well being. The best way to achieve that is by including nutritious food and physical activity into your routine, which will help keep your body and mind healthy.
Your diet must be wholesome and should comprise fruits and vegetables rich in dietary fiber, whole grains, pulses and legumes, nuts and seeds, lean meat and fish to meet all your nutritional needs. However, if you are not able to do so, don’t feel shy to include supplements to your diet.
Nutritional deficiencies also impact mental health causing a plethora of issues such as low energy levels, listlessness, mood changes, and mental fog, among other things. Vitamin D and B12 deficiencies can cause bouts of agitation, negativism, confusion, irritability, amnesia, impaired concentration, disorientation, and attention and insomnia, among other things.
You can try Wellbeing Nutrition’s Melts Vegan Vitamin B12 and Melts Natural Vitamin D3. The vitamin B12 oral strips naturally support your body’s ability to fight infections and diseases. Prepared with a plant- based source of vitamin B12, methylcobalamin, these strips are 99% pure and sugar free too. On the other hand, vitamin D3 strips are formulated using natural ingredients that are a safe and steady source of the vitamin. It contains specially sourced organic plants called lichen (which naturally stores vitamin D3), coconut oil, pure vitamin K2 extracted from fermented chickpeas, and astaxanthin (an important antioxidant).
To improve your physical health, add immunity boosting foods and supplements to your daily routine. Wellbeing Nutrition offers a wide range of immunity boosting products that cater to the body's specific needs. These supplements include Daily Greens, Grandma’s Kadha, Probiotics + Prebiotics, and Apple Cider Vinegar with 2x the mother.
So start taking care of your physical and mental health today!
- Julius Ohrnberger, Eleonora Fichera, Matt Sutton, The relationship between physical and mental health: A mediation analysis, Social Science & Medicine, Volume 195, 2017, Pages 42-49, ISSN 0277-9536, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.11.008. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953617306639)
- Braveman P, Gottlieb L. The social determinants of health: it's time to consider the causes of the causes. Public Health Rep. 2014;129 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):19-31. doi:10.1177/00333549141291S206. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3863696/)
- Penedo, Frank Ja; Dahn, Jason Ra,b Exercise and well-being: a review of mental and physical health benefits associated with physical activity, Current Opinion in Psychiatry: March 2005 - Volume 18 - Issue 2 - p 189-193. (https://journals.lww.com/co-psychiatry/Abstract/2005/03000/Exercise_and_well_being__a_review_of_mental_and.13.aspx)
- How Mental Health Affects Physical Health. (https://onlinedegrees.bradley.edu/blog/how-mental-health-affects-physical-health/)