5 ways physical health connects to your mental health

According to the World Health Organization, “health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.”  Each of the factors mentioned before need to be aligned and working correctly.

Our mind is not separated from our body, and an imbalance in one of them can trigger side effects in the other.

Hormones are the way these two connect. Our bodies respond to external stimuli with different types of hormones based on our mind’s perspective or experience. Taking care of both of them is equally important.

We’ve found five ways in which your physical health connects to your mental health.

  • Nutrition

Our brains work with chemicals and nutrients that come straight from the food we eat. Still, not all food is nutritious nor provides us with everything we need, failing to eat healthy foods can affect our emotional state, energy levels and ability to focus.

These days, with fast food and processed goods, the quality of the things we eat has significantly diminished. The lack of nutrients can increase the possibility of anxiety and depression.

But that’s not the only way nutrition affects mental well-being. Still, because of the lack of nutrients, people tend to eat more to feel full, leading to eating disorders such as obesity or anorexia, which highly affect today’s society.

  • Exercise

Physical activity reduces symptoms of depression and stress, and increases self-esteem,  resilience, concentration, and memory.

While exercising, our bodies produce many of the so-called “feeling good hormones” serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins. After exercising, you may feel proud of yourself and in complete contact with your body.

Exercising not only produces good hormones, but it also lowers cortisol levels, which is known as the “stress hormone.” The same way that weight lifting (or any physical endurance for that matter) increases your capacity to be physically strong but also makes you mentally strong by developing force of will. 

  • Sleep

Sleeping is a restorative activity for the brain at the end of each day, just like we need to charge our phone’s battery after prolonged use, we need to recharge our brains.

Studies have shown that the brain goes into a passive role during sleep phases where it “resets” from daily experiences. It appears that a lack of sleep can significantly affect behavior and cause emotional distress.

Maintaining a constant sleep-wake cycle allows the body’s natural rhythm to reset every day and optimize brain functioning.

  • Substance abuse on mental health

Some people may recur to substance abuse to cover or temporarily deal with emotional distress or even to mask the fact that they have their mental wellbeing compromised; this is in some ways ‘self-medication,’ and it’s not good.

Drugs, in particular, have been connected to psychiatric illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorders, forms of anxiety, and phobias. These come into play when addicts are suffering from withdrawal symptoms.

There is also evidence that using some drugs may cause mental illness. For example, research has shown that cannabis can increase your chances of developing psychosis or a psychotic disorder.

Recurring to these substances is always a temporary escape, but it’s never the solution, and they can make things worse.

  • Social well-being

Humans are social creatures, that’s why the sentiment of belonging factors in such a positive sense. Community connection, social support, and an active participation in society are crucial for our mental health.

Strong relationships with friends and family are good for us, because we produce large amounts of oxytocin while engaging with them. Other forms of social interaction such as volunteering have the same effect.

  • Hydration is key for mental health

Dehydration can impact the way your brain runs on a cellular level since it needs water for neurotransmitters to work properly. When your body doesn’t have enough water, the chemical process in your brain can’t run smoothly.

Another way dehydration affects your mental health is that it slows down blood circulation. Resulting in less oxygen traveling through your body, including your brain. 

Studies confirmed that this might lead to severe headaches, fatigue, degraded mood, increased perception of task difficulty, lower concentration, constipation, sadness, and incapability. 

The quality of the water you drink also plays a vital role in this case. Packaged water and water coming straight from the tap could be contaminated and harmful to our bodies, doing anything but good.

Purified alkaline water has smaller molecules that enter cells easily. It also provides great amounts of minerals necessary for proper brain functioning, such as magnesium, and helps boost your overall health. If you want to learn more about its benefits, visit https://continentalsmartsolutions.com/alkaline-water/.

You may be interested in checking out this article on why you should have purified water at home.

Remember that mental health is an important issue. If you’re struggling with it, make sure you’re getting help from a professional, take care of yourself.

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