Mental and physical health is perhaps the most well-known markers of overall well-being. While these two spheres of well-being frequently stand alone in discussions, research reveals that there is indeed a connection between the two. In fact, recent data has illustrated how powerful this link can be. An individual’s physical health can have a significant impact on his or her mental state.
Conversely, poor mental health can also negatively impact an individual’s physical health and vice versa. In this blog post, we will discuss the ways in which physical and mental health are linked, including how they affect each other positively or negatively and what you can do to improve both your physical and mental well-being.
Depression and Anxiety Can Cause Physical Health Problems
People with mental health issues are at increased risk for developing a variety of physical health problems, including certain types of cancer and heart disease. Similarly, people with certain physical health problems can experience changes in their mental health.
For example, people with Type 2 diabetes are at increased risk of depression and anxiety. In fact, these mental health issues are just as common in people with medical conditions as they are in people without any disorders.
The Bi-Directional Link Between The Two
Physical health problems like pain and certain chronic diseases, like cancer, are well known for increasing the risk of mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
This is often referred to as 'the bi-directional' link between physical and mental health since both spheres can cause problems in the other. While it is often assumed that mental health issues are caused by physical health problems, this is not necessarily the case.
For example, research has shown that chronic pain is more likely caused by psychological factors than physical ones. It is also seen that people with anxiety disorders may avoid exercise because they find it stressful. This could lead to poor physical health, such as obesity, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
Improving Your Physical Health Can Help Your Mental Health
Being overweight or obese, having low levels of physical activity, and having low levels of social support are all linked to poor mental health.
Also Read: Workplace Mental Health: 6 Ways To Manage Mental Health & Work
Similarly, healthy dietary patterns and regular sleep are linked to better mental health. These findings, though, are not set in stone. They are merely indications that certain aspects of physical health, like diet and exercise, can have an impact on mental health. What this means is that if you want to improve one, you need to improve the other. By improving your diet and implementing a regular exercise routine, you can likely improve your mental health.
A Word of Warning: Don’t Overlook the Link Between Mental and Physical Health
While there is plenty of evidence to suggest that mental and physical health are linked, what is often neglected is that mental health can also be linked to other areas of your life.
Also Read: Benefits of Sound Therapy for Mental Health
In addition to physical health, mental health is also linked to how you are doing in your relationships, your work, and how you are managing your emotions. Therefore, if you are struggling with your mental health, it may be a good idea to examine other aspects of your life to see if there could be a connection.
Similarly, if you are suffering from a physical health problem, it would also be important to examine other areas of your life.