A lot of people mistakenly think of their physical and mental wellbeing as two separate and independent things and don’t realize how interconnected they truly are.
This article will show you some ways that they are closely associated with one another so that you can learn how to improve both simultaneously.
What you eat influences how you think and feel on so many different levels. You might be aware of the positive effects that food has on your mood, especially certain ones that might not necessarily be best for people in the long run.
For example, comfort foods might be a quick source of energy that uplifts your mood, but it is usually short-lived, and not to mention can have a negative effect on your physical health, such as unwanted weight gain, higher blood sugar levels, and increased cholesterol.
However, there are healthy options out there that can help you feel better in both regards, not just one or the other.
Making the right dietary choices can give you the energy and motivation to get through each day, and it will be much more sustainable and with consistency, you will most likely also notice other positive changes, like weight loss, that can benefit your self-esteem.
In addition to being conscious of this, you should also become more aware of the mind-gut connection. Believe it or not, your gastrointestinal tract (GI) is connected to your brain, and this also affects how you feel. A basic example of this association at work is feeling nauseous when anxious.
Also, serotonin, the neurotransmitter that influences your mood and other aspects of your health, is primarily found in this digestive system, and therefore, paying attention to what you eat can potentially be helpful for treating or preventing mental health issues like anxiety and depression, which are linked to lower serotonin levels.
Exercise also demonstrates the connection between your physical and mental health, and it should be engaged in order to improve both of them.
Getting regular physical exercise is known to have several different benefits, and there are a variety of choices to suit various goals – for example, one individual might be more interested in weight management, cardiovascular activity, and endurance, whereas another may be focused on building muscle and strength.
In addition to these physical benefits, there is a significant amount of research that shows that exercise is an effective way to enjoy the mental benefits.
One of the main ones that you might already be familiar with are endorphins, which are natural chemicals in the body that can help you feel good. This biological effect alone makes exercise scientifically proven to help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by managing their symptoms and learning how to relax.
Returning to the topic of goals, like the changes that can happen through altering your diet, reaching your goals and seeing the fruits of your labor can also boost your mood and self-esteem.
If you exercise outside, such as running and jogging, you can also take advantage of some of the mental health benefits that are associated with being outside in the sun and in nature. A lack of sunlight is correlated with depression symptoms, as seen with seasonal affective disorder, and the outdoors, particularly in green spaces, can help calm the mind.
What Other Options Are Available?
Taking care of your physical health alone won’t be what it takes to achieve good mental health, but it can make it easier to cope with issues and give you a better attitude and outlook on life.
At the same time, you can greatly increase your chances of success by working closely with a counselor or therapist who can provide you with coping skills that are essential for your wellbeing and will help you stay on course to reaching your goals in both your physical and mental health. After all, it can be hard to stay motivated to eat right and exercise, if you feel too stressed.
MyTherapist helps individuals connect to licensed professionals online who can teach them how to manage their issues, and for many people, finding a helping hand is exactly what they need – you’re not alone. You can also enjoy free advice on a variety of topics and learn ways to achieve mental wellness on your own.
Taking care of yourself in all aspects is crucial, and hopefully this article has shown you how you can focus on your physical and mental health at the same time. Diet and exercise are typically important components of any self-care regimen, and if you’re looking to see meaningful change in your wellbeing, this is where you should look first.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with MyTherapist.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.