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As one in five adults experience at least one mental illness, it’s very important to talk about it. Fortunately, many people are starting to talk openly about mental health and their journey for a better mind. But the topic of mental health still needs more exploration and discussion. Especially about the link between mental and physical health; for example, it is known mental health varies, there are very severe diseases such as schizophrenia that are linked to heart and respiratory diseases to less severe mental illnesses that are linked to fatigue.

What is Mental Health?

Mental health is wellness for your mind, whether it be emotionally, socially or just your thoughts. And just like your physical body, your mental well-being can get injured as well, and many people look over the fact that your mind can have diseases just like their physical body. This is dangerous because those who think that don’t take certain steps to prevent them from happening, which in turn can hurt their physical body as well. Some diseases that affects your mental health are Depression, Anxiety disorders, Schizophrenia, Eating disorders, Bipolar depression, and Addictive behaviors.

The link to mental health and physical health is that, mental health can affect what decisions you make, whether it is healthy or unhealthy. If a person has a good mental health, they are more likely to make healthy decisions, such as eating right, exercising and doing other things that improve both their mental and physical health. While if a person has bad mental health, they are more likely to make unhealthy decisions because the illness they have hinders them from taking certain steps to improve their wellness. For instance, those with poor mental health struggle with giving up addicting habits such as smoking and consuming alcohol, and they are also reluctant to go to routine checkups, putting them at risk for some major health issues.

 

Poor mental health puts you at risk for:

·       Heart disease

·       High blood pressure

·       Weakened immune system

·       Asthma

·       Obesity

·       Gastronomical problems

·       Premature death

·       Diabetes

·       suicide

·        

 

Benefits of having good mental health:

 

·       Realize their full potential

·       Cope with the stresses of life

·       Work productively

·       Make meaningful contributions to their communities

·       Sharper memory and thinking

·       Higher self-esteem

·       Better sleep

·       More energy

·       Stronger resilience

 

5 ways to improve mental health

1. Exercising

Exercising is a great way to improve mental health because it helps you clear your mind, improve your mood, self-esteem and energy level. But what makes exercise is so great? Well, it’s all owed to chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins, they are released and their job is to make your body feel great, while they ease and combat mental illnesses, for instance anxiety and depression, exercise is even considered an antidepressant medication.  It just makes you feel good, something the mental illness doesn’t do, and even just a 10-15-minute walk can make the difference. Exercise a stress reliever as well, which is great considering how detrimental stress is on the body, especially if you have a chronic illness like psoriasis, where flares are triggered by mental stress. It can also serve as a distraction; it encourages your brain to build new pathways that promotes calmness and well-being.

2. Nutrition

Poor mental health calls for poor decisions, and one of those poor decisions is what they are consuming. Many are eating unhealthy foods, and low nutrient foods are linked to pretty severe mental illnesses. Stay away from the processed foods, refined carbs, sugary foods, and fast food. Not only does it make you feel bad, but it puts you at risk for obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and many more diseases. Also avoid skipping meals, skipping meals makes you tired and will make you develop a very unhealthy snacking habit. Eating a balanced diet help increase brain function, and fight development of other mental illnesses. Try to integrate fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains into your diet, it will positively influence how you feel.

3. Getting support

Since mental illnesses can affect you socially, seek support from friends and family, they can give you that “push” you need to feel good. Your environment is a factor of how severe your mental illness is, a troubled situation at work, home or school can really affect you negatively and allow for your illness to grow. Therefore, it is imperative to create relationships within home, work and/or school, so you have room to improve. If you are nervous to reach out soon, that’s okay, then go seek medical intervention from your doctor, you may need medication and counseling on top of these tips and that is more than okay!

4. Sleep

Sleep deprivation can be a cause of a mental illness, so it is important that you get a goods night rest. Getting the right amount of sleep, can make you feel “recharged” and improve your overall mood. Not getting enough sleep, also put you at risk for depression, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorder. Also sleep affects the neurotransmitters and stress hormones which can wreaks havoc in the brain, impairing thinking and emotional regulation. So, if you need tips on how to get a goods night rest, read into…

5. Give up the unhealthy habits

Mental illnesses encourage you to continue bad habits, such as eating unhealthily, smoking and alcohol consumption, they all have something in common, which is temporary relief. It gives an unhealthy reliance on something that doesn’t help with your mental health. For instance, the Nicotine in cigarettes interfere with chemicals in our brains, specifically the “feel good” chemical of dopamine, and causes the addiction to nicotine for the need of that “feel good” feeling dopamine gives off, which alters your brain and puts you at risk for cancers as well respiratory diseases.

Sources: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/p/physical-health-and-mental-health

https://onlinedegrees.bradley.edu/blog/how-mental-health-affects-physical-health/

https://blog.bcbsnc.com/2019/05/mental-health-affects-physical-health/

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/sleep-and-mental-health

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