Why Good Mental Health Is Important To Good Physical Health

Man running through a grassy forest

It’s a well-known fact that exercise is one of the most natural and reliable ways to improve your mental health, but the reverse can also be true. With a positive state of mind and good mental health, your physical health benefits from this as well.

Here are some of the top reasons why good mental health is important to good physical health.

A Sound Mind Equals A Sound Body

Physical ailments get a lot of mainstream media attention for their negative impact and fatality rates. Fortunately, mental health issues are starting to get more recognition as well, especially since various types of mental health problems affect such a high percentage of youth and adults today. For example, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States and affect over 40 million adults each year. Depression, another one of the top mental health struggles, has a large reach as well.

Seeking treatment for these mental health problems is crucial for so many reasons, notably because when you seek treatment for anxiety, depression and other mental health issues, your physical body also benefits. With good mental health comes better quality and frequency of sleep, regular heart rhythm, and improved breath pattern. (Those who suffer from severe anxiety have to deal with rapid heart rate and shallow breathing, which may trigger panic attacks in extreme scenarios). By dealing with these mental health issues at the source, the physical health of the whole body improves.

Mental Health Impacts Diet And Food Choices

When you’re dealing with mental health issues, including high stress, your diet is often one of the first things to suffer. Depending on how you deal with stress, your appetite may disappear as a coping mechanism, or you may fall into the same category as a majority of the population and turn to emotional eating. Emotional eating is using food to make yourself feel better: eating to satisfy emotional needs instead of the physical need of hunger. You may eat as a form of procrastination, to deal will feelings of sadness or depression, to distract from feelings of listlessness, or as some other form of coping.

Emotional eating can have a significant long-term impact on the body and your physical health. When you frequently overindulge or eat needlessly, your body’s biological responses that determine when you’re hungry or not hungry can be thrown off, which leads to confusion and inaccurate signals between your cell receptors. Furthermore, your brain begins to rule your stomach, and food takes on a pleasurable quality, which leads to more and more eating.

The obvious side-effect of emotional eating is potential weight gain, but there are also mental health repercussions, such as decreased self-esteem and worsening of the issues that were fueling emotional eating habits in the first place.

When your mental health stays strong, your eating habits are more likely to stay on track and keep your physical health positive.

Good Mental Health Is Necessary For Top Physical Performance

If you’re in training or do any competitive athletics, then you probably already realise the importance of mental health to physical performance. Mental health and strength play a huge role in your ability to compete and succeed. Only when you are mentally strong can your body be truly physically strong.

If you’re training for a race or upcoming athletic event, don’t underestimate the importance in training your mind in addition to training your body.

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