Why is Mental and Physical Health Important?
In May we have covered the importance of a person’s mental health on their physical health. We know both mental and physical health impact each other significantly.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare states that people with mental illnesses are more likely to develop physical illnesses.
Bad mental health doesn’t only manifest as psychological conditions. It can also increase the risk of chronic medical conditions including back pain, arthritis and digestive problems.
Alternatively, good physical health can improve mental and emotional health by reducing stress and increasing brain function.
Impacts on Social Life
With poor mental and physical health, our social life can be significantly impacted. It can prevent us from socialising. The same thing happens to our mental health.
When mental health and physical health impact each other, there is a higher chance of social seclusion and isolation. This impacts our emotional and mental health as human beings are very social and thrive on connections with others.
Impacts on Relationships
Relationships also suffer when mental and physical health are impacted in your personal life. Increases in isolation and reduced socialising with friends can significantly impact the quality and strength of these relationships.
These withdrawal techniques can push away friends and loved ones and leave you feeling lonely and depressed. Alternatively, strong relationships can be used to counteract these overwhelming thoughts and feelings.
Relationships with others can offer the support, motivation, understanding and compassion we might need. Supportive friendships can further encourage and assist with mental and physical health balance.
How to Find a Balance
Here are some actions you can take to optimise your mental and physical health:
- Eat Well: Give your body the nutrition it needs to stay healthy!
- Exercise: This doesn’t have to be a strenuous activity, especially if you have a chronic condition or injury. A slow walk around the block or 10-minute stretch would suffice.
- Sleep: Our body does most of its healing and resetting during sleep. Set aside 30 minutes before bed to relax and wind down.
- Dedicate Time for your Friends and Loved Ones: Being social is a huge part of our mental and emotional health. The support and connection we develop is crucial for our well-being. Setting time aside to speak to a friend or for face-to-face interactions is a great way to prioritise mental health.
- To also balance your physical health, you can decide to do an activity with a friend! Go on a walk or join an exercise class together.
- Dedicate Time for Yourself: Do something you enjoy!
- Balance Work and Life: Being too consumed by one over the other can really impact your mental and physical health. Finding a common ground between work and life can not only make you healthier and happier but can also help with productivity and motivation.
- Reach Out to a Professional: We know by now that reaching out to a medical and psychological professional is not a sign of weakness. The support, encouragement, and guidance they provide can further encourage a balanced lifestyle.
- Get Outside: Nature and sunlight are important in maintaining good mental and physical health.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2020), Physical health of people with mental illness, <https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/physical-health-of-people-with-mental-illness>.