Physical & Mental Health in Psychology

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When people are in good physical shape, their mental health tends to follow in the same positive direction. When people do not feel well physically, it can often have a detrimental effect on their mental state. Alternatively, if we are not feeling good mentally, it is often more difficult to perform and feel well physically. In addition, poor mental health can lead to actual physical pain and other ailments. Headaches, muscle pain, and even neck and back pain can be tied to mental health difficulties. It is important for people to understand that good physical fitness can not only improve but also maintain a good mental state. By knowing how the two work together as well as following a few simple tips, anyone can feel better and see an improvement in both their bodily and mental health.

How Physical and Mental Health Work Together

Both our physical and mental health goes hand in hand to ensure that we live healthier, happier lives. Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly are more alert, sleep better, and have an overall better sense of well-being. The mind and body are linked together, and both play important roles in ensuring that we feel our absolute best. If you or someone you know is feeling depressed, regular walks can help them to feel more relaxed and better in general. Walking, swimming, and running can all be attributed to an increase in endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that give us positive thoughts and feelings. In addition, regular exercise ensures that we are healthier overall, which will help us to focus on our mental state in order to feel better. It also allows people to better manage stress and cope with difficult situations. Feeling strong physically allows people to feel stronger mentally as well.

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Tips for a Healthier Physical and Mental State

Here are some simple tips that you can follow to help you be stronger and in better overall physical shape:

  1. Get enough sleep each night. When we do not get adequate rest, the following day can be more difficult. Getting good sleep helps people to stay focused, have a more positive outlook, and stay energized.
  2. Exercise as often as possible. Simple walks or weight training, yoga, or swimming can all release endorphins as well as improve muscular strength. A few times per week, go for a walk or do some exercises.
  3. Eat nutritious foods. Eating junk food can make people feel sluggish and tired. By providing the body with healthy nutrients from proteins, grains, fruits, and vegetables, the mood stabilizes and we feel more energetic throughout each day.
  4. Stay away from smoking and alcohol. Drinking and smoking are not only unhealthy for your body physically; they can also take their toll on the brain. A hangover can make people feel worse and more depressed. Avoid smoking altogether. If you decide to drink, do so in moderation.
  5. Try to get some sunlight every day. Even small doses of natural sunlight will help to increase the body’s intake of vitamin D, which is essential for good mental health. You do not have to exercise to get sunlight. An afternoon of gardening, spending time with friends, or just sitting outside will suffice.
  6. Learn more about the mental and physical health connection. Make notes or keep a journal about how you are feeling each day. On the days where you do not get enough sleep, how is your mental health? How about the days where you exercise. Do you notice a difference? Understanding and noticing the connections are great steps towards ensuring that you feel better in both body and mind.
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About the Author: Ann Steele

This website is co-authored by Ann Steele, a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego with extensive experience with children and adolescents. Ann Steele attended American School Of Psychology & Argosy University Online. She especially enjoys using music therapy for mental and emotional well-being.

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