There is an undeniably strong link between your mind and your body. Although mental health and physical wellbeing are compartmentalized and treated separately yet the association persists. In fact, the mind-body connection runs parallel to show a cause and effect relationship.
For instance, take a leaf from your daily life. If you feel down in the dumps, you may also feel tired consequently. Likewise, if you get sick, for example, with an infection and fever, there is a thick chance that the disease takes a toll on your mood. In fact, it mostly brings your spirits down. In the simplest possible explanation, this is the mind-body connection that most of us fail to spot.
Research also supports the correlation between physical and mental health. A case in point is patients with depression. Studies highlight that depression tends to augment the risk of death from heart diseases by 67%. Likewise, a severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has the potential to cause mild depression in roughly 22% of the patients.
This shows the poor mental health corresponds with negative implications on your physical well-being and vice versa. This correlation, however, points out the need for developing a strong mind-body connection so that you can improve both your psychological and physical health. Let’s walk you through some essential tips that are useful in this context:
It is essential to pay attention to what you are eating. This is because what you consume leaves an impact not only on your physical health but also mental well-being. There are foods that can amp up the levels of bad cholesterol and aggravate the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. At the same time, there are also foods that can make you feel low.
Healthy eating promotes good mind-body connectivity too. Psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD, an assistant clinical professor at Columbia University, confirms this proposition. He elucidates, “But diet is potentially the most powerful intervention we have. By helping people shape their diets, we can improve their mental health and decrease their risk of psychiatric disorders.”
A clearer, more relatable example can be taken from your hunger pangs. When you tend to be hungry and food is still not ready or so, you become angry. Science calls this “hangry” and it shows how neglecting your physical needs can evoke a mental response. Therefore, you should focus more on healthy eating.
Get proper rest
Sweeping your sleep under the rug is probably among the biggest mistakes that you can make for your health. Sleep-deprivation does not only result in yawns and fatigue but it also implicates both your psychological and physical well-being. Less than 40% of the US population gets the recommended hours of sleep according to a Gallop survey.
This is quickly growing into a problem, which is why the CDC is calling such an issue an epidemic. Folks who are not able to get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep are at a risk of developing anxiety, depression, and emotional disorders. At the same time, restlessness also increases the likelihood of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Sleeplessness is linked with physical health effects as well that fall beyond the problem of fatigue. It weakens your immune system, brushes up the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, and is also a contributory factor in weight gain. Therefore, it is fundamental on your part to strengthen your mind and body by fetching the required zzz.
Yoga is more than a buzzword that has taken the fitness realm by storm. It is an ancient practice that is known to show spiritual, mental, and physical health benefits. Daily yoga practice also improves your emotional well-being. This is probably the reason why the number of yogis has increased in the US from 20.4 million in 2012 to 36 million in 2016.
Yoga is known for its plethora of long-term health benefits as well mental health merits. This form of exercise also channels the internal connectivity between the brain and the body. In doing so, it shows numerous health benefits. Yogis are known for boasting a good mental and physical health. They also show more compassion.
Yoga improves your concentration, mental acuity, reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety as well. At the same time, yoga improves cardiovascular health and is also applauded for its role in cutting down the symptoms of asthma. Weekly yoga can also reduce joint stiffness by 35% and pain by 88% according to research.
Mindfulness translates into present-moment awareness or living in the moment. It is about detaching yourself from the worries and burdens of the future as well as the ghosts of the past so that you become aware of what is happening in the present. Often the hustle bustle of life takes a toll on the present and drags you either in the past or shoves you into the future.
This sucks dry the quality of your life. Eventually, it also affects your mental and physical health. But mindfulness ensures that you stay on top of your health game. Mindfulness curbs stress-related health concerns that easily account for 75-90% of visits to physicians. At the same time, research suggests that mindfulness, although a trick to improve psychological well-being, also helps curtail inflammation and diseases caused due to it.
Yoga promotes mindfulness. Mindfulness, in turn, encourages healthy eating too as you become more mindful of your choices. In addition to this, meditation is the widely known vehicle for achieving mindfulness or focusing on the present moments.
Regular exercise is another token to promote mind-body connection. In fact, exercise is an antidote that is proposed for several health issues, which fall in both the categories of mental and physical well-being.
A sedentary lifestyle is hazardous to your entire health. It leaves its negative consequences in the form of stress, obesity, bodily aches, poor cardiovascular health, and more. Studies reveal that the incidence of cardiovascular diseases can be brought down by 30-40% with regular exercise.
In fact, optimal brain and heart health can only be achieved by means of moderate intensity workouts. Exercise also boosts your social connections, which is another favorable aspect for your mind and body association. A poor social profile correlates with numerous health problems including poor brain health in the form of depression, anxiety, stress, and more. Gradually, this contributes to the risk of poor heart health.
Professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Richard Maddock, explains the role of exercise further. He points out, “Major depressive disorder is often characterized by depleted glutamate and GABA, which return to normal when mental health is restored. Our study shows that exercise activates the metabolic pathway that replenishes these neurotransmitters.” Thus, moving your muscles is another trick to strengthen the bridge between your mind and body.
All in all, you can boost your mind-body connection by means of mindfulness meditation, daily yoga, and regular exercise. Following a well-balanced nutritious diet plan is another tip for improving the association. There is an undeniable link between your physical and mental health, therefore, it is critical for you to strengthen their connection. Additionally, these tips are also helpful for cutting down the risk of numerous health diseases.