Why Physical Health Is So Important for Your Mental Health
Mental health is so important to your wellbeing, and there is definitely a relationship between your body and your mind. Doing physical activities like sports, jogging, yoga, or walking, you are having a profound effect on your mind and mental health. This is not only an injection of dopamines and positive chemicals in your brain, telling your body that this is a great thing for you, but it can change your thought patterns as well. Getting out of your usual routine, and running around your town after work, for example, is sometimes just what you need to get out of your usual thought patterns, and let your brain experience something new. Having these different thoughts, and needing to think about your body, your performance, and pushing yourself to your limits, is a great way to get into a positive headspace. Doing this can not only make you feel better in the moment but can create long-lasting thought patterns and effects to your mind as well.
Your diet, and what you eat, is also really important for your physical health, and therefore your mental health as well. Your diet can vastly affect your mood, irritability, energy levels, or the amount your sleep as well. Everyone’s ideal diet is different, and there is no one way to eat. Making healthier food choices, and eating regularly will make much more of a difference than you think. All these elements of your life are so important, and all interlink. Paying attention to each element, and working on the individual, can have massive effects on your whole life and mental wellbeing. Read on to find out how you can improve each of these elements, and how you go about making positive changes in your life.
Don’t shy away from using your body, and getting sweaty or out of breath at least once a week, or when you can fit it in. Exercise can be any activity that you find fun and exciting, and that gets you to use your body and your fitness. Did you hate running when you were younger? Then try something different. Do you like using your arms? Then why not give swimming a go? There is a sport or activity out there to suit everyone’s interests and needs, and there is something convenient for everyone to do. You could try bouldering, squash, badminton, kayaking, bodybuilding, or hockey. There are so many things you can try out there, so there is no excuse to not get involved.
Pushing yourself, raising your heart rate, and getting sweaty is a good indicator that you are improving your fitness each time your exercise. Using your body in this way will pump positive chemicals and hormones throughout your body, and give you a glowing feeling of well being afterwards. Many people use exercise as a way to ease their depression and anxiety, so why not try doing something with your body, and feel the positive effects it can have on your physical health and mental health too.
Many people can get put off when starting out exercising, especially if you already have depressive thoughts. Although it is good to be ambitious and set goals for yourself so you can strive further and achieve more, when your starting out there is no real need to set difficult goals for yourself. If you are starting out exercising, your goal should be to have fun, and try and raise your heart rate or sweat a bit. If you aim to run 5km in a certain time when you have never really ran before, this could be a difficult goal to achieve, and if you have a tendency to give up you might be tempted to. If your goal is to enjoy the run, and push your limits, this is a much better goal for someone starting out. Aiming to improve your fitness is a fantastic goal to have, as this will happen naturally each time you exercise. Although it is great to be ambitious and set great goals for yourself, sometimes just enjoying it and pushing yourself is a great goal to have at the beginning.
What You Eat
Once you start exercising, it is much easier to tell what food is working for you and what doesn’t. It will also get your appetite to kick in, because your body will need to replenish itself, ready for the next time you exercise. If you struggle with having an appetite, this will be great for you. If you struggle with eating too much, or eating a lot of fast food, you will also see the effects on your body as well. You will feel your heart rate racing and your heart working hard, if it is clogged up with saturated fats if you have a high cholesterol. Exercise is an interesting way to understand your body better, and what it needs. You might find yourself eating more regularly, or even eating more or less. Listening to your appetite, and not restricting your food intake is definitely advisable. Eating lots of healthy foods is far better than eating a little fast food. Eating at regular times, and not late at night for example, will also help your sleep patterns too, which is worth keeping in mind.
Thinking about exercise, using your body, and your diet is a fantastic way to improve or maintain your mental health. The effects that exercise can have on all aspects of your health is phenomenal, and many people who have suffered from mental health issues will tell you the positive effects that exercise has had on your life. If you feel you need a bit more help or someone to talk to about your mental health, don’t be afraid to reach out. Seeing if your workplace offers EAP services is a great place to start, or enquiring about counselling near you. Your mind, body, and what you eat are all interlinked, and so improving one aspect can have a great knock-on effect on the rest of your life.
*This is a collaborative post*