Often times we hear people talking about mental and physical health as if they are two separate issues. Now, sometimes they can be. For instance, I may have a great mental fortitude to survive the cancer I’m going through, but that doesn’t mean that my attitude isn’t affecting my physical health as well. Patients who are going through a tough physical ailment often do better if they have a more optimistic outlook on life versus those who sulk or sink into depression. That is because our health and our being aren’t just purely physical or mental. One does affect the other in some way, shape or form.
A 2012 study showed that when you take better care of your mental well-being then your physical well-being will follow. Those who didn’t have a mental illness tended to take better care of themselves, they exercised more and ate better than those with a mental illness or those suffering from emotional issues like anxiety or depression. This is also true because people who have mental illnesses are usually stigmatized in society. They feel that they can’t turn to anyone for help, not even their friends or family. So they go into isolation mode and just eat what is laying around like potato chips etc. Whereas those without mental illness are able to ask for help or suggestions on healthy eating and exercises etc. They are also happier so they are able to interact and socialize better for a longer period of time. Meaning those people without mental illness are getting some serious gym time in and may even join a few more exercise classes than their counterparts who have mental illnesses or emotional issues.
Mental illness shouldn’t be stigmatized because a person with a mental illness can’t choose to have or not have that illness. You should know that if you have a mental illness it’s okay to seek help for not only your mental being but for your physical being. The truth is that mental illness is growing in the USA today 25% of Americans suffer from mental health issues and 60% don’t seek help because they feel rejected by the outside world. This is sad when you think that someone who has had a stroke or a heart attack didn’t choose that and neither do the people with mental health issues.
If you are feeling down it’s so important to get help not only for your mental well-being but also for your physical well-being. 30% of women who believe they have depression actually end up having a thyroid or other disorder causing the depression. Without proper medication, they cannot be physically and mentally better. So why is it important that we keep our mind healthy for our body’s sake?
Well, it’s because emotional illnesses like depression have been linked to major physical diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Those who have had a history of depression or struggle with depression are 67% more likely to have a death from heart disease than those without a history with depression and on that same note, those with a history of depression are 50% more likely to die of cancer. Those with schizophrenia were 50% more likely to die of heart disease and 3 times more likely than a regular person to die of a respiratory illness. Why is this the case?
Not only does attitude play a role in how our bodies heal, but it’s also because those suffering mentally are less likely to go in for routine check-ups, they are less likely to exercise, more likely to smoke, more likely to eat fast foods or other processed foods, and more likely to isolate themselves from normal social interactions that actually help your brain function mentally and physically. Get those neurons firing and socialize!
If you or someone you love is suffering from a mental illness make sure they are getting the health care they need and deserve. If you are suffering make sure you get off that sofa no matter how hard it might be (and it’s really hard some days for those depression, anxiety and other mental illness sufferers) and at least go to the store to buy some healthy food or go to the gym and pump a little iron. It sounds strange but baby-stepping a healthy physical lifestyle will help you with your mental health in the short and long run. So don’t be that person who isolates themselves from the world. There is a whole world out there waiting for you and your body wants you to know it!