Mental and physical well-being are closely intertwined. When individuals struggle with emotional baggage, they accumulate stress, resulting in high cortisol levels. Such aggravated cortisol levels lead to high blood pressure, increased chances of stroke, and lung conditions. As a result of distress, many people adopt harmful habits that adversely affect their sleep patterns, eating habits, and routine life.
Continuing with such unhealthy practices can lead to chronic health issues – physical and psychological. Besides, it’s well-established by healthcare professionals that various physical problems stem from mental health issues. To understand more about this, let’s read ahead:
- Lose sight of reality
One of the most common ways mental health issues can lead to physical ailments is by letting us slip into unhealthy habits. For instance, people battling stress often resort to drugs to seek solace. Unfortunately, it damages the brain’s ability to function since it starts relying on substances to keep it stable.
Research proves that there’s a close connection between stress and substance abuse. When people, mostly young adults and teenagers, suffer from stress or depression, they indulge in drugs to relieve their condition. Excessive drug indulgence can aggravate health complications, leading to chronic diseases. That’s why immediate intervention and addiction treatment is crucial – like therapy. However, suppose the problem of substance abuse persists. In that case, a rehab center can help the individual get started by offering workable solutions.
The rehab journey begins with purging the body of toxic chemicals injected by the user, usually done with an extreme detox process. It can be a slightly uncomfortable process, but it’s crucial to overcome substance abuse. We’d suggest you learn more about detoxification if you’re considering going for it.
- Increased chances of heart diseases
Many researchers suspect that people with hypertension type A personality are more likely to suffer from heart problems and high blood pressure. The exact reason is unclear.
However, the main reason is that stress increases heart rate and blood flow, causing all types of fats to be released into the bloodstream, including cholesterol and triglycerides. Stress may also contribute to other health issues, such as smoking and being overweight, indirectly increasing the risk of heart disease.
The medical community knows that serious cardiac problems, including heart attacks, are triggered by sudden emotional stress. Those suffering from heart problems should keep acute stress to a minimum and figure out ways to cope effectively with life’s inevitable stresses.
Nonetheless, physical activity is an incredible way to maintain physical and mental well-being. You can either indulge in a rigorous workout session or spend time close to nature. These activities help increase endorphins, chemicals in the brain that produce a pleasing feeling. Many people include brisk walking, swimming, or exercising in their daily routines to keep their energy levels maintained. Even a walk on the beachside or a stroll in the park improves mood, energy, and mental alertness.
- Inability to maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is close to impossible when battling mental health issues. When juggling various things together, people often skip meals or consume too much later. Sleep patterns are also disrupted, which results in a slower metabolism and unhealthy eating habits. Those suffering from mental illnesses either completely stop eating or binge eat.
Depression is a common mental illness that affects our mood and often leads to unintentional weight fluctuation. Many people turn to food (especially junk food) for comfort or temporarily fill the emotional void. In contrast, others even lose their ability to enjoy food. Similarly, anxiety can also lead to poor dietary choices and take its toll on our weight, causing unnecessary fatigue, weakness, or low blood pressure.
When you stop taking nutrients and fluids, you are at risk of malnutrition, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances. On the other hand, rapid weight gain leads to increased cortisol production, unhealthy stress-related behaviors, or even a synergistic effect of both.
To break the unhealthy eating cycle, you need to prioritize your mental health. As discussed earlier, moving your body and getting outdoors can help you clear your head and eliminate stress. Moreover, you can indulge in mindful eating. Keeping your attention to what you eat can lower your stress level and facilitate weight loss. You can also prevent weight gain by keeping yourself hydrated. A dehydrated body confuses thirst with hunger, causing you to eat at inappropriate hours.
Drinking more water will help you better distinguish thirst from hunger. You will automatically reduce your food cravings once you learn what your body craves.
- Aging at an accelerated pace
Stress significantly affects the aging process. If we see it in light of scientific evaluation, a study was conducted to compare the DNA of women under high pressure. Half of these women were told to care for a chronically ill child, while the other half wasn’t. Scientists found that a particular area of the chromosome showed signs of fast aging. This study concluded that aging occurred 9-17 years faster in women under high stress.
Another study examined the impact of stress on elderly caregivers who care for aging parents — individuals who already suffer from anxiety. The study found that caregivers had a 63% greater death rate than people of the same age who weren’t caregivers.
By now, it’s well-established that our mental health is crucial to our well-being. So, to take care of yourself both mentally and physically, you must:
- Avoid indulging in unhealthy habits (drugs abuse, smoking)
- Indulge in daily physical activity and keep yourself connected to nature
- Control your eating and sleeping habits by maintaining a proper diet
- Don’t be afraid to seek help
A big part of your general well-being is your mental health. It’s important to maintain a positive mental state to avoid severe health problems.
Stats show that keeping a positive outlook on life increases the mortality rate. On the other hand, poor mental health increases our chances of fatal diseases, like heart failure, cancer, asthma, arthritis, or even mental illnesses like schizophrenia or depression.
Stress affects people differently. They also deal with it differently. How you respond to stress influences how it will react to your body.