We all know it’s important to stay physically fit, even if we don’t always do the things we should, like eat right and exercise regularly. But, did you know that good mental health — your emotional, psychological and social well-being — is just as important as physical health?
The mind-body connection
Your mental health can affect your mood, behavior, how you think and how you relate to others. It can even make it harder for you to focus on your physical needs, like getting care when you need it, taking medicine as prescribed, eating well or exercising. Certain illnesses, like depression and anxiety, can even increase your risk for physical health problems, such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, chronic pain and heart disease.
Additionally, if you live with chronic physical conditions, you may experience emotional stress, chronic pain, distress and loneliness, which can make existing symptoms of anxiety and depression worse.
Nurture your health
You know the drill:
Get an annual physical exam and regular dental exams. And to avoid preventable illnesses, make sure you get all recommended immunizations and screenings.
Feeling mentally or emotionally healthy makes it easier to deal with the stresses of everyday life — to keep problems in perspective and bounce back from setbacks. Especially during difficult times, remember to connect with loved ones, and find purpose and meaning in your life to help manage stress.
Make maintaining your health a goal
Taking care of your mental and physical health may seem like a major commitment or a goal that’s out of reach. But don’t overlook the small changes that you can make to help yourself.
Figuring out where you can make changes to support your mental and physical health is the first step in becoming a healthier you. Set realistic goals. And as you put your health plans into action, don’t forget to celebrate your successes.