It seems appropriate that January is Mental Wellness Month. After all, what better way to start the new year (and recover from the non-stop hustle and bustle of the holiday season) than with a reminder to recharge your mental health?
Research continues to show that your mental health significantly impacts your physical health. Individuals with chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes are more likely to experience depression or anxiety. The opposite is true as well: Positive mental health (along with other factors) can reduce your risk of heart attack and other serious conditions. Strong mental health also helps boost your immune system, reducing your risk of getting sick.
So, how can you improve your mind-body connection? View some simple tips below.
Establish emotional balance
Emotional or mental wellness doesn’t mean you always have to be happy. That’s just not realistic. Part of the beauty of being a human is experiencing and learning from all emotions – the ups and downs, the good and the bad.
Emotional balance is the act of being aware of and experiencing your emotions instead of bottling them up inside. Here’s how it works:
- Acknowledge body and emotional changes. Take a moment to notice that you’re experiencing some type of emotion. You don’t have to identify it right away.
- Feel your feelings. Close your eyes and take a deep breath to help you identify your feelings. Do you have butterflies in your stomach? Do you feel a warmth or glowing feeling inside?
- Name the emotion. Words have power. By simply saying, “I feel anxious” or “I feel happy” you can start to respond productively instead of reacting unconsciously.
- Practice mindfulness. Being mindful can help you find emotional balance. Try meditation, yoga or breathing exercises to stretch your mindful muscle. The more you practice, the easier it will become to notice and name your emotions.
Find a purpose
A purpose in life – whether it’s in work, service, hobby or family – can help improve your mind-body connection. In fact, having a sense of purpose offers many benefits, including:
- Being happier;
- Living longer;
- Sleeping better;
- Improved heart health;
- And many others.
So, how can you find your purpose? It’s easier than you think. Below are a few examples:
- Explore your interests;
- Volunteer at local organizations important to you;
- Consider what you love to do;
- Talk to friends and family;
- Try new experiences.
Having a purpose doesn’t mean you need to climb Mt. Everest or start a non-profit. It simply means finding a passion or purpose that helps you live your life. It allows you to focus on the things that matter most.
Keep healthy habits a priority
Physical health and mental health are interconnected. You have to take care of your body in order to take care of your mind. Here are a few healthy habits that should always be a priority:
- Eat healthy. Small changes, a balanced diet and plenty of fresh fruits and veggies are a strong foundation to any diet.
- See your doctor. Wellness visits and preventive screenings ensure you stay healthy. Sick visits help you recover from illness or injury sooner.
- Sleep well. A good night’s sleep allows your body to rest, recharge and function properly.
- Manage stress. Long-term stress takes a serious toll on your mental and physical health. Keep stress in check with some simple strategies
Our mental health plays an important role in our physical health. Focusing on habits that improve our mental and physical health makes us all healthier, happier and stronger.
The information on this website is not intended to be medical advice. Medical advice can only be provided by your personal health care provider.