Mental health is more than just the absence of a mental illness. Mental health is defined as a person’s cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being. The World Health Organization defines mental health as “…a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” A person’s physical health can be a contributing factor in his or her mental health.
Here are five ways physical health can affect your mental health:
1. Increased Memory Storage
Studies have shown that adults who exercise regularly have a bigger hippocampus, a limbic system structure located in the temporal lobe of the cerebral cortex, enabling them to have bigger spaces in their brains for memory storage.
2. Elevated Mood
Physical activities release endorphins, which have been proven to elevate a person’s mood. Activities such as running can produce these hormones and help put you in a happier state of mind.
3. Increased Confidence
Being physically fit enables the person to have more confidence and feel better about him or herself; thus, reducing stress, worries, and anxieties related to body image.
4. Decreased Risk of Disease
A physically fit individual is less likely to develop debilitating diseases such as diabetes, heart problems, and cancer that would, in turn, create stress and anxiety for a person in addition to the physical ailment
5. Better Concentration
Good physical health results in better concentration which could help enable an individual to focus more life goals and allowing the individual to have more control over his or her life.
Mental health is an aspect of life that every individual should be aware of and taking care of. There are multiple ways to take care of your mental health and taking care of your physical health is just one of those ways. So, consider making those changes in your diet and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Treat yourself with care so you are healthy physically and mentally!
Alexis Lopez is a recent graduate from the University of Florida where she graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She began interning under Amanda Landry at Caring Therapists of Broward in April 2017. Her interest in Counseling Psychology began during her time at UF when she took a class titled Intro to Counseling Psychology and has admired the field of counseling and therapy ever since. She hopes to one day become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor herself and is in the process of applying to graduate school. She looks forward to working with Amanda and her team at Caring Therapists of Broward and is eager to learn all she can during her time here.