Research shows that there is a connection between our physical health and our mental health. According to research by Vicki Brower, there is a connection between the mind and body.
Mental health affects our physical health due to the following risk factors:
- Genetics. If you have a family history of mental illness, There’s an increased chance of you having a mental illness as well.
- Mental health issues can affect your energy and motivation; this results in decreased physical activity that increases your risk for obesity, and other cardiovascular diseases.
- Those with mental illness who do not see a family provider or nurse practitioner increase their risk for mental illness and medical comorbidities.
- Medical illness can mask mental illness due to vague symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, and anxiety. Other vague symptoms would be insomnia, decreased concentration, and irritability.
- Marital or relationship stress, environmental stressors can also increase your risk for mental illness. A study by the American psychosomatic society in 2006 showed an increased hardening of the arteries when there are multiple marital disagreements.
What can you do to mitigate these risks of mental and medical illness?
- Healthy eating improves your mood and well-being. Choose colorful fruits and vegetables that prevent medical illness and prevents mental health conditions. According to Dean Ornish, Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and Founder, President, and Director of Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito California concluded that heart disease can be prevented with lifestyle changes, using meditation, moderate exercise, yoga, and low-fat vegetarian diet.
- Increase your physical activity. By being physically active, our mood is lifted. Our bodies produce feel-good hormones and chemicals in the brain that improves our mood, increases our energy and alertness.
- Abstain from alcohol or illicit substances. Alcohol is a depressant that affects your brain, liver, heart, and overall well-being. Your sleep will be affected due to increased alcohol use. Illicit substances also affect your mood and your overall health. Alcohol and drug use affect your relationships that affect your mental health.
- Foster your social relationships! Social support is very therapeutic to decrease stress. David Spiegel, Director of the psychosocial research laboratory at Stanford University, studied a large group of women with breast cancer. His research concluded that women who had breast cancer and had good social support had a better quality of life and decreased pain and had longer lives.
- If you are having issues with your relationships, mental health well-being, feeling depressed, make an appointment with your psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. If you are having difficulty with depression, anxiety, insomnia, click on this link for an appointment