A healthy lifestyle – the key to physical and emotional health

The link between mental and physical health

A study by Harvard Medical School, clearly shows that there is a major link between emotional health and physical health. The results indicate that with the fast paced and stressful life we live today, more and more people are likely to slip into periods of depression. The mental health issues that result can bring about a variety of physical problems. These include digestive disorders, trouble sleeping, listlessness and even more serious illnesses such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.


Here’s the good news

Fortunately, though, there are ways to get one’s mind and mood in great shape and keep them that way.

The first step is adopting a really balanced and healthy lifestyle. This takes effort and will power, but if one takes the appropriate steps, everyone can achieve it.

Because the mind and the body are so directly interlinked, when we improve physical health, we automatically develop greater mental and emotional well-being. Physical activity also releases endorphins. These are the chemicals that lift one’s mood and provide added energy. So, regular exercise or activity can have a major impact on mental and emotional health problems, relieve stress, improve memory, and help you to sleep better.


So, let’s have a look at a couple of the steps you should be taking:

  • Keep physically active
    - Aim to be physically active every day – remember that any form of physical activity is going to be beneficial health-wise. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and break up long periods of inactivity during your workday by moving around more.
    -  Get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity every day.
    - If you are short of time, brisk walking is a good way of achieving this. Aim to walk at least 3,000 steps and keep building on this figure. Use one of the excellent phone apps to track the number of steps you take.
  • Take care of your Cognitive health
    -    Keep your mind active.
  • Stay connected with social activities. Connecting with other people keeps your brain active, boosts mood and gives a sense of purpose.
  • Manage stress using techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises
  • Eat a balanced and varied diet and maintain a healthy weight
    Combined with sufficient physical activity, good nutrition is probably the single most important key to leading a healthy lifestyle. Keeping to a healthy diet is an important way to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes. It also helps to keep your brain healthy. The diet should contain fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, and poultry. Try to stick to low-fat or nonfat dairy products, and limit the amount of saturated fats, sugar, and salt you eat. Limit portion sizes and drink plenty of water or other beverages.
  • Moderate your alcohol intake
    In the 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it recommends that alcohol should only be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. It goes without saying that one should not smoke.
  • Get plenty of good healthy sleep.
    Poor sleep is linked to weakened immune systems, anxiety and depression. Healthy sleep, on the other hand, repairs and restores the vital functions that keep your mind and body healthy. Make sure to take full advantage of this by getting enough healthy sleep.


Why Mental Health is so Important

Because our thoughts, feelings and behavior are so intimately connected with our physical wellbeing, negative, worrying thoughts can develop into a vicious cycle, affecting our quality of life and long-term health.

Because of the pandemic, the upcoming 2020 holiday season is also going to look a lot different this year. With no big family gatherings at Thanksgiving or on New Year's Eve, it could be quite a mood downer.

So, it’s important to pre-empt this with the steps we’ve outlined above. In this way, you can hopefully learn to manage your feelings and emotional wellbeing, resulting in a healthier lifestyle and enhancing your ability to live a longer, healthier, more fulfilled life.