Which Is More Important? Physical or Mental Health?

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For most individuals, it is essential for them to get the optimum experiences from life in every opportunity that is presented because after all, you will only live once. The common saying “Life shouldn’t be taken seriously” allows us to be more carefree and not worry too much, but it is wise to seize every moment since death can never be predicted. In order to get as much as possible out of life, physical health and mental wellbeing are important factors to consider. In the earlier years of medical management, diseases were handled with dissociation of the mind. Only recently that holistic approach is promulgated; thus, the entirety of the human person is taken into consideration.

The Mind-Body Connection

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Western medicine emphasizes on the pathology and physical response from the pathology.  Then again, more research studies suggest that other dimensions of the human person are also affected if the physical aspect is compromised. In short, the problem from one area will result in dysfunction in all entity. Recent studies show that poor mental health is also detrimental to physical fitness. As Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD said in the article he reviewed titled ‘How to Build Good Emotional Health, “Working on our emotional health is just as important as taking care of our physical well-being.”

Statistics show that individuals with depression have an increased risk of death associated with heart conditions and cancer. Furthermore, the diagnosis of schizophrenia is linked to doubling the risk of heart disease and thrice the danger of death from respiratory ailments. Interestingly, some studies suggest that neglect of physiological necessities can also result in mental health issue. Take, for instance, sleep deprivation. It is believed that lack of sleep can predispose a person from developing depression. It also concluded that sleeping less than 5 hours a day can affect decision making, concentration, and moods.

One reason why physical health is neglected in individuals with mental health problems is that they are preoccupied with their psychological turmoil or don’t have the energy and motivation to perform tasks of daily living. Frequently, it is evident in cases of depression where a patient can go on for days with taking a bath. Also, statistically persons using mental health services are less likely to subject themselves to routine checks and follow recommended screening tests. Moreover, they are not expected to give up on their vices such as smoking, substances and unhealthy lifestyle.

Strategic Approaches

Lifestyle also plays a vital role in both physical and mental health. Adapting a routine of being always on the go is good for a person’s physiological wellbeing as well as the psychological state. There are numerous studies to indicate that exercise or any form of physical activity can do wonders for our body. The more we are mobile, the more it increases our mental alertness and induces positive mood. Aerobic exercise can be great for the cardiovascular system. Exercise even in milder forms can improve the quality of life. Andrea M. Risi, LPC said in her online article titled ‘Get Moving: Chronic Illness and the Benefits of Exercise,  “Not only can exercise help with physical symptoms, but it can improve emotional issues such as depression and anxiety as well.”

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Nutrition is a very critical element in influencing emotions and mood. We always hear this statement from health experts that a balanced diet can improve and maintain our physical and mental health states. According to Sharon Wilkinson, DPsych(Clinical), a clinical psychologist, “The food that we eat and our behaviours around food play a pivotal role in our ability to manage our overall health and physical and mental well-being. Our food choices not only strongly influence our bodies capacity to function but also has the ability to influence how we think and feel.” One is encouraged to take the recommended daily allowance of proteins, essential fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, mineral, and water. It might sound farfetched but eating fish regularly can, in fact, make you a happier.

In conclusion, we should always work towards a balanced, healthy state of mind and body. There is no such thing as one dimension is much essential thus it should be given more weight and attention. In the curative aspect, this can be the case. However, in the prevention of specific illness and the promotion of health, all are taken equally to obtain positive results.