Improving physical health can benefit mental well-being
As the year ends, we start looking forward to making resolutions that improve our physical health. The most common New Year’s resolution is, of course, the universal “get healthy and stay fit.”
Although 60 percent of us make resolutions upon ringing in the New Year, only about 8 percent are successful. Perhaps it's time to reframe our resolutions so that we have a fighting chance of seeing them through.
Although the most common resolution is to lose weight, the behaviors associated with weight loss (such as eating more fruits and vegetables and increasing physical activity) help improve mental health as well.
A growing body of research suggests there is an important relationship between the body and mind – and that being physically healthy can have the added benefit of improving mental well-being.
So, if you have vowed to improve your physical fitness in the New Year, you may notice mental health benefits as well.
Here are three behaviors known to enhance physical health that can also have a positive impact on mental well-being:
Exercise at least a few times per week. Many people hit the gym or pound the pavement to improve physical health, build muscle, or, of course, get a rockin’ bod, but working out has mental health benefits too. Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins.
Adopt a well-balanced diet. Recent evidence suggests that good nutrition is essential for our mental health. The evidence indicates that food plays an important role in the development, management, and prevention of specific mental health problems, like depression. A balanced mood and feelings of well-being can be protected by ensuring that our diet provides adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and water.
Sleep More. Getting adequate, quality sleep can help protect both mental and physical health. In today's fast-paced, always-connected, perpetually-hurried, and sleep-deprived world, our need for a good night’s sleep is more important than ever. In a culture that tends to dismiss the importance of sleep, let us be reminded that sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being.
Ultimately, your mind and body are connected on many levels – and being truly healthy includes both physical and mental health.
It is important to note that while changes in diet and lifestyle may make an important difference to your general mood and sense of well-being, they're not a substitute for treatment. If you are concerned you might be dealing with emotional or mental health issues, talk to your doctor or a local mental health provider, as talk-therapy may be an important part of your treatment.
From the providers at Your Vision Achieved, we wish you a happy and mentally healthy New Year!