Butterflies in the stomach. Sweaty palms. A racing heartbeat. A shaky voice.
These are just a few well-documented cases of how stress or anxiety (your mental health) can bring on real physical symptoms. After all, we’ve all experienced these kinds of nerves before a big presentation or an important date. But what happens to the body when these “nerves” turn into longer bouts of anxiety and depression?
The short answer: It can have a serious impact on your health.
And what if you struggle with a chronic illness, like diabetes, high blood pressure or even cancer? That can impact your mental health.
The good news – understanding this mind-body connection can help you take charge of your whole health – mental, physical and emotional. Even better, there are steps you can take to reduce your stress and improve your health.
Let’s dive in.
Researchers have been studying the connection between mental and physical health for years. They’ve asked the big questions, like “How does our mental health affect our health?” and “Does a chronic condition put you at higher risk of a mental illness?”
Here are just a few interesting findings:
When it comes to staying mentally and physically strong, it comes down to the basics. Most of these tips won’t surprise you, but they are great ways to keep your body in tiptop shape and your mind (and emotions) feeling sharp.
Ask for help when you need it
It can be hard to admit you’re struggling with your mental health. Just remember – you are not alone. The National Alliance on Mental Health Institute (NAMI) estimates that one in five adults in the U.S. experience mental illness. Another organization (Mental Health America) found that more than 24% of adults living with mental illness, including anxiety or depression, don’t seek treatment.
There’s no shame in getting help to better manage your mood, emotions and mental health. There are proven approaches to help you cope with feelings of anxiety, depression and fear, including therapy, medication and more.
If you’ve been struggling with your mental or physical health – or both, your primary care doctor or a mental health professional can help. Schedule an appointment and, together, find ways to improve your overall health and wellness so you can feel your best.
Eshe Montague is the director of the behavioral health program at Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center. To learn more about its services, visit www.luminis.health/behavioralhealth.
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