Mindfulness

Understanding the Relationship Between Physical and Mental Health

Until recently, I never quite understood the marriage between physical and mental health. That is, until I decided to up my health and fitness game — I decided to eat a little healthier, cut out down my coffee drinks, and exercised a bit more to make sure I reached my step goal on my Fitbit.

And, I noticed a change in myself. I noticed I was happier, and slept better during the night. In addition to that, I noticed that my clothes began to fit me a little looser than they did when I first bought them — an ultimate win.

When many people try a new diet or exercise program, they often have one goal in mind — weight loss. Which is fine, if you ask me — but that shouldn’t be the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal should be to get healthy.

Focusing more on your physical health is something does wonders for your mental. Remember when Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde: “Exercise gives you endorphin. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” And, she’s right. According an article on Mayo Clinic called “7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity,” regular physical activity “stimulates various brain chemicals that leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.” And in my experiences, it always manages to help release stress when you’re feeling highly stretched, and helps keep you calm when anxious. In fact, it was something that my therapist recommended when I went to therapy.

Definitely worth the trip to the gym in the morning then.

In addition to making it a point to regularly exercise, it is also important to stay hydrated — especially in the hot summer heat. If you know me, you know that I carry around a bottle of water pretty much all of the time, and drink at least three glasses of water at dinner.  Believe it or not, staying hydrated has some effects on your mental health as well as your physical. According to an article on Active Beat entitled “10 Benefits of Staying Hydrated,” hydration is closely related to “balancing mood and emotions.” And this is on top of the physical benefits, which include help keep your body cool, helps keep you from being thirsty, and cleanses toxins. And, by opting for water instead of soda, you reduce calories and sugar intake even further.

It’s always an amazing feat when one makes a change to improve their overall being — whether it may be to go to a therapist, start running, or change their food intake. By making you and your health a priority, it only helps you be a stronger and better person. By taking 20 minutes a day to walk, it makes the other 23 hours and 40 minutes of the day ten times better, because you are more focused and less stressed.

And, can’t we all use a bit more of that? I certainly think so.

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