People often mistake mental health as a different matter from one’s physical, social, and emotional health. What many don’t know is that anything that disrupts the mind also affects the body. Although people often misconstrue the relationship between mental and physical health, there are ways to understand and appreciate the relationship between the two thoroughly.
The Relationship Between The Mind And The Body
The mind is a powerful thing, and it can affect almost all aspects of a person’s well-being. When someone is always stressed or problematic, eventually it takes a toll on the way they take care of themselves. Individuals diagnosed with mental illnesses have a hard time engaging in fitness activities because of some of the effects it has:
- Loss of memory: a person tends to forget about events and appointments, especially those that improve their physical health (such as going to the gym or yoga classes).
- Incapable of concentrating and decision-making: once this problem happens, the person eventually gives up when trying to decide, and prefers to stay at home.
- Decreased hormone release: during exercise, the brain releases a set of hormones that help the person sustain himself and maintain homeostasis. Mental illnesses can disrupt this hormonal flow.
Exercise As A Solution To Mental Issues
A person can significantly improve their well-being with the help of exercise. Although some experts oversee the numerous benefits, it gives patients, engaging in fitness activities is an underestimated factor that helps with mental health illnesses. More and more people try to incorporate different physical activities because of the following benefits:
- It Enhances A Person’s Mood
According to a study conducted by Dr. James Blumenthal, a psychologist at Duke University, regular exercise helps lower a subject’s depression scores compared to others that did not engage in any activity. Patients had a better mood after each fitness activity, with the effects of exercise being comparable to the effects of most antidepressants.
- It Helps Prevent Anxiety
If a person fails to manage his/her anxiety attacks, it most likely can develop into panic disorder, according to Jasper Smits Ph.D., a Co-Director of Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University. Because the body reacts to exercise the same way it reacts to fear or stress (increased sweating and heart rate), fitness activities can be a tool towards lessening anxiety attacks.
- It Regulates Brain Functions
As mentioned, there is a hormonal flow that comes with regular exercise. Although patients may have a hard time at first, regularly engaging in physical activities eventually regulate the flow of hormones, which helps the brain function better.
Other Activities That Can Improve Mental Health
Aside from exercise and fitness activities, patients can engage in other activities that help alleviate mental illness symptoms.
Gardening helps a person focus and concentrate more. The thought of needing to nurture and care for the plants give people a sense of responsibility and connection within oneself. The reward of seeing the gradual growth of the plants makes a person feel special and wanted. Those who want to try gardening can start setting up but you need to find the best seed banks.
- Meditations And Breathing Exercises
Meditations, together with breathing, can significantly relax the brain, as long as you do it gradually. Although there are different meditation forms, you can start by being in touch with the five senses and give extra attention to each one. First, with what you hear, then what you see, and so on.
- Muscle Control And Relaxation
This activity involves taking control over different groups of muscles in the body, and practicing how you can relax them through breathing.