While physical illnesses are readily acknowledged and addressed, mental health concerns often go overlooked or unaddressed. This is despite the undeniable connection between our mental and physical health. Mental health conditions, which can encompass disorders affecting behavior, mood, and thoughts, often share a common thread: stress.
And stress doesn’t simply affect the mind, it can manifest physically as well.
Stress can have a range of effects on the body, from activating the immune system to tightening muscles, impeding digestion, and impacting memory and attention. Long-term stress can contribute to the development of chronic stress, which can further compromise physical and mental health by affecting heart function, immune and metabolic systems, and hormone regulation in the brain.
Essentially, the body starts sounding an alarm, signaling that it needs help.
The Power of Physical Activity
One powerful way to improve the mind-body connection is through exercise. Physical activity releases endorphins, which can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and strengthen the heart. Additionally, using the mind-body connection during exercise can enhance endurance and confidence.
To better manage stress, it’s important to identify its sources and quiet its alarm bells. Techniques such as deep breathing, body scanning, and mindful observation can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
Next time you feel overwhelmed, try these tips:
Put your hand on your stomach and take 3-5 deep breaths. Feel your belly or lungs expanding and contracting as you breathe.
Perform a body scan. Relax your face and shoulders first, then move down your body.
Be aware of your environment in the present moment, and observe it with ease and intention.
Get to the root of the stress by journaling or talking to a friend. Assess the stressor and determine how you can minimize its impact.
And for those who need additional support, seeking professional care and treatment can be crucial. Don’t wait for a crisis to seek help – take the first step towards a healthier mind and body today. Reach out to us if you need help getting started – we’re always here to help.