February 12, 2018
Often, we divided the body up into two parts that we refer to as the ‘mind’ and the ‘body’. Due to the fact that we divide the two in this way, we see them as two different, and separate, entities, but this is far from the truth.
In fact, the two operate hand in hand. If you treat your body poorly, the functions of the mind will also begin to decrease, as will physical performance if you don’t care for your mind. Today, we’re going to explore the ins and outs of this connection and what you can do to look after your mind and body, optimising your health and giving you a happier, healthier take on life.
To start with, let’s explore how the mind and body are actually connected so we can gain a better understanding of what we can do to make things better. Let’s take depression, a relatively common mental condition that affects around 16 million people in the US alone.
Studies show that depression can increase your risk of death by physical conditions by as much as 67%. Likewise, depression can also increase your chances of death by forms of cancer by 50%. These are figures that cannot be ignored.
Let’s take another mental condition; schizophrenia, which affects around 51 million people worldwide. Studies show that suffering from schizophrenia can almost double your chances of death from physical conditions such as heart disease and increases your chances of death by respiratory diseases three times more likely.
As you can see, there is a clear connection between the mind and body, all the more reason to care and pay attention to both. Let’s explore things you can do to look after these essential parts of our being.
Of course, one of the best ways to looking after both our mind and your body simultaneously is to commit yourself to exercising regularly. In addition to working, strengthening and enhancing your physical muscles, also exercise releases ‘feel-good’ chemicals, such as dopamine, while exercising, resulting in happiness and peace for your mind.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to go out and join a gym or even exercise in a traditional manner. Instead, even 10-minute bursts of exercise, such as a yoga session at home in the morning, running to work or even walking instead of taking the car is enough to get started.
We all know about the harmful effects of smoking, probably so much so that we’ve become quite immune to it as it’s lost its ‘shock’ factor. However, not only does smoking damage and harm the body, increasing the risks of cancers and strokes, it can always have negative side effects on the brain.
Nicotine, in particular, just one of thousands of chemicals in a cigarette, can affect the production and distribution in the brain. As mentioned above, dopamine, a chemical in the brain, is also affected, which over extended periods of time can lead to depression and low self-esteem.
“I had been smoking for over twenty years before I even thought about quitting. I had always ignored the bad press and just took it as one of those things. However, even after a month of quitting, a move encouraged by my wife, I already started to feel happier, healthier, and so much better both physically and mentally,” explains John Owen, a writer for Best Australian Writers.
For some us, we may not have written anything substantial since leaving school or college. However, there is a tonne of positive benefits to enjoy by writing regularly. Not only does the physical act of writing strengthen your levels of hand-eye coordination, but it’s also highly stimulating for your mind to put thoughts and sentences into physical words.
You can start small, even by writing 100-words a day in the form of a diary or journal. It doesn’t have to be anything specific either; it can simply be whatever you want to write about at the time.
“When you think about it, the food and drink that you consume is the only fuel that your body has to grow and function. So, if you’re not eating the foods that your body needs, you’re not going to be able to perform optimally,” shares Gordon Webb, a health writer for UK Top Writers.
Managing and ensuring that you’re giving your body the best nutrition possible is essential to prime physical form and a happy, healthy mind. As you know, eating lots of unhealthy ‘junk food’ will contribute to obesity which leads to conditions such as high blood pressure, strokes and heart disease. What’s more, lack of good nutrition may contribute to mental conditions such as depression and even Alzheimer’s.
Finally, it’s only right that I mention stress. Stress, created by an excess of the cortisol hormone in the body, can be extremely damaging and has many negative effects on our mind and body.
In fact, many sources have found that high-stress conditions, such as PTSD, can actually change the formation and the structure of the brain, including its size and weight. Not only does this affect us physically and mentally, but stress also has a huge knock-on effect on other parts of our lives, such as our weight, happiness and overall mental wellbeing.