When Mental Health Affects The Physical:
5 TIPS TO LEAD A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE FROM THE INSIDE OUT
It’s no surprise that recent studies are showing that mental health and physical health go hand-in-hand. Research shows depression in young people affects stomach health, while anxiety takes a toll on our skin. Many people have experienced at one time or another, the debilitating impact of mental stress on the body – whether it is holding tension through the muscles in our legs, back or neck or the development of other physical disorders like IBS. And whether you like it or not, the research doesn’t lie – there is a strong connection linking our mental health to our physical.
To ensure you stay healthy everywhere, we’ve crafted 5 easy tips to follow to relieve stress and tension leading to a healthier lifestyle.
- 1. SET GOALS, GET INTO HEALTHY HABITS
We hear this all the time, “if you get into the habit, it will be easy!!!” but in reality, habits are difficult to form and require accountability, perseverance and dedication. Research suggests it can take up to 21 days to properly form a lifelong habit. Now that may not seem like a long time, but in 21 days can feel like a lifetime, while you’re going through it. Whether your healthy habit is eating well, exercising more frequently or meditation, you will find being consistent and having goals will help you in your journey.
And that’s where goal setting comes in. After you read this article, close down your browser, grab a pen and paper and begin to craft your goals. What defines a goal you may ask? It should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Goals are your first step to forming the habits that you desire.
So in conclusion, goals = healthy habits = healthy lifestyle = relief from stress, tension and physical ailments! Okay it may not be that simple, but setting goals and healthy habits definitely set us on the right track towards a healthier life.
- 2. PRACTICE GRATITUDE
Or as the late Otis Redding put it, try a little tenderness. It has been proven time and time again that practicing the simple act of gratitude, the art of being thankful, has many positive benefits. For example, when the good folks down at Berkeley University began the project, Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude, they found that gratitude lead to stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, feeling less lonely and isolated, higher levels of positive emotions like joy, happiness and optimism and much more.
So once you’ve crafted your goals and started forming your habits make sure you take a few moments everyday to give yourself the praise you deserve. It can be as simple as a “thank you body for not collapsing during that workout session,” or giving yourself praise for going through with your healthy habit of the day.
- 3. SWEAT
It’s no coincidence the exercise makes us feel good. Even 20-minutes of aerobic exercise, like running, cycling and jumping jacks, is proven to improve information processing and memory functions. When we exercise, our heart rate increases, more oxygen gets pumped to the brain, stimulating new connections between cells, while aiding the bodily release of hormones.
Finding a regular exercise routine has also been proven to improve mood of those with mild to moderate depression. And check this out, after researchers took three groups and placed one of Zoloft, one on an aerobic exercise routine and one on both, a follow-up study “found that exercise’s effects lasted longer than those of antidepressants. Researchers checked in with 133 of the original patients six months after the first study ended. They found that the people who exercised regularly after completing the study, regardless of which treatment they were on originally, were less likely to relapse into depression.”
Through the release of endorphins, enhanced by exercise, our natural immunity improves and our perception of pain reduces. Regular exercise also benefits us by lowering blood pressure, protecting against heart disease and boosting our self- esteem.
- 4. MEDITATE
There are so many forms and practices of meditation; it can be difficult to understand where to start or how to start. Really, the art of mediation helps us to slow our thoughts, and eventually stop the continuous activity of our minds.
There are so many benefits of mediation too, like increasing mental strength, focus, memory retention, lessens worry and anxiety, fear, stress, improves overall mood – really the list is endless! Just 20-minutes a day for a few weeks and you will begin to experience the benefits of mediation. If you aren’t sure how to start meditating but want to incorporate it into your healthy habits, check out this beginners guide to meditation.
- 5. SLEEP
Getting your zzz’s is extremely important for staying healthy inside and out. Sleeping lowers our stress-levels and it’s believed that getting a proper sleep positively affects cholesterol levels, lowering the chances of heart disease.While on the flipside, lack of sleep can contribute to irritability and depression and puts us at a higher risk to develop future illness.
A recent study of 28,000 suburban high school students “found that each hour of lost sleep is associated with a 38 percent increased risk of feeling sad or hopeless and a 58 percent increase in suicide attempts. Teens who sleep an average of six hours per night are also three times more likely to suffer from depression.”
And if you’re not sure you’re getting enough sleep, use exercise as a tool to regulate your sleep patterns, and meditation as a tool to turn off your mind before you drift into sweet slumber.
Remember our bodies and minds are connected. Getting healthy and staying healthy means it’s important to focus on keeping our physical health and mental health in check. And we understand it can become difficult to keep ourselves accountable. That’s why at InsideOut health + fitness, we take the time to listen and find out exactly what you would like to accomplish. Then we build a plan around those goals to give you the most effective fitness training sessions possible. Let us know if we can help you reach your fitness and health goals by contacting us today.
Stay-tuned for more tricks and tips to keep you healthy and fit.