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The Body Mind Connection

Life is full of dips and peaks.  Through the stressful times and good times, it is important to maintain your emotional health.  Stressful situations and traumatic events can cause our emotional health to suffer.  Although this can be expected, your experience though challenging at times can be drastically altered by how resilient you are.  The more time and energy you spend on your emotional well-being, the stronger you will be when these times hit.  You will be better able to handle life’s issues because you will have healthy a positive outlook and healthy coping mechanisms.  Not only will you be more emotionally stable, but you will likely be more physically healthy. The mind/body connection reminds us to nurture both our emotional and physical health.

In addition to these physical symptoms, your immune system can be negatively affected as a result of poor emotional health. A weak immune system leaves the body more susceptible to infections and colds. Feeling emotionally unwell is bad enough, getting sick can make you feel even lower.

This is why it is so important to understand the mind/body connection. During emotionally difficult times, behaviors may changes as well. You may start using drugs or abusing them often. You may engage in compulsive behavior. For example, you may begin to excessively shopping, binge eating, or over-exercising.

These behaviors are often symptoms of a patient's emotional distress. Treatment for addiction and other abnormal behaviors usually includes both controlling the behavior and teaching the patient better ways to cope with their emotions.

 waterbottle  

The mind/body connection is a term describing how your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are  connected with your physical health.  Your body may show physical signs that you are not emotionally balanced.

    Such signs include the following:

   •        Back pain
   •       Change in appetite
   •       Chest pain
   •       Constipation or diarrhea
   •       Dry mouth
   •       Extreme tiredness
   •       General aches and pains
   •       Headaches
   •       High blood pressure
   •       Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
   •       Lightheadedness
   •       Palpitations (heart is racing)
   •       Sexual problems
   •       Shortness of breath
   •       Stiff neck
   •       Sweating
   •       Upset stomach
   •       Weight gain or loss

Tips for Improving Your Mental Health

Acknowledge your emotions and feel them.  In most situations, it is helpful to recognize what you are feeling.  This way you can better decide how you will react.   Sometimes it may be necessary to repress your feelings; however, they must be later expressed or they can surface in the future and confuse you.

Reach out for support.  It is very important that your emotions are expressed. You can do this it is creatively or through conversation. Especially difficult emotions may need to be processed in a group or with a friend, family member, or mental health professional. 

Treat your body with respect. This means focusing in eating, sleeping, and exercising well. It also means practicing proper hygiene and visiting the doctor for check-ups or concerns. Also, learning when to step forward and take action and when to step back for rest is vital for respecting your body's needs. Pain or discomfort can be a clear signal that you need to lay low. If you take the steps to maintain your physical health, it is more likely to take care of your emotional health and vice versa.

Take inventory of your life. This means make a list of all the people and activities you engage in and how they make you feel. What ones cause you stress? What ones make you happiest? What ones are important and why? Once you have thought about these, decide whether or not they are importand on your life and ask why. Then you can either prioritize them or figure out how you can balance them. For example, if my job and school are both stressful but important, I should make sure it is balanced by other things I enjoy, such as hiking and volunteering.

The key point to remember is that your emotional health is correlated with your physical health. If you want to live healthfully, you must understand the connection.

 

 

 Written by Brittany Cotton


Resources

 

 

http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/healthy/mental/782.html

http://helpguide.org/mental/mental_emotional_health.htm