Glen Heyburgh, Founder of Centre Minds, reveals what you need to know
If anything, COVID-19 has encouraged us to be more aware of our mental and physical health. The implications on mental health from being stuck indoors can have a knock-on effect on physical health.
Possibly your mental health issues are recent, or maybe they have been around for as long as you can remember, perhaps you have relationship issues, or you are being affected by work or social media. Dayto-day tasks can become overwhelming and keeping on top of physical health can appear difficult or almost impossible. The mind-body connection is stronger than you may think. The tendency to separate mental and physical illness has posed a prominent problem when it comes to understanding overall health.
Mental health problems have physical consequences and mental illness can worsen with physical illness. In the same way you listen to your physical health needs, you need to be mindful of your mental health needs. Our minds and bodies are interconnected, so when we suffer from mental health issues our body will feel the impact in more ways than one, and vice versa.
Motivation, sleep, appetite, energy and response to exercise can be positively or negatively impacted by our emotional state. Research has shown that emotional states such as anxiety and depression can reduce the immune system and contribute to illnesses such as diabetes, stroke or heart attacks.
Although we all handle stress differently, the beginnings of stress are noticed by the way we sit and hold ourselves. We need to take notice of all our physical responses as this is the body’s way of telling us we need to be aware.
Have you ever considered why so much muscular tension is held in your head, neck and shoulders? This occurs due to a reflex action to stress. Research has revealed that migraine and tension headaches are associated with muscular tension in the head, neck and shoulders. Stress has also been linked to lower back problems, particularly work-related stress.
Your brain regulates your body’s temperature and heart rate, which is why your thoughts alone can get your heart racing and affect your body temperature. Body pain, particularly in vulnerable areas can be caused by stress, which is why pain can serve as an early warning system that you need to prioritise your overall wellbeing.
Stress symptoms can affect feelings, thoughts, body and behaviour. Being able to recognise common stress symptoms can help you manage them.
Some markers to look out for are changes in eating habits, low energy, tiredness or sleeping problems, withdrawal from social situations, feeling sad or down, reduced ability to concentrate and confused thinking, inability to cope with daily problems or stress, feelings of guilt, excessive fears or worries, extreme mood changes, relationship issues, substance abuse and excessive anger or hostility.
To modify and improve your mental health and overall wellbeing, look to factors within your control: Improve your diet. Commit to exercising regularly. Maintain a healthy social life. Learn something new.
When your head isn’t in the right space, it can be exhausting for both your mind and body. If you are struggling with stress or mental health issues it is advisable to seek help from a professional.centre minds, counselling services, health, help, mental health, stress