“Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs. They can affect our behavior and our physical health negatively and positively,” explained Ozark Center Licensed Professional Counselor Courtney Klingsporn.
Klingsporn explains how your mental state can play a big role in your physical health and vice versa.
“If you’re stressed, it can produce cortisol and adrenaline. And that cortisol and adrenaline, that could compromise your immune system,” Klingsporn added.
But, a little bit of working on your mental health can improve your physical health.
“If you’re doing those relaxation techniques, like yoga, mindfulness — even five minutes a day. Research has shown five minutes a day, it can lower your stress. That also strengthens your immune system,” Klingsporn continued.
It then becomes a cycle — good physical health can lead to good mental health.
“Five times a week, 30 minutes of moderate activity. That can elevate your mood and really reduce stress,” said Klingsporn.
What you physically do doesn’t even have to be something strenuous. Gardening, a short walk, and swimming are all good choices.
“Something small. it might not seem like it’s making a big impact but just something small each day that you can do,” Klingsporn explained. “And then, eventually you’ll look back and say, ‘Wow. I’ve really made a lot of progress.”
It’s not just exercise though — nutrition, sleep, and relaxation go a long way.
“A lot of time, when we have a mental health crisis, it’s because a lot of times, little factors, like not taking care of yourself, can lead you to be overwhelmed,” said Klingsporn.
So understanding how your mind and body are connected will help.
“Changing the way that you think changes your actions,” Klingsporn continued. “And then you have to remember that it can take 28 days to build a habit. But, it also helps to have some accountability, a friend that can go with you.”
All good side effects from making sure your mental and physical health is in check.
“With your mental health, self care is very important because if you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re going to get burnt out,” said Klingsporn.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health and needs someone to talk to, we urge you to call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.