Mitigating the effects of mental health on physical health

Health has been put onto the spotlight for a hotter chase eversince American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson first coined the theme “the first wealth is health” in 1860, which primarily spells out that healthy life is the foundation on which a life, a community, an economy is built or basically, if one is healthy, he or she can accrue wealth.

With health-wealth link in over 160 years now, key actors including but not limited to world leaders, health professionals and campaign designers, scientists, governments, researchers and agencies/donors have been essential through various targeted health programs to achieve complete health- though this quest is  a scientific theory due to health’s triagonal dimension in a shot.

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In other words, in attempt to achieve one’s health or that of the population, three dimensions of physical, social and mental are considered together. This means when a health professional- (Medical practitioner) examines one aspect of a patient’s health during a visit (i.e physical health), he takes into consideration its link with other aspects of health (social or mental health) at the same time. This somehow makes achieving ‘good health’ a difficult task, and population experts believe it is even impossible to achieve one’s complete health.

Health is defined by the WHO as” a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

Physical health entails seeing to it the presence of physical body parts and how effective generally the body operate or function whiles mental health encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It involves the ability to think rightly and replicate the appropriate emotions to a suffered action.

The WHO states that “there is no health without mental health.” This fuels an opinion that there is an evident relationship between mental and physical health. The Canadian Mental Health Association has argued that there are multiple associations between mental health and chronic physical conditions that significantly impact people’s quality of life, demands on health care and other publicly funded services, and generate consequences to society.

In our modern time, people’s eagerness to have quality life is one of the reasons why there is more strong desire in the public to understand the links, ways and associations between mental and physical health. Mental health affects physical health in a variety of ways.

First, one’s state of poor mental health pose the person physically chronic health conditions. The Canadian Mental Health Association has revealed that poor mental health is a risk factor for chronic physical conditions.

This can be interpreted as seriously mentally ill people are at high risk of experiencing chronic physical health conditions and individuals with chronic physical conditions are at risk of developing mental health problems.

Depression is significant to developing health conditions like cardiovascular disease, asthma, arthritis, diabetes and cancer. Mental issue schizophrenia is also linked to likelihood of developing respiratory and heart diseases.

Another effect of mental health on physical health is sleeping disorder. Mental health problems cause sleeping disorders including insomnia or sleep apnea. Insomnia can make it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep. While conditions like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder may lead to sleep problems, sleep problems can also worsen existing mental health conditions.

Moreover, mental health problems usually cause people to smoke, and among smokers, people with mental health conditions are more likely to smoke a greater number of cigarettes.

Furthermore, aside developing chronic health conditions, sleeping disorder and smoking that mental health exert on physical health, access to health care is another major area mental health affect physical health. People with serious mental health conditions are of less likelihood to have access to adequate health care and utilised quality health services. Being severely mentally ill can be hard to seek care, take prescriptions regularly and engage in enough exercise.

Reducing mental health’s effects on physical health is essential for quality life, personal growth and development. By that, this article discusses four (4) ways through which mental health’s impact on physical health conditions can be mitigated.


Embarking on physical activity keeps one fit and the body physically healthy and improves one’s mental wellbeing. Researchers have proved that engaging in  exercise releases endorphins in the brain- a chemical that makes one feel good. Irrespective of the duration of physical activity, exercise improves mental awareness, energy and mood though considerable period is ideal. It is worth mentioning that, doing regular mental training enhance positive thinking, boost concentration and focus.

Whether one is tending your garden or running a marathon, exercise can significantly improve quality of life. Finding an activity you enjoy can make you feel less stressed, more focused, and give you a sense of purpose in life.

Eat well

Eating well balanced diet boost the immune system to stand against dangerous diseases and enhance happy mood. People who eat well look lightened for daily professional work and house chores. Student who eat well tend to have sharp memory and perform academically well than the opposing side. A balanced diet is one that includes healthy amounts of proteins, essential fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water. The food we eat can influence the development, management and prevention of numerous mental health conditions including depression and dementia. So if one wants to stay physically fit, beautiful or handsome, and mentally well, the person must eat a well balanced diet.

Stop smoking

Smoking has a negative impact on both mental and physical health. Many people with mental health problems believe that smoking relieves their symptoms, but these effects are only short-term.  Stopping smoking can help avoid deepening of poor mental conditions. Putting a stop to smoking can help in fighting heart diseases and cancer related conditions since there is a coordination between the mind and the heart.

Quitting smoking can help in the prevention of shizophrenia, anxiety disorders and depression. People with mental illness have high rates of morbidity and mortality from smoking related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases and cancer.

Make an appointment with GP

Making an appointment with GP is a great way of mitigating the effects of mental health on physical health. Though this approach has less been emphasized is less developed countries but it is very essential seeing a health professional like a doctor, nurse or Physician Assistant (PA) about your mental health state. Many people with poor mental health as well as those with physical health problems fail to see a health professional.

Making a visit to a doctor will enable the early diagnoses of mental health problems and avoid turning into serious complications. Doctors are able to offer early treatment and management regimes for both health and poor mental health conditions when they are reported early compared with no or delayed reportage.

People with mental and physical health problems may also depend on GP’s prescription and advise, routine check and screening to stay healthy.

If you find it hard to talk to healthcare professionals or are worried you won’t be listened to, you could send someone to help you assert yourself. This could be a friend, relative or professional advocate. Mind has more information on finding an advocate.


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