Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, how we feel and how we act. It helps determine how we handle stress, interact with others and make healthy choices. Our mental health fluctuates just as our physical fitness does, so it is important to recognise early on the signs of being under par. We can then act accordingly, alter our routines or seek help, just as we do with our physical health.
Locking in wellbeing habits, helps us become more robust. Building up our strength and resilience enables us to cope in more challenging times. If we’re happier in ourselves, we appreciate and enjoy more of what’s around us and become more productive.
We are one person and our physical and mental health are very much interlinked affecting our overall wellbeing and happiness. We focus a lot on being physically healthy – being active and eating well – we should equally invest time in our mental health.
In fact our physical and mental health are so closely linked they can have a positive or negative effect on each other and ultimately our overall wellbeing.
For example, if we look after our physical health by eating well and staying active, we feel mentally fitter too. However, if we let this slip we can start to become lethargic or feel a bit down and demotivated.
Likewise, if our mental health is suffering, if we are stressed or anxious for long periods of time this has a physical effect on our bodies too. This is when adrenaline and cortisol are released - an involuntary physical reaction to danger. This is vital for life-threatening situations but if it's ongoing, hormones in the brain can become unbalanced. This is when we can’t think straight, when things seem overwhelming or frightening and we feel out of control. It's time to get help.
This is why we need to get rid of the stigma around mental health - so everyone feels comfortable to reach out.
“Whether an illness affects your heart, your arm or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there shouldn’t be any distinction. Getting help isn’t a sign of weakness — it’s a sign of strength” Michelle Obama