The Connection Between Mental & Physical Health: 8 Reasons It’s Important to be Proactive About Both

Illustration of brain plugging into heart

"Physical activity has also been shown to improve self-esteem and cognitive function, increasing mental alertness and motivation."

If you’ve ever noticed a boost in mood following a workout, it’s not all in your head. Your physical health and mental health are intricately connected and there’s evidence that exercise may even change the way the brain functions.

Read on to learn how mental and physical health impact each other and why it’s important to be proactive about both.  

How Do Mental & Physical Health Impact One Another?

There are a number of hypotheses about how physical health impacts mental health. Some research suggests that exercise increases blood circulation to the brain, thus influencing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the body’s physiological response to stress. Physical activity has also been shown to improve self-esteem and cognitive function, increasing mental alertness and motivation.1

But the mind-body connection works both ways. Research indicates that negative psychological factors and mental health disorders can also take a toll on your physical health, especially your heart. Studies have found that positive psychological factors are linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.2

Why It’s Important to Remain Proactive About Mental & Physical Health 

Knowing that mental health affects your physical health, and vice versa, it’s important to remain proactive about both. And some of the most powerful solutions are the simplest. Eating well and getting enough sleep are proven ways to improve mental and physical health. And practicing mindfulness has been shown to have a range of benefits, from reducing anxiety and depression to lowering blood pressure to improving sleep. Some research shows that mindfulness can even help people cope with pain.3 

This is why at Brillia, we advocate for holistic strategies when it comes to addressing symptoms associated with mood and attention disorders. While the non-prescription medication targets symptoms of inattention, anxiety, restlessness, and irritability with scientifically formulated ingredients, the effects of the medication are bolstered by complementary lifestyle habits that contribute to whole-body physical and mental health. These habits are known as the 5 Pillars and consist of proper nutrition, adequate sleep, controlled screen time, and mindfulness. While Brillia is not intended to replace treatment by a therapist or other medical provider, the medication is clinically-proven to control symptoms with a gentle and impactful approach free from harsh, synthetic chemicals and harmful side effects. Merging neuroscience and behavioral science, Brillia offers a proactive path forward for those struggling with anxiety and attention issues in two formulations: Brillia for Children & Teens and Brillia for Adults.

Learn more about how Brillia works and explore eight reasons why you should start being proactive about your mental and physical health:

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1. Our Mental Health Affects Us & Everyone Around Us 

Our mental health has a far-reaching impact. Some would even say it’s a public health issue.4 This is because our mental health influences how we interact with our partners, children, friends, and colleagues. Poor mental health can lead to issues like social isolation and conflict. So if you need extra motivation to be proactive about your mental health, consider how it can enrich your personal relationships and your community at large. 

2. Self-Awareness Leads to Action

Learning to be self-aware means picking up on the earliest signs that something is off, either physically or mentally. This might look like sudden fatigue, a loss of interest in things you once enjoyed, self-isolation, frequent headaches, or other symptoms of distress. Once you become aware of these early signs, you can take action to make things right. But if you ignore such signs, and keep charging ahead, you’re more likely to burn out. 

3. Prioritizing Mental Health Improves Other Aspects of Your Life

From taking a mental health day if you need to to enrolling in therapy, there are a number of ways you can start prioritizing your mental well being. And the benefits won’t just improve your mood, your physical health, or your relationships either. Research shows that prioritizing mental health and managing your stress can improve your creativity, your productivity and job satisfaction, and your overall life satisfaction.5, 6, 7

4. Physical Activity is Good for the Mind & Body 

Most of us already know that regular exercise is good for our bodies. It helps us manage our weight, reduces the risk of heart disease, strengthens our bones and muscles, and improves our ability to perform everyday tasks. But exercise is just as important for our mental health. 

In a study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet Psychiatry, researchers found that, on average, a person has 3.4 poor mental health days per month.8 But among those who exercise, the number of poor mental health days drops by more than 40 percent. But it’s important not to overdo it. The research also shows that three to five 45-minute exercise sessions a week had the most benefit, while those who exercised more than three hours had worse mental health compared to those who didn’t exercise at all. 

5. Mental & Physical Health Practices Keep Us in Positive Routines

When you’re committed to supporting your own mental and physical health through proper nutrition, adequate sleep, controlling screen time, mindfulness, and other components of a healthy lifestyle, you’re less likely or motivated to engage in unhealthy behaviors. According to the National Institutes of Health, an efficient strategy to help break bad habits like smoking is to replace them with new healthy routines.9 This may take some time to build and some extra effort at the start, but over time, a new habit becomes second nature. According to one 2021 study, it can take about 59 days until a new habit becomes automatic.10 

6. Exercise Eases Anxiety Symptoms

In addition to its impact on the body’s stress response and cognitive function, exercise also eases anxiety by releasing feel-good endorphins and taking your mind off worries and stressors. Regular exercise can also increase body confidence, encourage social engagement, and make you less likely to cope with stress in an unhealthy way like drinking or using recreational drugs.

7. Focusing on Prevention Is More Powerful than Intervention 

Being aware of the earliest signs of a mental health disorder or physical illness can help slow or halt the progression of symptoms, delay or prevent the need for expensive or extensive interventions, and also teach you how to be more independent about your own health. We know that being proactive about our physical health can help slow the progression of disease or prevent it entirely. And while mental health disorders have a number of contributing factors that are not always preventable, such as genetic factors, taking early action can help you learn how to self-regulate before turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms or relying on more invasive solutions.

8. We Deserve Happiness! 

Lastly, making the decision to be proactive about your mental and physical health can make you happier, but only if you want to be. In one 8-month experimental study, researchers found that it took just two things for a participant to become happier: “a will and a proper way.”11 Being invested in becoming a happier person matters far more than what you actually do to obtain happiness. 

Once you’ve made the decision to invest in your mental and physical health, head over to the Brillia(nce) Resource Center for ideas on how to get there. 

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References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
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