Many people don’t hesitate to invest in their physical body. They pay for gym memberships, buy healthy foods, take yoga classes, and have all kinds of gadgets to monitor steps, minutes and miles logged. However, it is not as common for folks to prioritize their mental health. But, by investing in your mind, you may not only improve your overall wellbeing, but your physical health as well.
There is a strong mind body connection. The body’s stress response greatly affects your physical health. When you have a thought, it leads to an emotion, which releases peptides that carry the information through the bloodstream to the cells throughout your body. Your body begins to express the emotion. Maybe your breath quickens, your shoulders tense up, you feel weak in the knees, or you have butterflies.
Avoiding emotions will only amplify physical pain in the body and have consequences on your health. Distressing emotions that are ignored or internalized tend to come out in other ways. Whether it’s angry outbursts, backaches, or panic attacks, these undealt with emotions exists under the surface like ticking time bombs. Recognizing the relationship between your body’s physical health, pain, sickness, and your mental health can help you prioritize whole body health, which includes your psychological health.
Maya Angelou says, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Therapy is an excellent place to get to know better ways of coping and moving through difficult emotions, so it doesn’t turn into pain with mental and physical consequences. So as you invest in your physical health, be intentional about investing in your mental health too, because they go hand in hand.