Mental Health

Why it’s just as important to look after mental health as well as your physical health

Our physical health is more visible to see and easier to work on. You can lose weight, tone up your muscles and eat well and get direct results from it.

However, our mental health often gets overlooked. You can’t always see direct results straight away, it’s something that takes time and care.

Alarmingly, most people don’t get a mental health check as often as they should, and this can cause long-term issues.

woman depressed

Mental health is just as important as physical health

In fact, while our physical health may have an impact on our mental health, they should also be thought of as dependent on each other.

Some people may sweep mental health symptoms such as anxiety or depression under the carpet because they are ashamed or unable to deal with it.

But mental health plays a big role in your ability to parent, function within a family and in public. It’s important to know, that if left unchecked, mental health can affect more than just your mood.

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The link between mental and physical health

Poor mental health has been shown to affect physical health, with depression being associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Some studies have also found a link between self-reported depression and stress and a 32% increased risk of cancer.

Schizophrenia is commonly associated with double the risk of death from heart disease and triples the risk of death from respiratory disease when compared to the normal population.

Active and sporty woman runner is exercising in colorful autumn nature

This is due to the fact that the brain controls the body. If you feel sad or anxious, the last thing you feel like doing is exercising but you may feel like engaging in unhealthy habits such as binge eating or drinking.

You know you need to exercise, but some days you can’t bring yourself to do it.

Here are a few tips to get your mental health in shape so you can do the same for your body:

Mindful meditation

Meditation and yoga practice by lake at sunset or sunrise.

There’s a massive body of research that shows that practising mindfulness remodels the physical structure of your brain.

Studies also show that mindful meditation reduces stress-causing hormones and releases feel-good hormones that increase cognition and focus.

It’s any wonder then, that mindful meditation is regularly practised by CEOs and celebrities due to its success in encouraging better mental health and daily practices?

What is mindful mediation?

Being mindful is the ability to be present and aware of what you’re doing instead of being reactive or overwhelmed by your environment.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Make some time and space

It could be 10 minutes before bed or while the kids are napping but there needs to be as little distraction as possible.

2. Pay attention to your surroundings

Most people think the aim of meditation is to quieten the mind however the goal is to pay attention to the present without opinions.

Listen to the sounds outside but instead of processing them, acknowledge them, then let it pass. This is definitely easier said than done!  

3. Return to the moment

You’ll find your mind passing opinions and judgement to what you hear and feel. Bring your mind back to the present by focusing again on the acoustics in the room or the sound of your breathing.

4. Be kind to yourself

This is not easy especially if you haven’t done it before. So don’t beat yourself up if you find your 10 minutes has been spent pulling your mind back to the present! It will get easier as you practice and your mind will thank you for it.

If you find your mental health impacts upon the way you function day to day, it may be time to seek help. See your GP for a mental health plan.

If you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, call 000 immediately.

Lifeline offers 24/7 crisis support on 131114.

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The 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge has MIND, BODY & BREATH sessions

The Healthy Mummy MIND, BODY & BREATH sessions are designed to support mindful motherhood (and compliment your exercise program while following the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge).

It is designed to help reduce stress and improve mood among pregnant women and early mums, enhance your connection with self-care practices and really thrive through the transformation of motherhood.

About The Healthy Mummy MIND, BODY & BREATH sessions

MINDBODYBREATH audio player

There is three Healthy Mummy MIND.BODY.BREATH sessions for you to choose from:

  • 3 minute
  • 5 minute
  • 10 minute

All Healthy sessions begin with a MIND.BODY.BREATH warm-up, to get you settled and prepared.

We recommend you begin your Healthy Mummy guided MIND.BODY.BREATH practice by doing it twice a week.

Start slow and gradually grow your practice so that it becomes a habit. Your aim is to be able to do it daily. Set a reminder for yourself as a morning or bedtime ritual. Find a time that works for you.

Find your inner peace and relax with the awesome meditation section we now have on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.

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Shara Smith

Shara is a psychotherapist and a counsellor, who has over 12 years experience in the mental health, life coaching and self-care sector. While she loves her husband and three kids, she also loves watching re-runs of Sex in the City and baking decadent cookies that only she gets to eat.

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