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Mind, Body, Soul: Nurturing Your Best Self

True health is a reflection of your mind, body and soul. According to the Mental Health Foundation, poor physical health can lead to poor mental health, and your mental well-being can produce a domino-effect on your life and relationships. Ultimately, your mental health and the physical conditions that manifest over time can greatly influence your quality of life or how you perceive the world around you.

‘There is no health without mental health’
Mental health includes your emotional, psychological, and even social well-being. Your mental health condition can affect how you think, feel, act, and interact with others and the world. Sometimes even unconsciously, it impacts how you handle stress, relate to other people and even the way you make decisions.

Have you started to feel run down, achy, or “off” and wondered why? You may have just overlooked it at the time and thought that you were simply tired or stressed. However, uncomfortable sensations are often the beginning symptoms of declining mental health that are often ignored until they become serious or manifest into physical conditions. These symptoms may appear at first as low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, high anxiety, depression and self-deprecation.

The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not just the absence of disease. It has affirmed that “there is no health without mental health.”

Recognizing the symptoms
If you experience a high amount of stress or are unable to stop worrying about certain situations, this causes your brain to release chemicals throughout your body that triggers the stress response. While this is generally a healthy response to stress as a means of calming the body, when your body is slammed with these chemicals, it leads to unwanted side effects. The more of these chemicals and electric signals are sent throughout your body, the more you may start to feel worn out, confused, irritated, or even begin to develop pain over time.

Medical professionals and scientists agree that individuals affected by mental illnesses of any kind are more likely to suffer from common somatic symptoms of poor physical health. A fact sheet by a national mental health charity lists the following symptoms: weight gain, higher cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, increased blood glucose levels, or a combination of them. Inherently, these symptoms often lead to the formation of heart disease, diabetes, or other chronic conditions over prolonged periods of time if not taken care of.

When to seek help
When you begin to feel extreme highs and lows, excessive fears, worries and anxieties, or even dramatic changes in your eating and sleeping habits, you may need to see a mental health specialist to address your concerns. If you have been feeling confused, depressed, or irritable for a period of time and have not been able to figure out why, it may be time to speak with a mental health professional who will listen and provide solutions.

Being unable to cope with daily problems or activities, experiencing numerous unexplained physical ailments or having strong feelings of anger can be the materialization of a general state of poor mental and emotional health. Your mental and emotional state can lead to recurrent headaches, stomach aches, and even weaken your immune system.

Treating mental health for overall well-being
Psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists use different techniques, such as psychotherapy, to help you gain insight into your feelings and understand your emotions better. When your conscious mind is able to understand complex issues, your subconscious mind follows the same pattern, lessening the amounts of stress hormones released.

Seeing a mental health specialist will not only help to reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety, but it will also help you regain the ability to function, think and feel more clearly. A mental health professional will help you dissect each feeling, thought and reaction. It is when you have achieved balance mentally and physically that you can reclaim optimum health and well-being.