988 hotline one year after implementation

The Connection Between Mental and Physical Health

Mental and physical health are often thought of as separate entities, but in many ways, they are connected. To achieve a higher level of well-being, it is important to understand the effect each has on the other.


Having positive mental health can result in a reduced risk of strokes and heart attacks. Conversely, poor mental health can lead to harmful choices and negatively affect your physical well-being. For example, studies have shown that those with compromised mental health are…

  • More likely to smoke
  • More likely to have issues sleeping
  • More likely to develop chronic diseases
  • Less likely to prioritize self-care

On the other hand, how you physically feel has a direct impact on your mental well-being. Chronic conditions and serious diagnoses tend to be associated with anxiety, stress, and depression. These feelings typically are a result of stigmas and fears surrounding the condition. Approximately one-third of people with serious medical conditions have symptoms of depression.

How to Improve Your Health

Actively working to improve your overall health is always beneficial. The advantage of mental and physical health being dependent on each other is that when you improve one, you improve the other. There are many ways you can enhance your well-being.

  • Exercise regularly. Exercise is commonly used to boost both mood and physical health. Additionally, your head space improves through exercise as your brain releases endorphins, feel-good chemicals. Studies have shown that people who walk briskly for 2.5 hours a week had a lower risk of depression than those who didn’t exercise.
  • Eat nutritiously. Eating a balanced diet helps your body function properly. It is important to be mindful of the seven major nutrient groups when planning your diet: carbohydrates, proteins, dietary fibers, and more can significantly impact our overall health. Conditions like dementia and depression are affected by what you consume. Certain foods influence the prevention, development, and management of these conditions.
  • Develop helpful coping strategies. Stress and anxiety negatively affect your mental and physical health, so it is a good idea to determine ways to manage them. Avoid alcohol and tobacco as they provide minimal, short-term relief at the expense of your overall wellness. Consider meditating, journaling, or attending counseling to prevent stress and anxiety from derailing your wellness goals.
  • Maintain healthy sleep habits. The average person needs approximately seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Your body and mind both need quality sleep to function at their peak condition.
  • Seek expertise if you are struggling. There is always room for improvement when focusing on self-care. Nutritionists can educate you on how to enhance your diet in a manageable way. Therapists can help you implement coping strategies. Reaching out for help is important when you do not know the best way to proceed or how to meet your goals.

Improving your mental and physical health takes motivation and dedication. Try including a friend or household member in your journey to help you stay committed.