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When it comes to health and well-being, the first thing that appears in most people’s heads is physical health. They talk about exercise, jogging, hitting the gym, etc. But they never really talk about their mental health.
Mental health includes our psychological, social, and emotional well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and how we act in our daily lives. Your ability to handle emotions, stress, how you socialize with others, and making decisions are greatly determined by your psychological state.
Why pay attention to mental health?
In the past, humans only emphasized the importance of physical well-being. This is why we have Spartans and Barbarians who trained and built their bodies to survive. But in today’s world, our mental health is just as important.
We can’t be balanced if we only focus on our physical health, ignoring our psychological state. This is especially true if you want to live a great life and produce extraordinary results in each area.
Still not convinced?
Here are some reasons why mental health is just as important as physical health:
1.) Your mental health can affect your physical state.
Do you know that there is a strong connection between your body and mind? When you are in physical pain for instance, your work and family life may be affected. But this can also weaken your state of mind, manifesting itself in cases such as stress, anxiety, or depression.
The opposite is true as well. According to studies, mental health problems can cause your physical health to deteriorate. For example: if you have chronic anxiety and depression, you may have trouble sleeping; thus, putting your physical health at risk.
Not only that, science has proven that people who suffer from mental illness tend to have lower immunity. This can cause them to easily fall sick. Doctors have discovered that when the mental health problem gets addressed, many patients report improvements in their physical health.
So remember: if you are physically weak, it can affect your mental health. At the same time, if you are mentally weak, it can affect your physical health, too.
2.) Your mental health affects your financial stability.
Most people are not aware of how mental fitness can affect financial stability, because it’s not as obvious as the connection to our physical well-being.
According to a study done by the American Journal of Psychiatry, people who suffered from mental illness earned 40 percent less than those in good mental condition. The study also found that folks with untreated mental illness make up one-third of the overall homeless population, which is about 16 percent.
Mental health problems can also kill your productivity. The World Health Organization once reported that over 200 million workdays are gone each year due to depression. Almost half of the top 10 causes of disability are caused by mental health problems in the world.
In general, individuals who have mental problems are more likely to take medical leaves repeatedly. Even when at work, they can’t seem to fully focus on their tasks either. So don’t take your mental health lightly. Treat it as importantly as your physical health.
3.) Your mental health can affect your family.
Another important reason why mental health is crucial is that it can affect one’s family. Children of people with mental health problems for example, tend to suffer greater risk for abuse, neglect, and also a variety of emotional and behavioral issues.
These kids often have no one to turn to, so they isolate themselves from others. These effects can, unfortunately, be brought over into adulthood. It’s possible that these children grow up to be adults with mental health issues that require treatment of their own.
Imagine a father of four who suffers from chronic depression. Think of how his wife and four children could be going through. It’s the loved ones who often face the most impact from financial strain, job loss, stress, and other problems brought about by mental health issues.
Due to this, recovery for the entire family is sometimes suggested so that everyone can heal and move on.
4.) Untreated, severe mental illness or instability may lead to dangers.
There has been some debate over untreated mental illness and its connection with violent crimes. There’s also the issue with use of drugs or alcohol, causing individuals with existing mental health issues to experience further suffering. But perhaps a more pressing concern is how people with mental disorders are usually the victims of violent crime.
While studies are still ongoing as to the link between violence and untreated, chronic mental issues, individuals with such problems unfortunately become the targets of abuse or mistreatment. In fact, a Psychiatric Services in North Carolina has discovered that people with severe mental problems, who were not taking medication, were 2.7 times more likely to be the victim of a violent crime.
5.) Good mental health can give you a longer and happier life.
Do you know that your mental state can affect your overall life expectancy? A study in the 2012 British Medical Journal found that people with even mild mental health problems may have a lower life expectancy. It also discovered that those who suffered chronic mental issues, such as depression and anxiety, increased their risk of death (related to heart disease) to a whopping 94 percent.
Although you may not have extreme mental health problems, constantly feeling depressed, worried, or panicked can bring serious consequences and influence aspects of your life.
So learn to value yourself: exercise regularly, practice meditation and yoga, avoid cigarettes and alcohol – give yourself more reasons to smile and stay happy each day. These are great ways to improve your mental well-being.
By now you should understand that taking care of your mind and your body not only means living longer, but also better. Hence, whenever there is a sign of mental illness, seek proper medication and treatment as soon as possible. Don’t allow the problem to grow and affect your life.