The Impact Of Your Physical Health On Your Mental Health & Wellness

As discussed in our earlier editions on Mental Health and Wellness, there are various aspects, which affect them. We have talked about some of the aspects over the past weeks, and today, we shall talk about yet another extremely important one. Although we all long for it, and at times may take small measures to achieve it, we do not take timely and sufficient steps to attain the desired levels. Most of the time, we tend to procrastinate and give other things priority.

When we are young, our elders and seniors ensure that we take good care of it to avoid untimely mishaps. They also take extra precautions in various ways so that problems do not occur. As we grow up, we tend to lose its essence and importance and become over-confident. That leads to negligence and ultimately unnecessary and undesirable problems. We are referring to our Physical Health. It is time that we understand and take cognisance of its effect of it on our Physical Wellness.

Importance of Health

While we all understand the importance of maintaining good health, we do not take adequate measures to do so. Why is it that the realisation occurs only when we get into trouble? When we are born, there is utmost care to keep us in good health and this trend continues until adulthood. Then suddenly, there is a shift in thought process and we begin to think that all is well. We slowly shift our focus from maintaining good health to other things. Our eating habits, our lifestyle, and our discipline takes a hit and it starts affecting our health.

If you want to get through your daily activities without fatigue and stress, you ought to be healthy. Healthy is a very broad term and a combination of various factors including physical activity and healthy eating habits. You may think that if you do not have any illness, you are healthy. It is a misnomer. There may be many underlying factors, which you may not even be aware of, which later on may lead to ill health. Your behaviour and actions in different situations also have a direct impact on your health. Therefore, it is critical to understand the repercussions of your thought process and actions on your body and health and do things in a judicious manner.  

Living a healthy lifestyle not helps in boosting your immunity, but also lowers the risk of developing many serious diseases/ illnesses. It also helps in elevating your mental frame of mind and moods. Increased levels of energy assist in raising your self-esteem and reducing dependency on others/ medication. Hence, you are able to save money, which is one of the greatest benefits you derive from a healthy lifestyle. Not only does it help you in your youth, but you also reap rich benefits in your old age.

Today, with so many medical and technological advancements, it is very easy to take care of yourself and need not depend on others for your good health. You will be in control of your life and that is certainly a ‘feel-good’ factor. Who wants to hand over the reins of their life to others? You will also be able to help others in your family to do so and provide them with good quality of life, thereby contributing to their wellbeing.

These days, educational institutions and the corporate world are taking health-related matters seriously and are driving many initiatives for the benefit of students/ employees. Therefore, a supportive and conducive environment is also essential to promote and maintain good health. As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

We have already discussed mental and social wellbeing in our earlier editions.

How does your Physical Health affect your wellness?

We define Physical Wellness as…

“The ability to develop good habits, manage weight, have required control, and establish a disciplined lifestyle to have and maintain a healthy body.”

If one does not take care of their physical health, it will affect all other aspects of our life – be it education, our profession, finances, peace of mind, relationships, etc. and over and above our overall wellness.

You can achieve Physical Wellness in the following four simple ways:

1. Foresee problems

Though many of us hesitate to talk about our fears and problems, which may occur, it is important to share them with those who have expertise in that domain. Not only will you be able to do something about it immediately, but it will also help you ward off crises and achieve peace of mind. In addition, as shared earlier, we tend to prioritise other things – like our work, sorting out matters, etc. at the cost of our health. However, should you experience a feeling that something is not right or something may happen to you related to your health, you need to take prompt action and required precautions. Visit the doctor in case of any warning signs. After the age of 30, doctors recommend regular medical health check-ups as a precautionary measure.

You may be a very healthy person with no current ailments. However, you need to foresee problems, which may occur in the future due to various reasons – family history, your lifestyle, your posture, age, etc. You are the best person to understand your body and the concerns associated with it. To avoid unnecessary future expenditures regarding your health, it is important to take cover to protect yourself and your finances. Suitable medical insurance would help protect you and your family members as well. You would need to research thoroughly before you take this step to ensure you get the best deal.

Most of the time, your lifestyle, habits, posture, etc. can be the root cause of serious problems. Using the right postures while sitting, reading, walking, sleeping, etc. is very critical. You need to practise them at all given points of time, be it at your home or workplace. Else, they may have long-lasting, irreversible consequences.

2. Corrective Actions

To ensure we lead a healthy lifestyle or even correct our existing lifestyle, we need to take care of our body parameters. The reports of your regular health check-ups also will provide you insights for corrective action. It is also essential that we are aware of important numbers – our sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, and other essential ones.

Keeping yourself active through regular exercise and other physical activities can be one of the many actions that you may need to take. At times, people think that only obese or fat people need to exercise. However, it is not so. Each one of us needs to keep our arms and limbs active and in working condition. Exercises are not restricted to merely muscular or cardiovascular strength and flexibility, but should also include all parts of the body – ears, eyes, nose, throat, and so on. How many of us actually do this? How many of us go for periodic eye, dental, ENT check-ups, etc.? Only when we face a problem, do we run for medical help. We cannot afford to be reactive; else, it may be too late for repair. We need to remind ourselves constantly that every part of our body is essential and hence needs equal care and respect.

Along with the right physical activities, it is essential your body gets good nutrition. It is the mantra for your good health and for optimal functioning of your body. When the nutrients are in the required proportion, illness, and disease will be far away from you. You should avoid quick-fix methods for good health. There may be many well-wishers, who will give you free medical advice; however, you need to listen to your body and act as per your doctor’s instructions or advice. Even for the right nutrition, advice from the relevant experts will help instead of trying out things on your own or others’ advice. However, it is important to maintain and sustain good nutrition or a healthy diet. Invariably people relate the word ‘diet’ to only dieting or weight loss. This is not so. Hence, do not be confused on this front.

 While diet does relate to weight loss/ gain and people keep deadlines for achieving it, they should do it under medical supervision, and with a lot of care, else it could be counter-productive. Achieving the desired results is indeed a great accomplishment, however, maintaining that state over time is extremely challenging.

When we are talking about nutrition and weight loss, the one factor that emerges is the problem of obesity. Obese people have to be extra careful about their diet and physical activities; else, it could be detrimental for them. Obesity has become a serious global problem. As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 1 billion people worldwide are obese – 650 million adults, 340 million adolescents and 39 million children. This number is still increasing. WHO estimates that by 2025, approximately 167 million people, both adults and children will become less healthy because they are overweight or obese. This is only one aspect of our health. Therefore, we need to be ever conscious of our overall health and there is absolutely no room for compromise. Our habits during youth will see results in our old age. As we sow, so shall we reap – is a famous saying and so true and applicable to our health.

3. Exercise required control

While we are involved in physical activity and consuming nutritious food and maintaining healthy habits, it is equally important to ensure that we abstain from undesirable habits – consumption of tobacco, drugs, excess alcohol, and fat, among others. The effect of these habits will overshadow or negate the effect of your good habits and the result will be zero or maybe even negative. While consumption of the above may give temporary relief or raise your spirits, regular consumption may harm your body manifold.

As long as you maintain the required control for your body, things will be rosy.  Anything taken in excess or insufficient quantities will create an imbalance. The moment there is an imbalance, you will get imbalanced too. Control is not for only unhealthy people, but it is applicable to all regardless of age group, gender, location, etc.

At times, good and tasty food/ drinks may lure you and you may go overboard. As long as it is an exception, it is fine. The problems start when exceptions start becoming habits. For that, you need to be aware and conscious of your limit & capacity and above all listen to your body signals. Maintain and sustain the required control in your life and make it a habit and it will be easy to lead a disciplined life.

4. Maintain discipline

Maintaining discipline always helps. We are not referring to just the consumption of food and drinks, etc. but to anything that you do in your life. If you make a schedule for yourself and stick to it, it will turn into a habit and will not require much effort. As children and students, we lead a disciplined life and do things on time. When we take exams, we finish them in time to get the best results. Then why does this system and discipline change and vanish as we grow up? When we become parents, we start disciplining our children and others. However, do we maintain that discipline and even if we do, how often do we do it?

If you maintain a schedule, it will not only give you a sense of control, but you will also encounter less stress. Else, things will be so chaotic and you will be doing fire fighting all the time. This will not allow you to focus on things you are actually supposed to do. Schedule your morning – be it getting up, exercising, your morning routine, eating breakfast, and so on. Initially, it may appear to be challenging. However, with daily practice, it will become a habit and discipline will automatically be in your life. Subsequently, if you stop maintaining that discipline, you feel you are missing something.

You need to follow this discipline not only at home but also at your workplace. Even while dealing with others, maintain it. The people in your ecosystem will look up to you and appreciate you and you can even be a role model for many. While it is important to keep up to your disciplined schedule, it is equally important to give your body the needed rest. Listen to your body signals. Your body needs rest and sleep for repair, maintenance, rejuvenation, and battery recharge. There is no fixed rule for the number of hours you need to sleep. You need to have quality sleep rather than the number of hours you sleep. At times, you may sleep very well for just 5 hours and still feel fresh as against having disturbed sleep for 9 hours.

For all the above, it is important to maintain timelines. We had discussed earlier regarding maintaining a schedule – getting up, doing physical activities, etc. You need to set timelines for each activity to ensure you can take care of things in time. For e.g. get up at a specific time, walk for 30 minutes, and so on. You need to set timings for your activities to be in control of your time. Else, you may have excuses for not doing something saying you do not have the time. Set rules for yourself and follow them. Once in a way, deviating from them is okay as long as you do not make it a habit. Repeated destructive habits will not help you at all.

A stitch in time saves nine. Do what you need to do for your health and body at that time. If you defer, you may suffer. When we are young and energetic, we are over-confident and may think that we do not need to follow a routine for our health and take care of it. However, the after-effects of these thoughts will be visible, as we grow older.

We simply cannot afford to do without Physical Wellness because…

Health is Wealth!

DELAY NO MORE and get going to managing your Physical Wellness.

Ajay Mahajan | Sadhana Rao |

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