Mental Health for Patients – Mental Wellness Affects Physical Health Positively

Being diagnosed with an illness, especially one that requires long term treatment, turns your world upside down. In the days ahead, you’ll have to brace yourself for the uncertainties, interruptions to life and challenges that come your way. While the majority of patients soldier on bravely, it isn’t an easy journey and some may become anxious or depressed.

According to a study from the Centre for Mental Health in the UK, people with physical health problems, especially long-term conditions, are at increased risk of poor mental health – particularly depression and anxiety. Chronic pain is one example of a long-term ailment that is made worse by poor mental health.

Because the mind and body are linked, our ability to live a healthy lifestyle, manage illnesses and recover from them are all influenced by our mental health. Research has shown that negative emotions can weaken the immune system but positive emotions have been shown to boost it. As such, it is important for patients to face their illnesses with a positive mindset.

Here are 6 habits to optimise your mental and physical wellbeing when dealing with illness.


1. Sleep well, eat healthily and exercise regularly

Get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Getting sufficient sleep on a regular basis improves mood, reduces anxiety and sadness, and strengthens the immune system by enabling proper immune system function.

Your mood, energy levels and immune system will suffer if you don’t maintain a healthy and balanced diet that provides you with enough vitamins and minerals. While you don’t have to completely give up on your favourite treats, you should focus on eating lean protein, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and whole grains.

Regular exercise strengthens your immune system and promotes emotional well-being. While not all patients can exercise, those who are able to, should do exercises that are suited to their energy levels. Exercise boosts the body’s temperature to a point where it may disrupt harmful germs and encourages white blood cells to circulate through your body more quickly to spot invasive bacteria. The body’s production of endorphins and serotonin is also stimulated, which improves mood and lowers stress levels.

2. Get connected

Social engagement boosts your immune system, helping you fight off illnesses more effectively. Your friends and family can be a great source of emotional support when you are coping with an illness. Knowing you have a support system among family, friends or even a support group boosts your mood and helps you feel less lonely, anxious or depressed.

3. Keep your mind active

Stress can hinder your immune system and dwelling on your illness and life’s uncertainties or worrying about the future is not good for your mental health. Keeping your mind active can lower your stress levels. You can engage in hobbies that bring you joy or pick up new skills such as cooking, painting, gardening or playing a musical instrument.

4. Enjoy nature

Studies have shown that spending time outdoors reduces stress levels strengthens your immune system and lowers blood pressure. Make time for nature regularly and you’ll reap health benefits such as better sleep and a lower risk of developing heart disease or type II diabetes.

5. Re-prioritise your life

Reduce your stress levels by scaling down your activities and engagements to those that really matter. Re-evaluating the priorities in life and managing your time better will make you more effective and productive, and boost your immune system and emotional well-being.

6. Relax and laugh

Finding ways to unwind and relax is one of the simplest and most effective ways of elevating your mood and reducing stress. Read jokes, watch comedies, have fun with your family and friends and most importantly – laugh a lot.

When you laugh, your immune system is boosted, your mood is improved, your pain is reduced and you are shielded from the negative effects of stress. Nothing works better to rebalance your mind and body than a good laugh. Laughter truly is the best medicine!

Not only your mental health, but also your physical health, will benefit if you establish and maintain these healthy habits.

READ ALSO: Maintain A Healthy Mental Health as A Senior Citizen

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