The teenage years are a time of significant changes and development, not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. As teens navigate the complexities of growing up, it’s crucial to understand the connection between the mind and body.
While physical and mental health is typically referred to as two separate entities, we tend to forget how connected the two are. Mental and physical health both rely heavily on each other and cannot exist separately. Recent research has shown that those who live with a mental health illness are more likely to have a preventable physical health issue.
Similarly, one in three people that manage a long-term health problem also deals with a mental health illness such as anxiety and depression. These findings can be caused by a variety of things, but current studies suggest that the following reasons are the main contributors.
The Role of Genetics in Healthcare
Genetics plays a large role in your overall health. It is more likely for an individual to develop a mental or physical health problem if it runs in their family. Sometimes, being diagnosed with an illness is completely out of your control!
Low motivation, sometimes caused by certain mental health illnesses or prescribed medication, can affect how willing you are to take care of yourself, participate in enjoyable activities, and work towards achieving your goals. It is important to be aware of any changes you are noticing in your hygiene, activity level, and daily habits as it may indicate a lack of motivation.
The Importance of Support and Receiving Care
A lack of support may not provide an individual with encouragement to change unhealthy behaviors. Without support from your family, friends, and/or healthcare professionals, one is less likely to commit to actionable changes.
Lastly, not wanting to receive medical care can greatly impact the detection of an illness. Since those who have mental health illnesses are less likely to seek help, detecting a physical condition such as heart disease could have been diagnosed and treated earlier.
4 Steps to Better Health, Mental and Physical
While there is extensive research about how mental illnesses are connected to physical conditions, receiving a mental health diagnosis does not mean you will suffer from a physical issue, and vice versa.
The best way to prevent this cycle from happening is to give yourself the best chance of staying well overall. Here are some things we recommend to help yourself!
1. Get enough sleep
Take the time to prioritize rest. Sleeping between 7-9 hours a night will provide mental and physical benefits!
2. Eat well-balanced meals
A balanced diet contributes to both physical and mental health.
3. Put yourself first
Self-care is not selfish! It is important to take time each day to care for yourself. This can look different for everyone; reading a book, going on a run, meditating, and listening to music are all forms of self-care.
4. Make an appointment with your doctor:
If you are worried about your mental or physical health or if you have not seen your doctor for a routine visit for some time, make an appointment to visit them. Talking through some of your concerns with a medical professional who supports you can ease your mind.
In conclusion, the mind and body connection is critical for understanding the health of our teens. To prevent the cycle from happening, it is important to take steps towards better health, both mentally and physically. By being aware of changes in daily habits, seeking support, and receiving medical care, teenagers can give themselves the best chance of staying well overall.