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How Mental Health Affects Physical Health

I know the value of good health, because I’ve seen and experienced my share of sickness and suffering. I also know that good health is a combination of an active lifestyle, sensible eating habits, good genes, a regular amount of mild to moderate exercise, and a whole lot of mental peace. In fact, the last factor is sometimes the most important aspect of physical health – our soul needs to be healthy in order for our bodies to follow suit.

A favorite uncle passed away due to a massive coronary – his death was sudden and instant – a few years ago. He was a confirmed vegetarian; he practiced yoga religiously, he was slim and fit, and he went on long treks regularly. But he still died of heart failure. The reason turned out to be the intense stress he was undergoing at the time because his brother had been caught embezzling funds from his company and was in danger of being indicted and incarcerated for fraud.

This only goes to show that no amount of eating healthy food and exercising is enough for good health if you are not happy and constantly worried about something or the other. To be fair, regular exercise does help elevate your mood through the natural release of endorphins, but if the stress that you face is much greater than the sum total of your exercise and healthy diet, then you’re at risk for diseases like diabetes, cholesterol and hypertension.

The only way to beat stress is to try and avoid it in the first place, and to do this, you need to be able to compartmentalize the different aspects of your life and keep them separate from each other. This means that you must leave the office at the office and not bring it home with you, literally or otherwise. Problems at work should stay there and not be carried over to your family. Similarly, personal relationships and family pressures should not affect the way you perform on a professional basis.

Easier said than done though, because we are only human and tend to be ruled by emotions. But when it becomes a matter of importance like health, we must strive to minimize stress from our lives, because if we don’t, it could end up being the most potent killer there is.