People who endorse the belief that they can circumvent obstacles that get in the way of their goals are more successful. Not because of magical abilities or thoughts. More simply, people with “pathways thinking” access their mental energy more readily and devote greater effort to pursue the goals that they care about. — Todd B. Kashdan Ph.D.
Many of us turn to a psychologist when we struggle with mental health concerns such as depression or anxiety. This profession provides us with guidance, teaching us proper ways to cope and deal with our problems. However, it’s not just good for our mental well-being. Psychologists can also assist us in improving our physical health in various ways. Let’s take a look at how.
Promotes A Healthy Lifestyle
When we think about psychologists, we often see them as people who help us overcome psychological and emotional distress. Aside from these things, they also provide us with guidance in other aspects of our lives. There are those who assist us in finding our career path, those who assess work environment and needs, and those who help us understand ourselves better.
No matter what they specialize in, they’re likely to lead us to a healthier lifestyle through positive practices. Clinical psychologists, for instance, help us manage our psychological distress. They do this by developing a treatment plan for us. Their plan for us can include getting more sleep, exercising, and eating healthier. In turn, these activities improve our physical well-being. Sleep allows our body to repair itself, exercise releases hormones that make us happy, and a balanced diet keeps us healthy. It’s about staying on track with things that help us both mentally and physically.
Keeps You Away From Harmful Habits
Many of us deal with our problems through harmful coping mechanisms such as binge drinking, smoking, and reckless thrill-seeking behavior. Psychologists don’t just help us start good practices. One of the things that they do is to help you break from harmful habits.
Staying away from these activities is a positive thing for our physical health. Smoking damages the lungs and can lead to several illnesses such as bronchitis, emphysema, and cancer. Drinking can make us dependent on alcohol and cause liver cirrhosis, fibrosis, or alcoholic hepatitis. Being inebriated can also put us in harm’s way. Many thrill-seeking activities can be risky and dangerous, which can physically harm us.
Your most important mission is staying true to your own internal compass since that is what you end up living in the long run. — Teyhou Smyth Ph.D., LMFT
Helps You Express Your Emotions
People tend to give more attention to IQ and forget the importance of EQ. What many of us don’t know is that our emotions can also physically affect us. Our body responds differently to specific emotions. When we’re angry, our blood pressure rises. Likewise, sadness can bring about stress, which in turn affects our hormone levels. With severe anxiety, digestive problems such as indigestion, constipation, and hyperacidity can come about.
Thankfully, we can learn to avoid these symptoms by seeing a psychologist. They’ll teach us that negative feelings such as anger and grief are not inherently evil. We have to learn how to manage and handle our emotions better. They can also help us find underlying problems that cause such feelings and reactions. Once we can control what we feel, we also avoid the harm they can cause to our physical health.
Lowers Your Risk Of Developing Illnesses
While having poor physical health can deteriorate your mental health, the reverse is also true. For instance, those with depression often have poor sleeping patterns. The lack of rest means our body doesn’t have enough time to repair itself for the next day. Over time, sleep deprivation puts you at a higher risk of developing heart disease and experiencing a heart attack.
Depression can also mean skipping meals or loss of appetite, which keeps us from getting the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Malnutrition lowers our immune system and impairs brain function, making us more prone to severe illnesses.
Physicians can help patients feel less alienated by working collaboratively with psychologists who think about the illness experience from a comprehensive and multi-faceted perspective. — Mary-Joan Gerson Ph.D.
Both physical and mental health are parts of our overall well-being. They are linked and worked hand-in-hand with each other. They’re a two-way street, with both affecting the other both positively and negatively. It is the reason why it’s essential for us to remember not to neglect either one of the aspects. Seeking help from a professional can help us develop better habits, break away from negative ones, learn to manage our emotions, and lower our risk of diseases.
Just like how our physicians can help our physical health improve our mental wellness, seeing a psychologist to improve our state of mind can make us keep fit – body and mind.