Health psychology takes a holistic approach to the treatment of physical and mental disorders. In recent years there has been more emphasis on prevention where previously the emphasis was on a disease based model. This article gives you tips on how to take care of yourself physically and mentally and explain the interplay of physical and mental health.
- understand that your environment and behavior affects your physical and mental health
- understand that your thoughts and feelings affect your health
- get all of the help that you need from professionals
- the things that you can to help yourself and accept the things you can’t
- change things in your environment if you can
Your environment and your behavior affect how you feel physically and emotionally. For example, if you are in a stressful environment at work and at home, you feel anger and anxiety which can make you prone to heart attack and any disease epidemic that there is. Whether it’s the flu, a stomach virus, or just the common cold, getting anxious and angry makes it worse. The best thing is to see if there is anything you can change at work or home, and change how you respond to it.
Certain illnesses have been linked not only to diet and health but to thinking patterns. For example, cancer has been shown to affect people who isolate themselves and do not feel close to people. Heart attacks used to be associated with people who are Type A, always working hard and trying to achieve things. However, the medical and psychiatric community now believes that it is only the Type A people who have anger and hostility that are at a higher risk for heart attack. For this reason, it is important to develop healthy eating and exercise habits and work on your emotional health.
People know if they are overweight, in pain, depressed, anxious or angry. Although some people are in denial. If you are reading this article then you are at least contemplating improving your physical and mental health. If you are overweight or eat too many unhealthy foods, consult a nutritionist. Most insurances will pay for it. If you are seeing a therapist and a nutritionist you can sign releases so they can communicate and coordinate your treatment. There are health psychologists who will treat both issues.
If you are familiar with the Serenity Prayer you know that the idea of accepting what you can and can’t change is a part of recovery from addictions. However, it also applies to health psychology. Maybe you live in an inner city environment where there is smog and stress. You can’t afford to move now but you can learn to de stress yourself and you can stop smoking so you will not add to your cancer and heart attack risk.
People can often do more to change their life than they think. Sometimes you might think that you can’t change your health, but you can change your diet. You might think you can’t change a chaotic situation at home but sometimes when you have a talk with everyone they respond better then you might think and cooperate better. You might think you can’t move to a certain area you would like that would be healthier because there are no jobs. Then you look and discover there are jobs and affordable housing.
Some people eat unhealthy foods because they feel stressed and they eat comfort foods to make themselves feel better. Comfort foods are foods that provide an immediate comfortable feeling such as pizza, ice cream, coffee, and cheese. While there is nothing wrong with eating these foods moderately, when you start eating them daily to feel good they can be detrimental to your health. There are other ways to make yourself feel good. Music, a good book, a comedy show, meditation, praying if you are religious. These healthy activities make you feel just as good.
You do not need to become fanatical about eating the right things and exercising. Making it a habit, but not the only thing in your life is the healthy and happy medium. If you are on a diet it can be okay to occasionally eat a favorite dessert as long as you plan it and don’t eat it every day. Even Weight Watchers has a program that includes consuming more points on one day vs. another as long as you balance it for the week. Good mental health involves balancing work and play. Don’t spend every minute of your life exercising, working and doing chores. You need to relax too.
Often, people are successful and functional workers, parents, and providers until they have an injury that puts them on disability. Therapy, in this instance, consists of two steps. Getting them to accept themselves in their present condition, and helping them learn what they still could do. While it is traumatic to lose your physical capacities, you do not have to conclude that you will never do anything again.
Many people today are in favor of taking homeopathic remedies and excluding traditional medicine. Sometimes a combination works best. Be open to any medicine that can help you but consult your physician on the best combinations. However, beware of medicines that do not combine.
Many doctors offices have self pay options. This includes medical doctors and specialists, including therapists. Don’t think that you can’t get help if you need it.
Your physical and mental health are both important. This article shows you that you do not have to be a victim of your circumstances if you need help. There is help available and you can take care of your physical and mental health.
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