Improve Your Emotional and Physical Health
Take a moment to think about what is important to you. Most likely, the first things that come to mind are things like love, career, success, and financial security.
Yes, these are all important factors in anyone’s life. However, underlying everything is good health. Without good health, you have nothing: it is impossible to find other things in life if you do not have good health to allow you to do that. And when we speak of health, we should keep both physical and emotional health in mind.
Improving your physical and emotional health is important, but this doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. Here are 8 simple things you can do today to kick start your emotional and physical health.
Ways to Improve Your Emotional and Physical Health
1. Eat Better
A healthy, balanced diet is essential for our physical health, as our bodies need certain nutrients to perform properly and be healthy. Healthy eating is also key to emotional health: lack of proper nutrients in the diet can lead to mood imbalance, whereas vitamins and minerals have a mood-boosting effect.
Unhealthy food not only plays havoc with our bodies, with proven links to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other severe conditions in the long term. It also plays havoc with our emotional health, with links between obesity and mental illness. This doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in pizza or ice cream occasionally, it should just always be in moderation!
4. Get Plenty of Sleep
The power of sleep should not be underestimated. Getting a solid seven or eight hours of sleep a night is vital for being able to handle the physical and emotional demands of your day. Lack of sleep has been linked to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, as well as long term physical health conditions.
Making sure you are in bed for a solid eight hours a night is one thing, but it can also be a challenge to make sure you get quality sleep during this time. Many people find themselves tossing and turning, or waking up throughout the night. If this is an on-going issue, two ways to address this are your environment (comfortable bed and pillow, not too much light, quiet) and your bedtime routine.
5. Stress Less
Some degree of stress is normal, but being under constant stress can be detrimental not just to your emotional health but your physical health too. Chronic and long-term stress can impact on your immune system, making you more vulnerable to colds and the like, as well as causing a range of health issues such as gastrointestinal complaints.
If you find yourself regularly under stress, it is time to critically assess the causes of that stress. Are you doing too much? Is your work having an adverse impact on your health? Or do you have unhealthy relationships in your life that are causing you stress? Stress is not healthy, so it is time to address the root causes of that stress.
6. Get Exercise
The benefits of exercise for our physical health are obvious. However, exercise is equally beneficial for our emotional wellbeing too. As well as improving our physical fitness, regular exercise has been shown to boost the immune system, improve mood, and help to manage the symptoms of mental illness.
If the idea of a full-on fitness regime seems unobtainable to you, start small. Introduce small amounts of regular exercise into your routine, such as ten minutes of yoga in the morning or going for a walk on your lunch break.
7. Spend Time Outside
One simple way to improve your emotional and physical health is simply spending more time outside. The great outdoors and nature have powerful impacts on our emotional wellbeing. Not to mention the physical benefits of fresh air and exercise.
Even if your lifestyle or budget doesn’t allow for you to get away for the weekend to go camping or similar, you can still find small ways to get outside. Going to your local park on your lunch break, or even just sitting in your garden or courtyard for a few minutes in the morning or the evening can make a big difference.
8. Look After Your Sexual Health
Our sexual health is one of the areas of our health that is often most neglected. Because of the stigma that still surrounds sexually transmitted diseases, this is something that is not often discussed. This means that people are often not aware of the symptoms, risks, and other critical information regarding STIs.
This stigma also means that many people do not get tested as often as they should. Regular STI testing at a Better2Know clinic or similar is essential for looking after your sexual health, as STIs can be asymptomatic, including the most common STI, chlamydia, which shows no symptoms for 75% of female sufferers.
Meditation has long been known to have benefits for the mind and body. Regular meditation is one of the best things you can do to manage stress, and therefore decrease the negative impacts stress has on mind and body. Meditation has also been shown to increase energy levels, memory, and focus, among other benefits.
If the idea of sitting and meditating for an hour or more seems impossible to you, don’t worry. Like many other things, you can start small with meditation. Even five or ten minutes a day will have positive effects. Using an app like Headspace is a great way to get started.
8. Keep a Journal
The power of self-reflection should also not be underestimated. Being able to look inward helps us to identify our feelings, including the emotions that can cause you pain, which is the first step to being able to deal with them. Of course, working out how we feel is easier said than done, and a simple, practical tool to do this is journaling. Keeping a journal of your feelings is a great way to sort through your emotions and set you up for making positive changes.