Celebrated annually to draw attention to a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world, World Health Day is marked on April 7, the date that is also the anniversary of the founding of World Health Organisation in 1948. It is celebrated to reimagine a world where clean air, water and food are available to all, where economies are focused on health and well-being, where cities are liveable and people have control over their health and the health of the planet.
World Health Day also marks the date of the anniversary of the founding of World Health Organisation in 1948 and this year WHO is focusing global attention on urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being. The mind and body connection is no secret as all of us have experienced our feelings directly impacting our physical health and vice versa.
This is because our thoughts and feelings influence what goes on with our bodies because of the explicit interdependence of the mind and body and that is why we often find ourselves saying, “I am not feeling good,” or “I don’t feel like eating,” or “I am not hungry because I am not in the mood or feeling low emotionally or depressed.” In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Shruthi M Hegde, Senior Research Associate – R&D at Himalaya Wellness Company shared additional examples of the mind body connection which include people experiencing panic attacks, sweating or shivering and those with stress complaining of fatigue.
“Such instances narrate the connection between mental and physical health. An imbalance between one’s physical and mental health is also found to be related to serious illnesses like cancer and cardiovascular and respiratory health issues in the long run. Similarly, about one in three people with chronic physical health conditions experience mental health issues, which can deteriorate the immune system and cause sleep disturbances,” she said. The expert listed 5 tips for maintaining a balance between physical and mental health:
1. Regular exercise: Physical activities are an excellent option to keep oneself fit and healthy while simultaneously improving mental well-being. One can also engage in sports, dance, Yoga or other daily physical activities. Regular exercise helps in improving metabolism, uplifting mood and increasing energy and alertness.
2. Healthy food habits: We all know the saying, “You are what you eat”. A healthy, nutritious diet helps keep the body and mind healthy. Following a good diet plan like eating fresh, wholesome food, and mindful eating contributes to good health.
3. Restful sleep: Sound sleep at night helps relax the body, destress the mind, relieve stress, and calm the mind.
4. Quitting bad habits: Gradual steps should be taken daily to get rid of bad habits. It might be smoking, alcohol consumption, eating junk food, or excessive screen time. Regulating our habits will help in making the body and mind healthier.
5. Developing good habits: We should try to participate in activities that help calm the mind and improve focus. One can take up journal writing to reflect on the day. Practicing meditation helps relieve stress, thus improving mental and physical health. One should focus more on positive emotions rather than negative ones.
Staying healthy and leading a good quality life should be the central goal to maintain a balance between physical and mental health. When we face a challenge in keeping up with mental health, it impacts our physical well-being. Hence, taking good care of ourselves is of the utmost importance.