It is a truth that our physical health has a direct impact on our mental and emotional wellness. Everything we do plays a role in our overall happiness. So, it makes sense to pay attention to our bodies when we notice that we are stuck in emotional turmoil. This is achieved by prioritizing self-care. By practicing self-care, you put yourself closer to improving your physical and mental health. Here are things you can do to better yourself from the outside in.
Visit the Dentist
You might not realize this, but your oral health plays a significant role in your mental health. The link, according to Delta Dental, that’s hard to ignore. Anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders may be triggered by the state of your teeth and gums. This connection may be partly due to germs and bacteria that build up in the mouth when you don’t take care of your teeth. Another factor is pain. When you have a toothache or your gums are inflamed, you’re likely to be in a bad mood. And when the pain doesn’t go away, this can leave you chronically cranky. If you haven’t had your mouth examined within the last few months, it’s time to find a dentist in your area that can get your oral health back on track. If you’re a senior with Medicare and need dental coverage, it may be a good idea to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan. Many of these plans cover oral exams, cleanings, crowns, and dentures.
Check Your Back
Speaking of pain, chronic pain stemming from your spine can also put a damper on your days. Many people have found it beneficial to visit a chiropractor or acupuncturist therapist to help with back discomfort. Unfortunately, because of a lack of scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of acupuncture, it is not often covered by insurance. If you have Medicare, you should know that no form of Medicare covers acupuncture — or many other holistic therapies. However, most plans do cover physical therapy, which can help relieve pain by strengthening your muscles and joints.
Meditation is proven to reduce stress and enhance your overall sense of well-being. There’s strong evidence that meditation can actually rewire your brain in ways that will improve your focus and decision-making abilities. Fortunately, you can meditate from the comfort of your own home. Simply find a quiet corner or out-of-the-way room and clear your mind. Next, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Remember, it’s perfectly normal for your mind to wander, but it’s important to return your focus to your breath. You can meditate for five minutes or an hour — it’s completely up to you. If you have never meditated before, Ten Percent Happier offers plenty of advice on meditation for beginners. Meditation is a great opportunity to get to know your body, and you will learn to watch for signs of stress and come up with ways to reduce it. This might be something as simple as saying “no” to taking on extra projects at work or helping you realize that you probably need a vacation.
Exercise is not just for people looking to build muscle or lose weight. Stretching, walking, and even cleaning up around the house kicks your muscles into high gear and tells your brain that it’s time to deliver doses of serotonin, a chemical that is in part responsible for controlling happiness. Even more importantly, regular exercise can help you stave off many other conditions that have an adverse effect on your health. Getting your heart rate up for just a few minutes each day can help prevent cardiovascular disease and will improve your metabolism. The calories you burn can help you lose weight, which will lessen your chances of diabetes and will most likely have a positive effect on your self-confidence levels. As an added bonus, when you exercise, you sleep better, and that alone can improve your mental health.
Your mind and body are connected, and the way you treat your physical form plays a huge role in how you feel on the inside. While therapy can certainly help you manage depression and other mental health disorders, you may find that doing things like exercising and visiting your dentist may be the added boost you need to keep you at your very best.
Mental Health for All
Written by Brad Krause and published by NorthStar Transitions.