While eating right and exercising regularly keeps you strong and fit, your overall wellbeing also depends on often-overlooked factors. Healthy individuals cultivate positive habits for their entire body and mind. As you attend to your mental, dental, and social health, your overall health will improve in unexpected ways.
It’s well established that physical activity has a positive impact on mental health, but did you know the opposite is also true? Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem can lead to behaviors harmful to the body, such as smoking, overeating, and a sedentary lifestyle, and aggravate conditions such as high blood pressure and autoimmune diseases.
You can take several steps proactively to maintain good mental health, starting with good sleep habits. Meditation and relaxation techniques can help you cope with anxiety. Spending time in nature has also been shown to lift spirits and contribute to a general sense of wellbeing. Your physician can provide you with a mental health screening to determine serious or chronic problems that may need treatment.
Dental health is an often overlooked influence on physical health. Studies have shown how dental and periodontal problems can have adverse effects on heart disease. The bacteria and inflammation associated with gum diseases are linked to cardiovascular problems such as endocarditis and stroke. Even for otherwise healthy pregnant women, dental problems can lead to premature delivery and low birth-weight infants.
Daily brushing and flossing are good preventative measures, but a visit to the dentist is also essential. A regular dental exam identifies problems that could get worse for your teeth. You and your dentist can also discuss treatment plans for any decay or early gum disease detected.
Your overall health depends on an active and rewarding social life. Friends keep you more active and engaged both physically and mentally, which in turn leads to better fitness and improved cognitive function. Social activities also have a positive impact on preventing depression and raising self-esteem. Moreover, a strong social network is beneficial during times of trouble or illness.
As you plan your daily routine, remember that physical health is closely related to other aspects of mind and body. Attention to the less-thought of aspects of your health will contribute to your overall physical wellbeing.
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