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Mental Health And The Body’s Response

When it comes to your wellbeing, your physical and mental health can be tightly linked. If you’re having a hard day, nothing’s going your way and you’re generally feeling down, doesn’t it manifest itself physically as well? You might feel tired, sluggish, achy or just out of it. Similarly, getting in a good workout first thing in the morning can put a mental spring in your step and make you feel alert and lively.

The goal is ultimately to feel as best we can mentally and physically, so understanding the situations in which one can influence the other can lead to a better grasp of how each side of your well being can be improved. Here are a few of the ways researchers believe the mind and body work in tandem to make you feel your best.

How Working Up A Sweat Strengthens Mind And Body

If Legally Blonde taught us anything, it’s that exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make us happy. The adorable Elle Woods was absolutely right. Getting a good sweat session in can make you feel as good mentally as it does physically. A study in the journal of Sports Medicine even suggests that working out can be used as a tool to manage mild to moderate mental health conditions, especially depression and anxiety.

Another study, published by Preventative Medicine, notes a “significantly decreased prevalence of current major depression and anxiety disorders” in subjects that regularly participate in physical activity.

How Your Job Affects Your Physical And Mental Health

Just like exercise, your employment can impact your physical and mental wellbeing. The mental effects might be easier to understand; any of us who have hated a job can relate to just how great a negative toll it can take. But working hard at something you love can have physical benefits as well as mental benefits. A review on the impact of employment on physical health published by the American Sociological Association in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior claims that people who work for pay reported better physical well being than people who don’t, like the retired, unemployed or those who choose to stay at home. Employment also predicted slower declines in perceived health and physical functioning in both men and women.

A study in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, however, mentions that the quality of employment makes a difference in the physical results. The study found that “job satisfaction level is an important factor influencing the health of workers.”

How Your Happiness Can Affect Your Weight

Your mental health can also be tied to your physical health through weight. Obesity and mental health may be related, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. The study found, among other links, that children and adolescents with major depressive disorder may be at increased risk for becoming overweight, obese persons seeking weight-loss treatment may have elevated rates of depressive and bipolar disorders and women displaying atypical symptoms of depression are significantly more likely to be overweight than those with typical symptoms.

Even self-perceived weight issues can trigger negative mental health effects. A study in the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics suggests an important link between weight perception and self esteem. The study revealed a “strongly negative and significant relationship between self-perceived weight status and mental health” especially among women.

Mental health and physical health are two sides of the same coin. Whether it’s weight affected by self esteem or vice versa, working toward your best physical and mental health can benefit all aspects of your well being. 
If you’re interested in learning about more ways to lead a happy, healthy, balanced life or any other health and wellness concerns related to women, consider registering today for the Women’s Health Conversations 2016 Conference to be held in Pittsburgh, Pa., Nov. 4 through Nov. 5. The conference aims to empower, educate and entertain women from all walks of life who want to be a part of the conversation surrounding women’s health.

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