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How Therapy Can Positively Impact Your Physical Health

Paying attention to your mental health can have a big impact on your physical health -- and vice versa

Last Updated: Oct 26, 2021

A person sitting in the foreground rubs the side of their head with one hand while speaking to a psychiatrist who is holding a notebook in one hand and touching their chin thoughtfully with the other.

People seek therapy for various reasons, including improving their mental health, boosting their self-esteem, and confronting traumatic events from the past. Therapy, however, may also assist with a wide range of things, including the impacts of personal hygiene on your health, relationship issues, and familial difficulties.

In this article, we’ll explore how mental and physical health are intertwined and why you might consider therapy not just for your mental wellbeing but for your physical health as well.

And with the emergence of online therapy as an alternative to traditional, in-person sessions, you have options that weren’t available just a few years ago. Online platforms like BetterHelp are helping to make virtual therapy sessions affordable and accessible for more people and may even offer discounts to help new patients get started.

Understanding the Connection Between Mind and Body

In general, poor mental wellbeing can impair your capacity to resist chronic illnesses and make sound judgments.

For example, mental stress may make you more susceptible to developing chronic diseases like hypertension or diabetes. Depression and anxiety are also linked to increased risk of smoking, drinking, poor nutrition habits, oversleeping, insomnia, and obesity.

Other examples of complications may include:

Both our mental and physical wellbeing don’t simply remain top-notch throughout our lives; for instance, we shouldn’t expect muscles to remain toned if we no longer exercise. Something similar can be said for mental health – it requires attention and care in order for us to nurture and maintain mental health, particularly in stressful times. When you tend to both mental health and physical wellbeing simultaneously, you can improve your quality of life significantly.

Benefits of Therapy for Your Physical Health

The mental and physical benefits of attending therapy are numerous. However, there are specific ways in which receiving mental health treatment has positive impacts on your overall wellbeing.

In therapy, mental health professionals help clients understand how their mental state may influence their physical health. They also assist people in considering methods to address both cognitive and emotional pressures more effectively. Furthermore, many of the techniques used by therapists are known for reducing anxiety and depression symptoms that often go hand-in-hand with mental and physical health problems.

Throughout the rest of this article, we will touch on ways that therapy can positively influence your physical health.

Boost Immune System

People with mental health issues might have compromised immune systems. Stress-induced hormones such as cortisol raise the risk of heart disease and have links to various mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. In addition, high blood pressure, arrhythmia, and a weakened immune system can all be due to unchecked stress.

Seeking therapy for your stress and anxiety can improve your overall health. For example, studies have shown that improving your mental health can help you live a healthier life by increasing the strength and functionality of your immune system. As a result, you can live a healthier and longer life.

Improve Emotional Health

With mental health problems, emotions are often negative and contribute to mental illness. In addition, these feelings can interfere with your ability to think clearly or make good decisions about everyday life events.

Therapy works by helping people identify how they regularly feel in order to live happier lives. As you work through your mental challenges, it is crucial to identify and analyze your feelings.

Your sense of self-worth and confidence is boosted, and your capacity to develop closer relationships improves. As a result of therapy, you may enhance existing friendships or partnerships on any level. You may also strengthen coping skills to help you deal with unpleasant feelings or circumstances, which will benefit your physical wellbeing.

Moreover, if your mental health is causing issues with intimacy with your partner – which is quite common – therapy can help you identify the mental barriers that negatively impact your communication or prevent you from being comfortable with intimacy. This lets you better communicate how you feel, which will likely improve the emotional and physical health of the relationship.

However, if you need other methods of helping with physical issues related to intimacy or sexual performance, there are safe and affordable options like BlueChew to use in the comfort of your home.

Improve Mood

Therapy can also help you identify and decrease negative thinking patterns or cognitive distortions that impact your mood. Improving your mental health can reduce feelings of anxiety or depression, which cause a range of physical symptoms. These include headaches, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and muscle tension, among others.

Fortunately, mental health therapy can help you by teaching you to identify how these cognitive distortions affect your mood and life. By learning what triggers certain thoughts or feelings, people often gain more control over their mental state. This directly improves emotional wellbeing through healthy coping skills that positively impact physical health.

Increase Physical Activity

The more positive your mental state is, the more likely you will get out of bed and exercise. On the other hand, people who are depressed or anxious often suffer from mental fatigue, which makes the idea of exercise seem unappealing. However, it is important to note that nurturing your mental health can improve physical activity levels and reduce feelings of anxiety about exercise.

Regular exercise has mental health benefits as well, including boosts in energy and positive mood. Exercise also increases serotonin levels which can help to reduce feelings of anxiety or depression by balancing brain chemistry. Rather than feeling drained during mental health struggles, you may feel more motivated to engage with essential activities for your overall health, such as physical activity.

Reduce Physical Symptoms Caused by Anxiety

Mental health symptoms can often show up as physical symptoms. Mental fatigue, muscle tension, hair loss, and weight gain or loss are among the common symptoms of mental illness that can harm your overall health.

Although there are therapies for muscular tension and treatments for hair loss, therapy can help address underlying issues. Moreover, therapy for mental health issues will help you reduce mental exhaustion, which reduces stress throughout the body that may contribute to these physical symptoms.

Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease

The mental health world has seen a spike in disorders due to increased stress and anxiety. Anxiety can cause physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, irregular heartbeat, and elevated blood pressure or chest pain, which increase the risk for poor cardiovascular health. All of these issues are exacerbated by mental fatigue that accompanies mental illnesses.

With mental fatigue, the increased risk of heart disease becomes even greater. Therapy can help you learn coping skills to manage mental health symptoms while also improving mental-physical connectivity that reduces the physical consequences of mental disorders.

Therapy for a Happier, Healthier Life

Mental disorders have a significant impact on psychological and physical health – and vice versa – but therapy can help you manage mental wellbeing to improve your body functions. Thus, the more your mental health improves, the more physical health will follow suit. Addressing both your mental and physical health with routines involving therapy and exercise can be quite transformative.