Many people think that mental health and physical health aren’t directly related. They forget that the brain is just another organ that is connected to the nervous system. Your nervous system is interlinked, something bad in a certain area can cause a cascade effect in another area. Anything that is wrong with you whether physically or mentally will have a ripple effect in other seemingly unrelated systems. Here is why:
1.) The Nocebo effect:
Everyone has heard of the placebo effect; its opposite is less often talked about. It deals with the same concept except that the outcome of the mind’s intervention is negative instead of positive. This nocebo effect happens when you are having negative thoughts that spin into your everyday physiology and lead to health problems down the line. By always thinking that something is wrong, your body will start acting like something is wrong.
2.) Chronic cortisol is never a good thing:
If we were baking a cake built with hormones as its ingredients, cortisol would be like the salt that is added to the recipe. It is there to make sure that things maintain stability and settle properly, it has its uses, but I think we all know what too much salt would do to a recipe for a cake. You definitely do not want too much of it, your body wasn’t built to function with it being activated all the time. This is why stress is a killer because it inhibits many of our rest, digest and recover processes that are so vital for optimal health. It keeps us in a flight or fight mode where our body is ready to respond to threats instead of resting up and healing by the campfire when it really should.
3.) Mental illness does not just affect the mind:
Many of the neurotransmitters that are faulty or deficient in many neurological/mental health disorders are also vital for many other body processes such as organ function and muscle contraction. If any of those neurotransmitters are problematic, there will be health consequences that do not just affect the brain associated with them. This is why it is important to identify the root cause of a disorder so that it can be adjusted accordingly.
Finding ways to keep a positive mindset, reduce your stress and get any lingering mental illness under control would have huge benefits not just in your quality of life but also your body will thank you for it in the long run. Many people look to diet, aging, and exercise as the main reasons why our health deteriorates over time but maybe we’ve been ignoring the root cause for all of those pitfalls (Or the lack of them) all along.