We all know that regular exercise, eating healthily, getting enough sleep and not smoking are important for our physical health. But is our health just physical?
Increasingly many of us relate to the link between mind and body. The World Health Organisation now acknowledges that health is not just the absence of illness, but is a state of physical, mental and social wellbeing.
What does the research say?
We have good psychological health when we regularly experience positive emotions, are satisfied with our lives, have good social support and feel optimistic about the future.
In studies, scientists have found people with good psychological health are better protected from the common cold, have stronger immune systems and their cardiovascular system recovers more quickly after stressful events. They have even found that people with good life satisfaction and an optimistic outlook actually live longer and die less of other illnesses throughout life.
Over the longer term what tends to happen is that being able to think and feel in more positive ways also helps us to behave in more positive ways (such as getting exercise, better nutrition and sleep). Our positive behaviours can then become sustainable habits and lead to long term lifestyle change.
How can I get this vaccine?
The long and the short of it is that working on enjoying your life and relationships, and fostering an optimistic outlook will in the end make you mentally AND physically more healthy!
Here are some ideas for what you can do today to boost your overall health tomorrow:
- Grab a girlfriend and have a laugh
- Go to a meditation course – get hubby to babysit (Mindfulness also boosts your brain and immune function)
- Brainstorm some solutions for a problem you’ve been stuck on for a while
- Write down 3 good things that happen to you each day in a pretty journal (perhaps a Mothers Day gift from your kids?)
- Do a kind thing for someone else – look after someone’s child after school if their mum has a migraine.
Hopefully this blog helps you feel less guilty investing time in YOU, reminding yourself that by inoculating yourself to boost your mental health, you will also give your physical health a shot in the arm!
Best wishes from Flourishing Mothers
Adapted from the work of Nansook Park and Carmello Vazquez