The Mind-Body Connection: How Mental Health Impacts Physical Health

Everything is connected. Whether you realize it or not, what happens in one area of your health impacts and affects others. Taking care of your mind helps take care of your body, and vice versa.

At Vivage, we understand how important it is to pay attention to all aspects of a person’s wellness. In conjunction with traditional medicine and care, our communities offer holistic services that cater to the “whole person” – mind, body, and spirit. To help you realize how this works, we are exploring the connection between the mind and body and how the two affect one another.

What is the Mind-Body Connection?

According to John Hopkins Medicine, the “mind-body connection is the belief that the causes, development and outcomes of a physical illness are determined from the interaction of psychological, social factors and biological factors.”

The connection between the mind and body is essentially a link between all aspects of an individual’s overall health and wellness. This means that our thoughts and emotions can negatively or positively affect our physical conditions and health.

How Does Mental Health Influence Physical Health?

The mind-body connection explains that our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and beliefs influence the physical health of our bodies. A good example of this is stress. Stress is a mental condition, and while it can be useful in small doses, like in an emergency situation, long-term or chronic stress can start to affect your physical health

The American Psychological Association states, “stress affects all systems of the body including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, and reproductive systems.”

When a person experiences chronic stress, it can lead to physical ailments and conditions such as headaches, heartburn, high blood pressure, tense muscles, or stomachaches. These conditions, initially caused by stress, can then potentially lead to additional health issues. 

The connection between the mind and body, however, goes both ways. If you are dealing with physical ailments, this can affect how you feel. For instance, if you are recovering from an injury and are in a lot of pain, you may feel frustrated that you are not healing quickly enough or experience anxiety about getting back to work. 

And the cycle continues.

However, this mind-body connection can be a positive influence on your health too. Maintaining a positive attitude and outlook on life can help your body heal and ward off illness more than someone who is less optimistic.

Why a Holistic Approach is Important

The holistic approach to care is about caring for the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. It is about improving overall health and wellness, making it the ideal approach for enhancing the mind-body connection.Vivage Holistic Care eBook

A holistic approach to care goes beyond treating symptoms. It finds the root cause of a condition and works to heal it, preventing additional side effects and the development of other ailments. Additionally, a holistic approach is more personalized. Instead of getting the same treatment as someone else with a similar issue, your plan is unique to you. This approach encourages you to listen to your mind and body and do what is right for your specific needs.

Throughout our communities, Vivage implements a holistic approach into the care that we provide. Some of these integrative programs include:

  • Animal and pet interactions
  • Aromatherapy
  • Art classes
  • Guided meditation
  • Horticulture and gardening
  • Massage
  • Mindful movement programs 
  • Music and vibration therapy

By treating the root cause of a condition, it is far less likely that additional ailments, mental or physical, will develop from the original issue. Practicing mindfulness and taking care of your mental health can go a long way in improving your physical health as well.

When we realize that every aspect of our health, mind and body, is connected, it becomes easier to enhance our overall wellness. We learn to take cues from our bodies and take back control over our thoughts and feelings. 

If you would like to learn more about how we integrate a more holistic approach into the care we provide throughout our communities, visit our website or contact a member of the Vivage team.

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