Mental Health IS Physical Health: The Mind-Body Connection

You hear about physical health constantly. There’s always a new diet, new exercise fad, new brand of athleisure, or new health and wellness trend to check out.  In fact, the physical health industry, specifically the gym industry, made $96.7 billion in 2020 alone.  It’s no secret that physical health is an area people know is important to work on! What about the mental health industry? While the US mental health industry brought in about $90 billion in 2020, this number includes all the mandated and federally-funded programs as well.  The difference between a gym and mandated counseling is that people choose to go to a gym, and people are required to go to counseling.  With that in mind, the voluntary mental health field isn’t quite as popular as the always-voluntary physical health field.  However, our mind and our body may be more connected than you think! If you aren’t aware of the mind-body connection, check out these three ways mental health impacts physical health in a big way. Mental Health Disorders are Associated with Chronic Health Concerns Many times, chronic illness and mental health disorders go hand-in-hand.  This appears to be a “chicken or the egg” scenario - sometimes the chronic illness comes first, and sometimes the mental health condition comes first.  Either way, multiple mental health disorders are associated with chronic illnesses like asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.  Just some of these are depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Physical Symptoms are a Common Side Effect of Anxiety Anxiety causes a slew of physical side effects nobody wants to deal with.  Just some of the issues associated with anxiety are sleep disorders, gastrointestinal issues, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), weakened immune system, cardiovascular complications, and chronic pain.   We cover some of these symptoms more in depth in our blog post, Signs Of Anxiety You May Not Expect. Positive Mental Health Impacts Positive Physical Health On the flip side of the coin, having positive mental health, or mental wellness, is associated with physical wellness.  Mental wellness reduces our chance of having a heart attack or a stroke.  Those with positive mental health are less likely to smoke or abuse alcohol or other drugs, which have negative impacts on our physical health over time.  Since up to 90% of all doctor’s visits are due to stress, keeping our mental health intact could lead to less time in the doctor’s office and less physical symptoms overall. Hopefully this blog post illustrates the deep connection between mental and physical health! Since May is Mental Health Awareness month, check in on your mind - how are you doing? If you’d like a professional opinion, we’d love to help. Reach out to us today at to request a session. We look forward to hearing from you!