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Healthy living: Good physical health, better mental health

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Did you know that taking care of your physical body is directly related to how well you fare mentally and emotionally? The mind and the body are inextricably connected. So when you work to improve your physical state of being, you will automatically be positively impacting your mental state, as well. An example of this synergistic relationship can be seen in exercise. Not only does exercise improve the health of your muscles, heart, and lungs, but it also releases endorphins – the "feel-good" hormones that contribute to happiness and reduce stress.

Here are a few things you can do to stay physically healthy and improve your mental health, as well:

Get some sun

Get sunlight every day. Your body needs a certain amount of vitamin D and the best way to get it is to expose your skin to sunlight on a daily basis.

Did you know that every tissue in the body has vitamin D receptors? And that includes your brain. In fact, in the human brain vitamin D activates neurotransmitter regulators. What this means is that if you are not getting enough vitamin D, you probably aren't releasing enough serotonin and dopamine. And if these important neurotransmitters are not adequately circulating, it can lead to anxiety and depression.

Practice eating right

Easier said than done, right? Although modern society has tried to make it difficult, eating right is very simple. Stick to consuming organically grown fruits, vegetables, fish, eggs, and meat and stay away from processed junk. Here’s a good rule of thumb that will make eating healthy a little easier: If it wasn’t available 100 years ago, you probably shouldn’t be eating it now either. Yes, eating this way will eliminate Twinkies, cola, and other processed nightmares, but you will see a difference in the way you think, act, and feel in a very short period of time.

Get adequate amounts of sleep

This may seem like an impossibility in the hustle and bustle world that we live in, but you cannot afford to ignore this one. And there truly is no other activity that will deliver such powerful benefits from so little effort.

Inadequate amounts of sleep will cause your physical body to be fatigued and your immune system to be deficient. But your brain function and mental health really suffer from lack of sleep. When a person hasn’t had enough sleep, they have problems concentrating, focusing, and making decisions. They also become moody, irritable, and do not cope well with everyday stressors.

Mental health and physical health are fundamentally linked together. Understanding this link is crucial to improving health and well-being. Doing what you can to improve your physical health is the first step towards improving your mental and emotional states, as well.

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