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  • Writer's pictureDylan

Improving Your Physical, Mental, and Emotional Health - World Health Day 2023

World Health Day is a global campaign observed every year on April 7th to raise awareness about health issues and promote healthy living. The day serves as a reminder to individuals and governments alike about the importance of investing in healthcare, taking steps towards achieving universal health coverage for all, and encouraging healthy habits.

World Health Day is also a spectacular opportunity to promote health and wellness in your local community. Let's explore what factors can affect your overall health and how you can improve it!


WHAT AFFECTS YOUR OVERALL HEALTH?

Physical, mental, and emotional health are all important components of overall well-being.


PHYSICAL HEALTH

Physical health refers to the state of one's body and encompasses aspects such as fitness, nutrition, and rest. A healthy body is essential for optimal functioning and can significantly impact one's mental and emotional health.


MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health involves the state of one's mind and includes aspects such as cognitive processes, emotions, and behaviors. Good mental health is essential for effective functioning, healthy relationships, and a sense of purpose.


EMOTIONAL HEALTH

Finally, emotional health refers to the ability to regulate and express emotions in a healthy and constructive manner. It affects how one perceives and interacts with the world around them.


The interplay between physical, mental, and emotional health is essential for overall well-being, and neglecting any one of these aspects can have significant consequences.


When physical health is compromised, it can lead to mental and emotional health problems such as anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. When mental health is poor, it can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and insomnia. When emotional health is compromised, it can lead to negative physical and mental health outcomes such as chronic stress, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. Conversely, when all three aspects of health are well taken care of, it can lead to improved overall well-being, including better cognitive function, more positive emotions, and a stronger immune system. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize physical, mental, and emotional health to achieve optimal overall well-being.


Taking care of ourselves in all these areas can lead to a healthier and happier life with a greater sense of fulfillment. Let's dive into how you can improve in each!


IMPROVING PHYSICAL HEALTH

Improving physical health is a journey, not a destination. It requires commitment, discipline, and a willingness to make changes to your lifestyle. Fortunately, there are many methods and practices that can help you achieve your goals including exercise, nutrition, stress management, and sleep hygiene.


AEROBIC ACTIVITIES

Aerobic activities are exercises that increase your heart rate and breathing, such as running, cycling, swimming, or dancing. Aerobics can help improve physical health by strengthening your heart and lungs, increasing endurance, burning calories, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.


Aerobic activities include (but are not limited to):

  • Running or jogging

  • Cycling

  • Rowing

  • Jumping jacks

  • Swimming

  • Dancing

  • Hiking

  • Jumping rope

  • Stair climbing

  • Group Fitness or Aerobics-based classes (check out our full list of classes here)


MUSCLE- AND BONE-STRENGTHENING ACTIVITIES

Muscle-strengthening activities are exercises that work to increase the strength and endurance of the muscles, while bone-strengthening activities are exercises that help to increase bone density and strength. Regular participation in these activities can help to improve physical health by reducing the risk of chronic diseases, increasing bone density, and improving overall strength and mobility.


Muscle-strengthening activities can include:

  • Weightlifting

  • Resistance training

  • Rock climbing

  • Kettlebell exercises

  • Yoga & Barre classes (visit our classes page to see our full list of Yoga & Barre)

  • Swimming

  • Calisthenics

  • Pilates

  • Kettlebell or bodyweight exercises

Bone-strengthening activities can include:

  • Weight-bearing activities (i.e. running, jumping, or dancing)

  • Resistance training with weights or resistance bands

  • Yoga or Pilates, which can help improve balance and flexibility

  • Walking or hiking

  • High-impact sports like basketball or soccer

As you can see, many of the previously listed aerobic or muscle-strengthening activities will also help increase the strength of your bones.


PROPER NUTRITION

Proper nutrition can help improve physical health by providing the body with the necessary nutrients to function properly, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It also helps boost the immune system, improve energy levels, and promote overall well-being.


SLEEP HYGIENE

Sleep affects your body in many ways, including improving memory and learning, reducing inflammation, boosting mood, enhancing immune function, and increasing physical performance. It also helps regulate hormones involved in hunger and appetite and supports healthy brain function.


If you're having sleep trouble, here are a few ideas to help (Emotional Wellness Toolkit, 2022, August 8):

  • Have a sleep routine - go to bed and wake up around the same time each day.

  • Daily exercise - Exercising on a daily (or regular) basis can help tire your body and help you feel more tired come bedtime.

  • Turn off the screens - limit your screen time (TV, cell phone, tablets) before bed. Many experts recommend turning out all screens 30-60 minutes before lights out.

  • Avoid eating larger meals before bed

When we hear or think about overall health, the first thing that comes to mind is usually physical health. Physical health is often the most easily identifiable area we may lack in or need improvement and therefore can seem one of the easiest to also take steps to better yourself with.


IMPROVING MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health is an integral part of our overall well-being, yet it is often overlooked or dismissed. With the ongoing global pandemic and its impact on our daily lives, it has become more important than ever to prioritize our mental health. Whether you are struggling with anxiety or depression, or simply looking to maintain good mental health, here are a few tips to help you on your journey toward a happier and healthier life.


STAYING POSITIVE

When things are tough, or there's so much bad in the world being portrayed, staying positive can be challenging.

  • Focus on the good things in your life and practice gratitude for them (see below for tips).

  • Surround yourself with positive people

  • Engage in activities that make you happy, whether that's video games, cooking, golf, or spending time with your children.

  • Take care of your physical health by eating well and exercising regularly.

  • Lastly, remember that setbacks are a normal part of life, but you can choose to view them as opportunities for growth and learning.

PRACTICING GRATITUDE

To practice gratitude, start by taking a few moments each day to reflect on the things in your life that you are thankful for. You can write them down in a journal, say them out loud, or simply think about them in your mind. It's also helpful to express your gratitude to others by thanking them for their kindness or support. Finally, try to focus on the positive aspects of situations, even when things are difficult. By cultivating a mindset of gratitude, you can increase your overall well-being and happiness.


TAKE CARE OF YOUR PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH

As mentioned earlier, all three of these aspects of our health are intertwined and can help each of them function properly. With better physical and emotional health, your brain functions better and you're able to stay more in the present moment, therefore improving your mental health.


IMPROVING EMOTIONAL HEALTH

Emotional health refers to your ability to understand and manage your emotions in a positive way, as well as your overall sense of well-being. By prioritizing your emotional health, you can improve your relationships, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost your overall happiness and satisfaction with life.


BUILD RESILIENCE

Building resilience involves developing the ability to adapt and bounce back from adversity or challenges. Some ways to build resilience include practicing self-care, such as getting enough sleep and exercise, maintaining positive relationships, seeking support from others, setting realistic goals, and learning to accept change as a natural part of life.


Additionally, developing a growth mindset can help you view challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. Building resilience is a process that takes time and effort, so take time to foster it rather than a sporadic effort to build it.


REDUCE AND MANAGE STRESS

We are all bound to face stress from work, family life, finances, and even the external world around us. While there is no shortage of stress in the world, there are is also an abundance of ways we can handle it.

  • Engage in regular physical exercise, as it can help to lower stress hormones and promote relaxation.

  • Practicing mindfulness, such as meditation or yoga

  • Making time for hobbies

  • Socializing with loved ones

  • Getting enough sleep

It is also important to learn to recognize and manage any negative or anxious thoughts that may be contributing to stress.


LIVE IN TODAY

Practicing mindfulness involves being fully present and aware of your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings in the present moment. While thinking about the past or the future are things we all do, we must spend more time living in the present moment. Let's look at a few easy ways to practice mindfulness.

  • Take deep breathes - focusing on your breathing pattern can help slow your mind and refocus

  • Take a walk - Take in the sites, sounds, and feelings of the world around you.

  • Mindful eating - focus on the taste, texture, and flavor of your food, rather than just eating it as fast as possible. This is an incredibly easy exercise (and something each of us does daily)

The key is to stay focused on the present moment and avoid getting lost in distractions or worries about the future or past.


BUILD SOCIAL CONNECTIONS

Building stronger social connections involves regular communication and interaction with others. This can be achieved through attending social events, joining clubs or groups that align with your interests, and volunteering in your community. It's also important to be a good listener, show empathy, and be open to new experiences and perspectives. Building trust and shared experiences can help deepen relationships and create a stronger sense of community.


In conclusion, World Health Day serves as a reminder of the importance of taking care of our overall health. By prioritizing our physical, mental, and emotional well-being, we can lead happier and more fulfilling lives. Improving our health is a lifelong journey that requires consistent effort and dedication, but the rewards are immeasurable. Let us all commit to making positive changes in our lives today and every day to ensure a healthier future for ourselves and those around us.


Happy World Health Day!






RESOURCES

National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). How to Improve Mental Health. https://medlineplus.gov/howtoimprovementalhealth.html


31 Tips to Boost Your Mental Health. (n.d.). Mental Health America. https://www.mhanational.org/31-tips-boost-your-mental-health


Emotional Wellness Toolkit. (2022, August 8). National Institutes of Health (NIH). https://www.nih.gov/health-information/emotional-wellness-toolkit



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