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What is the difference between mental and physical health?


There is a lot of confusion about the difference between mental and physical health. Some people believe that mental health is just an extension of physical health. But, in reality, they are two different things that are closely related to each other.

Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual experiences little to no symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Physical health is the body's condition, especially concerning disease or injury. It can also refer to general wellness, fitness levels, and overall living conditions.


WHO definition of mental health


The World Health Organisation's mental health definition states, "Mental health is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realise their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community."

According to WHO, mental health is "more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities." It clarifies that peak mental health is not only about managing active conditions but is also concerned with looking after ongoing wellness and happiness. 


What is mental health?


Mental health means overall cognitive, behavioural, and emotional well-being. It is about complete wellness of how people think, feel and behave. 

People often cite the concept of "mental health" to indicate the absence of a mental disorder. People often experience significant troubles with their cognitive functioning, which might lead to mental disorders. Such conditions are caused due to present patterns or changes in thinking, feeling or behaving that cause distress or disrupt a person's ability to function. 

A mental health disorder affects or hinders a person in –

1. Maintaining interpersonal relationship or family relationships

2. Functioning in social settings

3. Performing at home or in workspaces

4. Learning at a level expected at a certain age and intelligence

5. Participating in other important activities


Mental health affects one's daily living, relationships, and overall physical health. Doing so involves balancing life activities, responsibilities, and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.

Conditions like stress, depression, and anxiety affect mental health and disrupt a person's routine. However, health professionals and doctors often recognize that many psychological disorders have physical and social roots.

Mental health is essential at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through to adulthood. Even though the terms are often interchangeable, poor mental health doesn't indicate mental illness. For instance, a person with poor mental health may not be diagnosed with mental illness. 


What is physical health?


Physical health is the state of being healthy and free from disease. It is a subjective concept and can be difficult to define.

Physical health comes in many forms, including mental, spiritual, emotional, social, and financial. It also includes physical appearance, which can be affected by many factors such as stress, diet, or genetics. When described traditionally, physical health definition translates to the state of being free from any disease or illness.

The importance of physical health has been shown in studies showing that people who are more physically healthy are more likely to live longer than those who aren't as physically healthy.


Importance of physical health -


Physical health is an important aspect of life. It is necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle and be able to take care of yourself. Many people suffer from physical disorders, which can significantly affect the quality of their lives. 

Examples of physical disorders include nutritional and metabolic diseases, cardiovascular diseases, viral diseases, respiratory tract diseases, musculoskeletal diseases, etc. 

These disorders can lead to anxiety, depression, or even death. The need for physical health awareness is constantly increasing due to the number of people suffering from these disorders and diseases.


What is the difference between mental and physical health?


Mental health is a state of mind, while physical health is a state of being. It is important to understand that mental and physical health are different.

Various factors, including genetics, trauma, or stress, can cause mental illness. Physical disorders can also cause mental illness, such as depression and anxiety.

Mental illnesses have increased in prevalence over the past few decades, with rates ranging from 10% to 30%. The most common mental illnesses are depression (affecting 6-7% of people at some point in their life), bipolar disorder (2-3%), schizophrenia (1%), anxiety disorders (1%), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (0.5%).

On the other hand, many of these mental health disorders result from physical health. Some of the most common anxiety symptoms include palpitations, rapid breathing, fatigue, trouble concentrating, sleep problems, and gastrointestinal symptoms like stomach pain and diarrhea. 


Suppose you're experiencing symptoms affecting your quality of life, whether mental or physical. In that case, you owe it to yourself to get tested by a qualified medical professional and learn about your treatment options.

A little change in your current lifestyle can help you improve mental and physical health and protect your body and mind.

Focus on a proper exercise routine, including a balanced and healthy diet, getting adequate sleep, staying hydrated, not consuming junk and oily foods, cutting your alcohol consumption, and quitting cigarettes. 

There's a lot to consider when thinking about your mental and physical health. It's also important to understand that although there is a difference between mental and physical health, they aren't completely separate. They interact, and often mental health conditions manifest themselves with physical symptoms. 

If you're experiencing pain, discomfort, or any symptoms affecting your daily life or activities, it's always best to get yourself examined by a professional. They can either suggest medications or help you make a new lifestyle routine to ensure you don't need any treatment. 


Are mental and physical health connected?


Mental and physical health are closely connected to each other. As the mental and physical health relationship is quite close, it gives rise to other health factors.

Poor mental health puts a person at a greater risk of chronic physical conditions. Chronic physical conditions are also linked to an increased risk of poor mental health. This interconnection contradicts the difference between physical and mental health. Physical health is linked to all of the other dimensions of health. If a person's physical health declines, this often leads to a decline in other areas. For example, if a person is battling a serious illness, say cancer, it can lead to his overall decline in social well-being. The person may avoid others because of contagiousness or simply because of a decreased desire to be around others. This, in turn, can lead to sadness, or push him into depression, a decline in mental and emotional health.

Physical health can influence mental health, both positively and negatively. The effects can be instantly seen in everyday experiences, work or school environments, relationships, and your community. 


Conclusion –


Although there is a clear difference between mental and physical health, balancing both is equally necessary to live a healthy life. It takes work and effort on your part. It is good to have some coping strategies and a support system. One way to find balance is to create a supportive community where you can freely indulge and remain physically and mentally active. Another way is through recreational activities such as gardening and cooking, which can help you focus on something other than your health condition, such as learning new skills or providing for others. The third way is through coping mechanisms, such as meditation and exercise. And these small changes will, in the long run, bring tremendous changes.