In past centuries, mental and physical health problems were typically treated as separate issues. However, that’s not the case anymore. In fact, there’s a mountain of evidence suggesting that the two are actually inseparable. Furthermore, the health of one can have a direct impact on the health of the other. Today, we have a wide range of tools and options for attaining or maintaining optimal physical and mental health. One of the most prevalent tools for accomplishing this desired optimality is – app!

What is Mental Health?

According to MentalHealth.gov, mental health includes our psychological, emotional and social well-being. It’s what affects our feelings, actions and thoughts. It can also affect our decision making, stress management and how we relate to others.

What is Physical Health?

Physical health encompasses a wide range of components. Its definition has evolved as modern medicine, technology and science has evolved. Today, physical health can be defined as, but not limited to, the following components:

Physical health encompasses a wide range of components. Its definition has evolved as modern medicine, technology and science has evolved. Today, physical health can be defined as, but not limited to, the following components:

  • Injuries, ailments, diseases and other medical conditions
  • Nutrients and fluid intake, healthy diet, healthy digestion
  • Level of physical activity, muscular strength, endurance and flexibility
  • The amount and quality of sleep and rest
  • Reduced consumption or absence of drugs and alcohol

How are they related?

As humans, physical and mental health are the two most significant aspects of our overall well-being. They are fundamentally linked with many reciprocal associations. The World Health Organization states that “there is no health without mental health.” They go on to further define health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.”

When we lack in mental health, there’s a direct deficiency in physical health. For example, people with depression tend to have worse physical health than those who are not depressed. Research has shown that depression increases the risk of death from heart disease by 67% and death from cancer by 50%.

This can also be seen in other serious mental health conditions like schizophrenia. Those who suffer from this mental illness double their risk of death from heart disease and triple their risk of death from respiratory disease.

Conversely, chronic physical conditions and a poor overall physical health has been linked to the increased development of poor mental health. Those with sleep deprivation tend to suffer from various mental health issues like anxiety, depression and mood swings. Those who are unable to participate in regular bouts of physical activity may suffer from increased stress and depression. Additionally, many people suffer from self-esteem issues over their physique and conditioning.

It’s clear, physical and mental health don’t just coexist together, they directly impact each other’s level of health.

How can apps help to maintain optimal health?

Apps are not meant to be a substitute for medical diagnosis, advice or proper treatment. If you feel that you may be suffering from a physical or mental health problem, it’s imperative that you seek a consultation with your health care provider. With that being said, apps do have many benefits for your physical and mental health. The following is a list of some of these benefits:

Sleep – for those that struggle with sleep, there are apps that can track your sleep patterns, sleep cycles, and duration of sleep. Additionally, there are timers for mid-day naps and apps that play white noise or nature’s finest sounds like the ocean to improve sleep quality.

Fitness Tracker – this type of app can help you to track your workouts, fitness levels, and body composition. View the progress you have made over time and stay motivated to reach your goals of optimal health.

Fitness Guides – for those that don’t know how to properly exercise, there are apps that can teach you how to lift weights, stretch, and many other fitness activities. Now, there’s no more excuse for saying you don’t know what to do or how to do it.

Journaling – journal apps are a great way to write down all of your thoughts and feelings. They are positive outlets that can help you to manage stress, depression or anxiety. However if you’re mental health is severe, it’s important to seek professional help from a psychologist or health care professional for additional support.

Meditation – if you don’t know how to meditate properly or need meditation tools like timers or music, there are some amazing apps that can really help you with this. Taking it one step further, there are also apps that can teach you proper breathing techniques to help meditate and relieve stress or anxiety.

Stress Management – plenty of apps on the market are designed to help users manage stress on a daily basis. These apps can include journals, self-help guides, meditation and breathing techniques, how to think positively and more.

Conclusion

This advancement in technology has made it possible for people to improve and monitor their overall physical and mental health in order to live healthier lifestyles. Just remember, apps are not a substitute for proper medical diagnosis and treatment. While they may help from time to time, you should seek professional help from a health care provider in order to help improve your mental and physical health.

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Joel Curtis is a registered Psychologists with Endeavour Wellness and has over 17 years of experience. Joel holds a Masters’ Degree in Psychology from Western Sydney University. Joel owns a number of private practices in Sydney and provides expert content for several national TV and Radio programmes.

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