Ever wondered why everything hurts? Maybe you wake up with a sore back, the thought of your day gives you stomach cramps, and then your sprain your ankle out of nowhere? Well sometimes it’s not out of nowhere, and most times it has to do with stress…. Yes stresssssss.
“I see a lot of people every day for a whole variety, everything from common colds to very serious illnesses, and I’ve found that there’s just a very large underestimation of how much your mental health affects your physical health.” said Dr. Daniel Pio, a primary care provider in Los Angeles.
Dr. Pio went on to explain that many times any problems within the cardiovascular, pulmonary, or gastrointestinal systems have direct relation to a mental health problem.
He recommends keeping on top of three different areas in life to manage your mental and physical health, whether it be stemming from your work or personal life.
1. Get Active!
It may seem like a no brainer, but breaking a sweat through some cardio workout is a overly neglected outlet for anxiety and stress. Under extreme stress and pressure it can be typical to want to tune out by flopping on the couch and binge-watching television, and while rest is amazing for the body, too much of it only makes the problem worse. The body needs to release the anxiety and stress that it’s housing through physical activity.
The American Heart Association recommends these standards for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system.
- at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise five days a week, or
- at least 25 minutes of high intensity aerobic exercise three days a week; and
- an additional moderate to high intensity muscle strengthening activity at least two days a week.
2. Lean on Your Social Circle
“It’s interesting that in a place as large as Los Angeles with such a huge population, people can still feel so isolated and lonely, and feel like that there’s no one there for them” said Dr. Pio.
For those who are categorized “workaholics” it’s easy to be surrounded by people regularly, but still feel completely alone. Building healthy relationships with others is about quality over quantity. You’ll need the quality relationships through the tough times.
Even in moments of high stress, it can be typical and tempting to retreat into a shell, though those times are when we need our social circle the most.
“I think you need those people from everything to act as your buddy, to share life with, to being that person to bounce off major life decisions, to having those people in your life who even when you mess up always have your back and are there for you.” said Dr. Pio
3. Check In to Your Spiritual Side
For many, having some kind of faith provides an optimistic outlook even when it might seem as though there’s nothing to be optimistic about. The lens you see the world through has direct relation to the amount of stress and anxiety you take in. If you lose your faith, or optimism in your ability to come out strong of whatever storm you’re going through, your spirit becomes weakened, and you lose the energy to take on the tasks of life.
“It’s not necessarily the religion itself perhaps, but it’s that aspect of coming together in a community and fulfillment that many people experience through prayer or meditation or a relationship with a higher power” said Dr. Pio.
Pio explains that it comes down to spreading your eggs across these physical, emotional and spiritual baskets.
“Coming back to paying into each aspect of your life that makes you a whole person can kind of keep you feeling like a whole person and avoid some of those feelings of stress and sickness and illness” he said.