I think we’ve made a huge mistake in separating our mental and physical health, and I’m on a mission to change this outdated way of thinking. Think about it this way: Your physical actions and health affect your mental health, and your mental health affects your physical actions and health. It really is all about striving for complete health.
Instead of continuing to separate the two, let’s throw out both terms and focus on our health—our complete health. This is the health we are seeking, not one or the other, but both.
The relationship is so interconnected that it’s like the age-old question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? In our case, which comes first, our mental or physical health? Neither comes first. They are both important and necessary. You can’t focus on one without inadvertently focusing on the other.
Don’t take it from me. Scientists have proven that we have a “mind-heart-body connection.” Specifically, our mental health can negatively or positively affect the health of our cardiovascular system.
But physical movement, despite having many benefits to our physical health, is not the recipe to success alone. As I shared before, when I was in the thick of the mental struggle, I didn’t want to move—I didn’t feel like moving, but I knew that I should. And so I did, but I also sought out a holistic approach that hit so many different aspects, not just moving.
Everyone goes through challenges. It’s a single unifier that makes us all human, and I know this because so many of you have reached out to me. Based on all of the questions, feedback, and support, I would love to share the help I sought to guide me to a healthier and happier mental space!
There are many different kinds of licensed professionals that can help guide and support your journey toward improved mental health. There are therapists, counselors, clinicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, etc. With so many titles out there, it can be confusing as to which one you should seek!
First and foremost, I am NOT a licensed mental health professional, but this is the path that I took based on the issues I was needing to sort through:
- At first, we sought a Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor to help work on our relationship.
- As I began to work more on myself and my personal issues, I started seeing a licensed professional therapist and then a psychologist (doctor of psychology).
- I also spent some time doing EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy to help process events in my life and help with my anxiety.
- I also spent some time with a spiritual healer.
- And then ultimately I saw a psychiatrist (MD) who could guide me through exploring different pharmaceutical treatments to balance my neurochemistry.
Throughout the process, I started incorporating more and more wellness practices into my life: Breathing, mindfulness, gratitude, service, sunlight exposure, etc. Did I need all of these therapies? I don’t know. But I will say that I approached all of them with an open mind.
What I DO know is that EACH therapy and practice has helped moved me forward in a different way…all of them combining to move me closer to re-discovering myself, my passion for life again, and a better version of ME. So looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing!
I know this isn’t a step-by-step guide to solving all of your problems, and it isn’t meant to be by any means. This is just further proof that it’s not just about what you feed your body or how you move your body, it’s about your mind, too, and there is no one singular path. But once you find it, you’re on your way to complete health.