How Does Declining Mental Health Affect Our Physical Well-being?

We generally consider body and mind as two independent entities. So, when it comes to staying healthy, we think hitting the gym is all we need to keep ourselves vigorous.

However, the fact is, the link between our mental and physical health is a lot stronger than we think. The implications of our mental health have a direct influence on physical well-being and vice versa.

Unfortunately, people misunderstand mental health and hold negative perceptions about it. However, it’s about time we stop stigmatizing mental health and accept that ignoring mental health needs can cause knock-on effects on physical health.

You might have been experiencing mental health issues for quite a long time. Perhaps you have been suffering since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Whatever the case, it sometimes gets too overwhelming to deal with everyday tasks. And you may feel numb and wish to close off the world around you.

Therefore, it’s imperative to pay the same attention to mental health as you give to physical and never downplay any mental health symptoms.

How Does Declining Mental Health Affect Our Physical Well-being?

Role of Healthcare Professionals

Understanding the association of mental health with physical can smooth the path for a positive change. Today, healthcare professionals work tirelessly to shatter all the stereotypes and myths attached to mental health disorders.

Nurses are also at the forefront in curbing the mental health issues of patients to achieve overall well-being. However, as times change, the mental health issues facing people also become more challenging to overcome.

New era advancements bring along new sources of plaguing society with depression and other mental health problems. For instance, excessive social media usage causes various psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, memory loss, inferiority complex, etc.

Given the new sources of mental health issues, healthcare workers are advancing their knowledge to learn new techniques and methods to battle these issues.

Most of them combine online education with practical work to test their theories and strategies in real-life scenarios.

For instance, nurses are now pursuing online masters nursing to determine the underlying issues harming people’s mental health and devise strategies to eliminate them.

Pursuing further education allows healthcare workers to remain abreast of emerging mental health issues and establish strategies and techniques to tackle them.

Now, let’s look at the list of physical health problems that may arise if you overlook your declining mental health:

Respiratory Issues

Whenever you feel uneasy or agitated, your breathing patterns are likely to get disturbed. That’s because the amount of carbon dioxide you exhale is less than the amount of oxygen inhaled.

And thus, this leads to short, rapid, and shallow breathing problems.

Mental health issues such as anxiety can also lead to panic attacks and hyperventilation.

And suppose you are already suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In that case, your symptoms may get worse, and you may need to get hospitalized for urgent treatment.

Gastrointestinal Issues

The butterflies you feel in your stomach whenever an exciting thing happens are because of the presence of millions of neurons in your gut. These neurons are always in direct communication with the brain.

However, too much stress can hamper this gut-brain connection. Constant fear and anxiety can cause excretory disorders such as abdominal cramps, irritable vomit syndrome, and stomach ache.

Besides, thousands of bacteria are also inhabitants of your gut. Therefore, stressful events can cause these organisms to influence the brain’s health.

Digestive and Immune System Problems

People deal with depression in different ways. For example, some may lose appetite while others binge eat. The sudden loss of appetite and the lack of proper food intake can result in a condition known as geriatric anorexia. In contrast, people may get subjected to obesity-related diseases in the latter case.

Additionally, chronic depression can adversely affect the immune system. It can deplete the human body of infection-fighting T-cells, making you more susceptible to diseases. While this is an essential piece of information for everyone, it’s more critical for older people as a weak immune system can intensify aging.

Heart Problems

Outbursts and acute emotions are harmful to your physical health. When you are in such a state, your body releases a hormone called cortisol that can cause high blood pressure and an erratic rhythm of heartbeats. And this increases the chances of heart attacks.

People battling mental health conditions such as bipolar depression and schizophrenia are at an increased risk of heart problems. Also, high levels of anxiety can cause heart palpitations and chest pain.

Although adults are generally far from concerned about heart issues, intense anger can affect the heart.


People struggling with mental health issues often resort to smoking to calm their minds and relieve stress. While smoking may provide short-term relaxation, it can spell severe long-term effects on physical health.

The nicotine in cigarettes raises the levels of a neurotransmitter known as dopamine. High levels of dopamine provide temporary feelings of bliss and euphoria. But over time, tobacco smoke causes inflammation of the intestines and painful ulcers in the digestive tract.

Excessive smoking also causes the constriction of blood vessels and damage to the arteries. Thus, reducing the flow of blood in the circulatory system.

Helpful Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Mind and Body

  • One crucial variable that positively contributes to mental health but often remains neglected is physical fitness exercises. Engage in long walks, or try cardio exercises to ease your stress and anxiety problems as these activities release serotonin and endorphins.
  • Make a healthy and nutritional diet a part of your routine to improve the functionality of your brain. Your diet should include fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and grains.
  • Try to practice intention-driven yoga or ultra-calming techniques. Indulge in deep breathing exercise or any other activity that takes your mind off things and relaxes your mind, even if it’s just for a brief moment.
  • Your social circle can also help you overcome mental health issues. However, if you are afraid to discuss the problems with your peers, then seek professional help for encouragement.

Final Words

Considering mental health issues as a stigma instead of genuine illness and detaching it from physical health has become a significant problem. Mental illness can give birth to physical repercussions, and this, in turn, can affect your overall well-being.

Therefore, instead of only focusing on your body to enhance overall health, it’s time to knuckle down to other healthy physical and mental health practices.

These may include workouts, healthy diets, proper sleeping routines, and peer support. However, it is relevant to note that there isn’t any cure-all solution to mental health illnesses or a silver bullet to deal with psychosomatic pain.

What may work for you might not yield the same results for other people. Nonetheless, as long as you understand the connection between your physical and mental health, you can prepare a long-term plan to alleviate your symptoms.

Julie Higgins
Julie is a Staff Writer at She has been working in publishing houses before joining the editorial team at momooze. Julie's love and passion are topics around beauty, lifestyle, hair and nails.