Our mental, emotional, and physical well-being are all connected. After all, we have one body, and what happens to one part affects the condition of the whole. By taking care of your mind, you’re helping nurture your heart as well.
Of course, that’s not all there is to it. There are numerous heart diseases out there, and you should treat each one with the proper medical care. These illnesses spring from various causes. They may be present from birth, hereditary, or caused by environmental factors. In addition, you can develop heart disease from practicing unhealthy habits.
You might be thinking, how can mental health therapy even do anything for your heart? Shouldn’t you only rely on medical treatment and nothing more? Well, the answer lies on the first point: your physical and mental health are linked.
How Does Your Mental Health Affect Your Heart?
Your mental health conditions affect your brain the same way outside factors can affect your other internal organs. That means your mind reacts to situations and experiences similar to how your stomach behaves from consuming different types of food. Trauma and shock can cause adverse effects on your mental health, like how cigarettes can impact your lungs.
When you undergo stress, your body is in a state of fight or flight. Experiencing mental health concerns over a long period causes these physiological effects to become more pronounced.
You may have an increased heart rate and blood pressure, along with reduced blood flow to your heart. In addition, your cortisol or stress hormone levels may heighten. Over time, these effects can lead to heart disease. These can also cause other similarly alarming conditions. Some examples are metabolic disease and calcium buildup in your arteries.
What Mental Health Conditions Can Affect The Heart?
Those who experience depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD have higher risks of seeing physical effects. Individuals who have these conditions short-term may not feel drastic effects. However, it’s entirely different for those who face these mental health concerns for a long time.
Stress is another leading factor that can negatively affect your heart. Short-lived stress is not harmful; it becomes fatal when continuously experienced. It affects your body the same way serious mental health concerns do. Stress can also lead to heart disease.
It’s also important to note that these mental health conditions can cause heart complications indirectly. For example, someone with depression may find it hard to get up and work out. This lack of motivation prevents them from getting the exercise their body needs. While not a direct cause of heart disease, their depression influences them to skip habits that benefit their well-being.
Think of someone with mood disorders as well. They may resort to stress-eating and binging on sweets to attempt to make themselves feel good. They may even skip their meals entirely if they’re not feeling well. These habits may negatively affect your heart’s health, especially if they last over a long period. After all, it needs proper care and maintenance, just like your other internal organs.
These conditions may take a toll not just on your mental health but on your physical and emotional well-being too. If left untended, they may negatively affect your heart and even cause heart disease.
What Can Therapy Do For You?
The goal of therapy, first and foremost, is to make you feel better, especially mentally and emotionally. Your therapist may do a combination of things to help you achieve this goal. They may talk you through your experiences, suggest lifestyle changes, or advise you to attend support group sessions. They’ll assess your condition to help you take steps forward.
You can rest assured that your therapist has your best interests at heart. You may talk to them about your life, experiences, and emotions. They’ll be beside you to process all of those to help you understand your situation. If you’ve been through some traumatic events, you may tell them about it. It may feel overwhelming to be vulnerable with another person, but there’s nothing wrong with feeling that way.
Remember that your therapist is there to help you feel better. Their sole purpose is not to treat your mental health condition. Beyond that, they aim to help you work toward a healthy mind. That involves facing your trauma, understanding your situation, knowing about your options, and healthily moving forward.
Together with addressing your mental well-being, your therapist will also suggest lifestyle changes to improve the quality of your life. They will nudge you towards exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, and developing healthy sleeping habits. All of these behavioral shifts will help you take care of both your heart and mind. By following these recommendations and removing stress factors from your life, you can begin your journey to a healthier you.
To Wrap Up
Taking care of your mind isn’t and shouldn’t be separate from nurturing your heart. After all, your entire well-being is interconnected. Whatever happens to one part of you always affects your entirety.
Several mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD can cause physiological effects. These have the potential to contribute to heart complications, especially if left unchecked for a long time. The correlation is not just one way, too. Having heart conditions can also cause you to develop mental health conditions.
Fortunately, therapy can help you address these concerns. Your therapist can help you take care of your mental and emotional health. They’ll treat your condition by talking to you about your experiences and feelings and getting to the root of your concerns. They’ll also recommend habits that promote healthy outcomes. You’ll eliminate the risk of developing heart complications because of mental health concerns by sticking to those.
You won’t be alone in this journey because your therapist will be with you the entire way. Always keep in mind that you’re doing all this for your well-being. Also, remember that your body is composed of multiple systems. Take care of each part to take care of the whole.