Skip to content

Why is mental health as important as physical health?

Health as we understand it is not limited to physical health. The WHO defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Mental health is therefore part of overall health in the same way as physical health. These two facets of health are intimately linked, more than you might think. 

The effects of mental health on physical health

Mental health, like overall health, is not limited to the absence of mental disorders. According to the WHO, mental health is what allows us "to cope with life's sources of stress, to realize our potential, to learn and work well, and to contribute to the life of the community". The social and environmental spheres and the biological conditions of each individual are all factors that modulate mental health. In particular, the quality of life and working conditions (QVCT) have a significant impact on mental well-being. 

If one does not take care of one's mental health, somatic disorders can accompany psychic disorders. For example, we know that depression can weaken the immune system; it is moreover reciprocal. Anger and stress are emotions completely linked to cardiovascular problems, they increase the risk. Stress has an effect on neurons, the endocrine system and the cardiovascular system. In general, mental disorders can in turn trigger somatic disorders such as weight loss or gain, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 

One thinks in particular of the stress induced by the quality of life and working conditions, which can cause serious disorders such as insomnia, burn-out and other psychosocial risks, hypertension, stroke and infarction for diseases cardiovascular, muscle pain or digestive disorders. 
Note that if mental disorders are risk factors for somatic disorders, they are not major in the equation. Other more important factors such as heredity, environment, genetic predispositions, dietary habits among others, come into play. 

The effects of physical health on mental health

As we have started to mention, certain somatic disorders can be accompanied by psychic disorders such as anxiety, depression or addictions. It has been scientifically recognized that certain diseases such as cancer, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases and cardiovascular diseases can cause depression. Moreover, a scientific discovery is part of a new link between inflammation and depression.

In particular, certain chronic diseases that we mentioned above induce inflammation, which in turn disrupts the production of hormones essential to well-being (serotonin in particular). Psychological disorders ensue, ranging from nervous fatigue to anxiety attacks and depression.

Solutions to combine mental health and physical health

Let's feed this virtuous circle of health! Let's combine mental health and physical health to improve our overall well-being. Here are our ideas:

1/ Improve your sleep

Put the odds on your side to find a good sleep: go to bed early enough, stop screens at least 1 hour before bedtime, do not play sports in the 4 hours before bedtime, do not eat too much fat in the evening. We keep in mind that good sleep strengthens our immune system. 


2/ Manage your stress

Easier said than done you'll say, but you have to start somewhere. Choose the option that suits you, there is bound to be one. Yoga, meditation, sophrology (smartphone applications can help you), selected social interactions, sport to evacuate the overflow, sessions with a psychologist... Better managing your stress not only allows you to sleep better, but also to prevent cardiovascular diseases.


3/ Have a balanced diet

Does a healthy mind in a healthy body speak to you? Have you ever felt it? Scientific studies show the positive effect of a healthy and balanced diet on mental health, well-being and quality of life. Just that ! To your fruits and vegetables and be happy!


Discover the benefits of vitamin D for physical health and mental health.

4/ Exercising regularly

There is no escaping it, it is absolutely necessary to move a minimum to be in good health, mental and physical. We are not asking to run a marathon every week and do weight training in the gym at all costs. Just enough to secrete the hormones of happiness… The hormones of what? 

 When we do physical activity, the body secretes hormones that are good for the mind:

  • endorphin, which reduces stress and anxiety. Namely that the body releases it after about 30 minutes of physical activity. Courage !
  • serotonin, which regulates mood.
  • dopamine, which intervenes in the reward circuitry and makes you want to exercise again. 
  • norepinephrine, the survival stress hormone. 

This release of hormones has been scientifically shown to reduce symptoms of depression. 

In addition, physical activity has the power to oxygenate the brain and thus prevents cognitive aging. According to scientific studies, regular physical exercise prevents Alzheimer's disease.