The Summit Counseling Center
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Caring for the Whole Person: Mind, Body and Emotions

shutterstock_214784950Humans are multi-faceted creatures. With our minds, we make rational decisions, solve problems and form ideas. With our emotions, we feel our way through life. And our bodies are the vehicle we use to express our thoughts and emotions. When one of these systems gets off balance, the others don’t quite work as well either. If our body is ill or unhealthy, it affects both our mental state and our emotions. And when we are struggling with depression, we feel the effects in our body. We must care for every facet of our beings in order to be at our best.

We have a tendency to think that as long as we are at a healthy weight, our physical health is taken care of. While a healthy weight does prevent numerous health problems, there are many other things that insure good health. Adequate aerobic exercise is important in keeping your heart healthy. Weight training strengthens muscles and prevents osteoporosis. Exercise is also beneficial to your mental health by reducing stress. What we put into our bodies is key as well. Fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats are the healthiest food options and a multivitamin will help cover any nutritional needs you may miss. Eating high quality foods will give your body the fuel to run optimally.

Rest is also important to your health. Lack of sleep increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes as well as putting you at a higher risk of accidents. Not enough sleep also affects our mental health. Our attention, concentration and memory will all suffer when we don’t get enough rest. Our brain has to have down time to process and store our memories.

Doing things we enjoy is good for our mental health as well. Playing piano, solving crossword puzzles or gardening all stimulate areas in our brains that may not get used as much in our day to day activities. This keeps our minds sharp as we age and also manages our stress levels.

A lot of our pastimes are enjoyed along with other people. Staying connected to those we love is very important to both our mental and emotional health. When we feel loved and included we can function more efficiently. We experience less stress and perceive our lives as more pleasant. Our loved ones offer us different points of view on our lives and help us make better decisions.

Emotional health is closely tied to both our mental and physical health and are cared for in much the same ways. If we are experiencing problems mentally, our emotions will follow suit. The same with our physical health.

Part of caring for our whole person is seeking appropriate medical care when we need it. If we are experiencing troubling physical symptoms, we go to the doctor. However, if we are experiencing mental or emotional problems, we are much more likely to try to muddle through on our own. We should care for our mind and our emotions as we would our bodies. Just as we wouldn’t wait for appendicitis to go away, we shouldn’t wait for our mental problems to go away on their own either. If we are struggling with addictions, depression or other issues, we should seek professional care to insure a wholly healthy person.

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