In this era of technological proliferation a laid-back lifestyle has engulfed much of Australia’s population. With the cases of obesity rising to an astounding figure of 67.4% in Australia as reported by World Health Organization report of 2007, absence of a health-conscious population is a serious issue. Apart from deteriorating physical health, a rise in the cases of mental health problems has also gained momentum. Mental health issues include a wide range of serious illnesses like clinical depression, panic and anxiety. An active lifestyle signified by routine exercise is the key cure for all many prevailing psychological health issues.

Importance of being emotionally healthy

When you are mentally healthy you are able to regulate your emotions and feelings. You are more responsive to the challenges of life and confront hindrances with a positive attitude. A healthy mental state results in high levels of productivity at the workplace. Your emotional stability makes you strong and more open to form new relationships. The control of emotions also helps you in building long-lasting relationships and you seem to have less family problems. You will also have a positive outlook towards life and are able to handle trauma with an optimistic approach. What’s more, you’re less likely to fall victims to mental health diseases of depression, tension and anxiety.

Defining mental health

Mental health also known as emotional health reflects the state of your psychological well-being. It includes your perspective about life, success in relationships and how you tackle emotionally vulnerable situations. A misconception exists in our society with regard to the meaning of being emotionally healthy. The absence of any psychological illnesses does not define a state of being emotionally stable. A unique trait that an emotionally stable person possesses is resilience- the ability to stand on your feet after a trauma or stress.

It is the presence of positive characteristics as follows that describes a person who has a good mental health:

  1. Presence of high self-confidence and self-esteem
  2. Being able to form and maintain strong and lasting relationships
  3. Having a sense of purpose in life.
  4. A hunger to learn and try new things everyday
  5. Optimistic approach towards life
  6. Maintaining a state of equilibrium between work, play and family
  7. Being capable of confronting and dealing with challenges

Symptoms of being mentally and emotionally unhealthy

If a psychological illness goes unnoticed or untreated it can have severe and fatal effects on your body. It is advisable by professional consultants to look for the following symptoms to get a head start in diagnosing your mental health problem:

1.     Depression

2.     Anxiety

3.     Hallucinations and delusion

4.     Sleeping disorders

5.     Obsessive thinking

6.     Negative and suicidal thoughts that are out of your control

7.     Having problems concentrating on work and family

Benefits of exercising on mental health

  1. Stress and anxiety reliever

Aerobic exercises releases chemicals like endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, which have been scientifically proven to have stress-reducing impact on human body. It is advisable to devote half an hour daily for physical activity to improve mental fitness.

  1. Enhancing energy levels

Physical activity results in an increased heart rate, which increases the oxygen supply to the body. Daily exercise enhances the oxygen delivery system and results in increased levels of energy.

  1. Sharpening brainpower

The endorphins released in aerobic exercises also enhance your memory retention power. An active lifestyle will result in increased level of concentration. New brain cell production is also enhanced with regular physical activity, which slows down the process of aging.

  1. Developing self-confidence and self esteem

With a regular and strict routine of exercise one eventually develops a sense of self-worthiness. By looking after yourself daily you feel stronger and powerful.

  1. Lightens up your mood

Endorphins also have anti-depressing effect on your mental health and after a heavy work-out you feel energized and happy.

Relationship between physical and emotional health

Looking after your physical health is the cornerstone for maintaining your emotional health. By allowing yourself to exercise daily you are boosting the energy levels of your brain cells. A peaceful and relaxed state of mind is linked to a hearty physical well-being. Your daily activities and lifestyle has a huge impact on the health of your physical and emotional state. The following daily practices will help you in improving your physical health:

  1. Get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily
  2. Eat healthy by increasing the uptake of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet
  3. Limit yourself from indulging in smoking and drinking alcohol
  4. Refrain from drug abuse as it can have damaging effects on human body
  5. Exercise daily for it is a strong antidote for stress, depression and anxiety
  6. Soak in sunlight daily for it lifts up your mood

The next step after taking care of your physical health is to augment your mental well-being. The following activities will make this task easier for you:

  1. Develop self-control: This can help in overcoming harsh situations of life filled with despair, hopelessness and depression
  2. Embrace the beauty of nature and art around you: This helps in the regulation of high blood pressure and relieves stress as activities like visiting an art gallery or walking in the park distracts you from negative thoughts.
  3. Stop worrying: Avoid becoming trapped in negative mental habits like taking stress, getting tensed or bothering your head with negative thoughts of failure. Taking stress only harms your health by draining out all the positive energy.
  4. Implement stress management strategies: Whenever you find yourself in a state of overwhelming stress, try to adopt a stress management technique. Many mediation exercises such as mantra helps you by calming down through the repetition of a positive phrase over and over again along with controlled breathing. Many people avoid stress by planning and organizing their work-load beforehand.
  5. Hunt for new things: By indulging in new discoveries every day you will redefine your goals and aims in life. Having a sense of purpose is mandatory for any human being to have a stable mental health. Learn a new language or travel to a new location for such activities help to distract you from the monotonous stressful routine.

Exercises for mental health

Massage therapy

Psychologists and health professionals have stressed the role of massages as an effective therapy to reduce anxiety and depression. The release of neurotransmitters during massage help in reducing depression. You can choose from among 80 types of massage therapies that have differing pressure and movement techniques. Through a trained therapist 5 minutes to 2 hours long stress-relieving massage will leave you feeling relaxed and peaceful.

Other physical activities

The following exercises can also be adapted in your daily routine to enhance a state of physical and emotional well-being:

  • Yoga
  • Aerobic exercises
  • Dancing
  • Gardening
  • House chores like sweeping and vacuuming
  • Golf
  • Walking
  • Playing sports like tennis, football
  • Swimming
  • Jogging
  • Lawn mowing or raking
  • Biking

Australia Counselling is your link to professional counsellors and psychologists throughout Australia. If you’re struggling with your emotional or physical health, you could benefit from talking to a professional counsellor. Search for a counsellor in your location via therapeutic approach, area of practice or language.