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Mental and physical health: Interrelated?

We all know the feeling of having a big presentation at work, or appearing for an exam the next day. You can’t stop thinking about it, your stomach feels tight, your heart races, and you can’t seem to focus on anything else. This isn’t your imagination at work or college. For too long, we have been conditioned to think of the mind and body as separate entities. You take a pill for a headache, and treat them as an isolated event. But reality is far more interconnected. Our mental and physical health are just like roommates-what affects one can definitely affect the other.

In this blog, we will explore how common mental illnesses like stress, anxiety, and depression can affect your overall well-being.

Relation between mental health and physical health - Saksham
Stress and physical health

Mental and physical health goes hand by hand, imagine you are stuck in rush hour traffic, late for an appointment. Your mind is racing with worry. This stress response isn’t just in your head. Your body releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, which prepare you for a fight or flight situation. In the short term, this can be helpful, giving you alertness and a burst of energy to focus on. But when it becomes chronic, these hormones can turn that short term burst into a long term burden. It can cause:

High blood pressure

The constant strain on our heart is like asking it to work overtime, eventually leading to wear and tear. Chronically high blood pressure increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and even kidney failure.

Interrupted sleep

When your mind is constantly on edge, it becomes difficult to fall asleep. Lack of sleep, in turn, makes you feel more stressed and irritable. It also disrupts the production of hormones that regulate your appetite, making you crave unhealthy foods and further impact your overall health.

Weakened immune system

Chronic stress can suppress the production of white blood cells. This leaves you more susceptible to catching colds, flu and other illnesses. You might also find that existing health problems become worse when you are stressed.

Gut issues

The connection between your mind and gut is a fascinating one. Did you know that your gut has its own nervous system? This network of nerves communicated directly with your brain, which means stress and anxiety can easily translate into digestive issues.

Stress can potentially affect your digestive system, leading to a variety of unpleasant symptoms. You might experience heart burn, acid reflux, stomach cramps, constipation or diarrhea. Depression has been linked to changes in gut bacteria, which can affect digestion. Chronic stress can also contribute to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Weight gain

The stress hormone cortisol can trigger cravings for sugar and fatty foods, which can lead to weight gain. It can also lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, like emotional eating, which can further add up to weight problems.

Headaches and muscle tension

Ever feel like your shoulders are hunched when you are stressed? Stress can cause muscle tension throughout the body, leading to headaches, neck pain and backaches.

Affects your skin and hair

Stress can aggravate skin problems like acne and eczema. It can also lead to premature hair loss or make existing hair loss worse.

The foggy mind

Mental health problems can also affect your cognitive abilities. People with depression can cause problems with concentration, memory and decision-making. This can make it difficult to focus at tasks on work or school and can negatively affect your daily life.

Sexual health

Chronic stress can disrupt the delicate balance needed for sexual desire in both men and women. Stress can make you hyper-focused on potential problems leading to anxiety around sexual performance and reducing desire.

The constant thinking associated with stress makes it hard to relax and focus on the sensations of pleasure, hampering your ability to become aroused.


Life can be tough for young people. Sometimes, intense feelings like sadness, anger, or loneliness can feel too much to handle. Even physical pain can feel better than feeling emotionally numb or overwhelmed. Everything can feel pointless and people might even feel like they don’t want to live anymore. When life feels out of control self-harm can be a misguided attempt to feel in charge of something even if its just their body.

If you are struggling with tough feelings or thoughts of self-harm, you’re not alone. There are people who care about you and want to help. Talk to a trusted adult, a friend, or a therapist.

The Bottom Line

Your mental and physical health are roommates, not strangers. Chronic stress can raise your risk from heart diseases to headaches and even skin problems. Take charge of your mental and physical health with the Saksham – Mental Wellness Companion App, This free app offers self-care tools and gamified mental health assessments. Download Saksham and invest in a healthier you!