How Your Physical Wellness Impacts Your Mental Wellness

It’s a well-known fact that eating well and exercising is important because it’s good for our bodies. But did you know that your physical health also affects your mental health? Going for a walk or drinking lots of water can improve mental wellness. Here’s a look at a few mental benefits that your teen can enjoy from physical activity and healthy eating.

How Your Physical Wellness Impacts Your Mental Wellness

By Julie Klukas

  • Drinking Enough Water Reduces Stress Levels

    By Julie Klukas

    There's a [well-documented link](http://www.webmd.com/diet/water-stress-reduction) between people who have high stress levels and people who don’t consume enough water on a daily basis. Our brains need water to function properly; according to [one study](http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18617629), dehydration can increase levels of cortisol (a stress hormone). Depending on age and gender, your teen should consume anywhere from [7–11 cups of water](http://www.eatright.org/resource/fitness/sports-and-performance/hydrate-right/water-go-with-the-flow) a day to stay hydrated.

  • Exercising Releases Mood-Boosting Endorphins

    By Julie Klukas

    When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, which are the hormones responsible for feelings of happiness and euphoria. [Research](http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/) has shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms among the clinically depressed. You can help your teen get started on the right path with a few [exercises at home](http://www.teenrehab.org/how-to-exercises-for-teens-to-do-at-home/).

  • Physical Activity Reduces Anxiety

    By Julie Klukas

    Next time your teen feels anxious, they can go for a jog! Besides improving symptoms of depression, exercise can also [help reduce anxiety levels](http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21495519).

  • A Strong and Fit Body Inspires Confidence

    By Julie Klukas

    On top of helping mental health issues, physical fitness can boost self-esteem and improve positive self-image. A [Medical College of Georgia study](http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2744328/) has found that exercise can elevate a child’s perception of their attractiveness, thus increasing their sense of self-worth. Exercise can also increase a teen's confidence by giving them a sense of accomplishment as they notice their fitness improving over time.

  • Exercise Improves Quality of Sleep

    By Julie Klukas

    Teens who struggle with insomnia or have trouble falling asleep at night may want to try regularly exercise. Some people find that a moderate workout [works similarly to a sleeping pill](http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22019457)—even for those who have insomnia. Exercising increases the body’s core temperature (which makes it difficult to fall asleep), so exercising approximately six hours before bedtime will drop the core temperature back to normal, allowing your teen to get a [good night’s sleep](http://www.teenrehab.org/how-much-sleep-does-my-teen-actually-need/).

  • A Nutritious Diet Helps Improve Mental Health

    By Julie Klukas

    Healthy foods, such as [nuts and whole grains](http://www.teenrehab.org/5-foods-to-boost-your-energy/), provides boosts of much-needed energy throughout the day. With this energy, your teen will feel more up to doing the things they love, such as sports or creative activities. In fact, [many doctors believe](http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20150820/food-mental-health) healthy foods may boost a person's overall mental well-being. A diet rich in nutrients like [omega-3s](http://www.teenrehab.org/can-omega-3s-help-your-mental-health/) will improve your teen's brain function and lift their mood. Help your teen boost their physical and mental wellness by establishing [healthy habits](http://www.teenrehab.org/7-ways-to-encourage-healthy-living/).

Feature Image: Jared Erondu