Depression Hurts

To many of us, depression pertains JUST to our mental health. If you are dealing with depression, though, you may not know that it can manifest itself physically in your body. These physical signs are worth noting because when we only pay attention to what’s going on inside our heads, it’s easy to become desensitized to our own experiences, making it difficult to note our progress. They’re also worth mentioning because our loves ones are more likely to vent about their aches and pains than they are about their mental health.

Everything Hurts More

Studies have shown us that people who are experiencing depression also experience a lower pain tolerance. They may also experience inexplicable aches and pains throughout your body. Before immediately jumping to pain-relievers, first take stock of your mental health. Talk therapy may very well help with the pain you’re feeling.

Headaches

Headaches are a normal experience, especially in a world that has become nothing but hustle and bustle. We may attribute it to work, stressful relationships, or not hydrating properly. However, studies have shown us that headaches can be a symptom of depression—especially when they become a daily struggle. Headaches caused by depression are not like migraines in that they don’t often take you out of commission. However, they will begin to wear on you as they become a more regular occurrence if you do not receive the help you need.

Stomach Aches

Upset stomachs, feelings of being bloated, diarrhea—these are all ways in which depression can physically rear its ugly head. In fact, the pain associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome is so similar to those experiencing stomach pains stemming from depression that patients are often diagnosed. Our stomach is almost like a second brain. In the same way that depression can affect your mental state, your stomach will pick up on the internal turmoil and begin to follow suit. Interestingly enough, a healthy diet has been proven to alleviate some symptoms of depression. To read more about the relationship between the body and the mind, read our other blog entries: How Anxiety Affects Your Body

How Anxiety Affects Your Body

Anxiety

How Anxiety Affects Your Body

Let’s talk about just how intimately intertwined our mind and body are. What we think affects how we feel and how we feel affects what we think. Understanding that the mind-body connection is powerful is the first step towards living holistically.

Let’s look at a real life example. People who deal with anxiety can see it manifest physically in the form of headaches, stomach issues, and tense muscles. In similar fashion, if you aren’t allowing yourself enough sleep or getting the kind of nutrition you need, you may find it harder to cope with your anxiety, worsening the problem.

Effective coping strategies address both the body and the mind. Remember to give your body and your mind what they need to take care of one another. For more information on the relationship between the body and the mind, click here: Body Blog

The Science Behind It

Our brain produces chemicals that can help our body to feel better. Endorphins, for example, are our body’s natural pain remedies and gamma globulin has been shown to make our immune system stronger. These chemicals are produced, in part, on our thoughts and reactions to the circumstances. Science shows that a patient who is positive about their outlook when rehabbing after a surgery, for instance, is more likely to have a speedier recovery. 

On the other hand, those who feel more negatively towards their outlook are less likely to recover more quickly. When we don’t have positive reactions towards our circumstances, it can keep the brain from producing those chemicals. It’s important to remember that some illnesses are out of our control, but it’s equally important to remember that we can help ourselves by being mindful of how we’re dealing with our obstacles, like anxiety. 

Body

The Body and Mind Connection

While considering the emotional benefits of psychotherapy, it’s important to keep in mind that it can also improve your physical well-being. Experts report that psychotherapy can help to relieve stress, improve your sleep cycle, and increase your libido.

While many of us look at the body and mind as two separate entities, studies have shown that the two are intimately intertwined. 

For more information on cultivating a healthy mind, click here: (Mind Article)

In fact, neglecting your mental health may lead to your body physically manifesting ailments. 

Sleep:

People who suffer with their mental health are more likely to suffer from sleep disorders. Studies have shown that 50% to 80% of people with mental health conditions will also have sleeping problems. For reference, only 10% to 18% of the general population experience these same kinds of sleeping problems. Overtime, a lack of sleep will pose some serious health risks.

Stress:

Stress is a response to the pressures of circumstance. While it is mentally taxing, it has also been shown to affect us physically, as well. Headaches, chest pain, muscle tension, and high blood pressure are oftentimes physical manifestations of our state of mind. 

Libido:

Those with mental health conditions such as depression may experience a decrease in their libido. This, in turn, may take a toll on their relationship. This physical manifestation of mental health conditions is common enough that doctors often point to a decreased libido as the reason for their diagnosis. 

The Good News:

In the same way that the body can physically manifest negative mental health conditions, it also manifests a healthier ‘you’ when you cultivate a healthy mindset. Seeking help from a professional therapist will allow you to be your best self, both in mind and in body.