06 Nov Lifestyle Factors that Boost Mental and Physical Health
Lifestyle Factors that Boost Mental and Physical Health include eating healthy, exercise, etc. Read on to find out how lifestyle factors can affect your health.
Written by Chinyere Nwosu
July 27, 2020
What are lifestyle factors?
Lifestyle factors are the adaptable behaviours and ways of life that influence an individual’s health and well being. Examples of lifestyle factors include exercise, diet, smoking, alcohol, sleep, and recreation. Poor lifestyle choices can result in poor health conditions that can, in turn, affect a person’s self-esteem and mental well being.
Life style factors that boost mental and physical health
Research has proved that physical activities influence the body to release and take up ‘feel-good’ chemicals called endorphins in the brain. Therefore, even a short burst of 10 minutes brisk walk, 15 minutes stretch, or a 5 minutes run reduces muscle pain, increases mental alertness, energy, and positive mood.
It is vital to choose what you eat carefully. Having the right nutrition is a crucial factor when it comes to health. What we eat affects how we feel, weight, health, and may even indirectly impact our social life. A healthy balanced diet is necessary and recommended.
3. No Smoking:
Smoking harms both mental and physical well being. Nicotine in cigarettes interferes with the chemicals in the brain. It increases the ‘feel-good’ chemical dopamine in the brain in the short-term but rather turns off the natural mechanism of producing this chemical in the long-run. Without dopamine, smokers want more cigarettes to recreate the effect. The alteration in the production of dopamine affects the mental health of the smoker, and there is also the risk of lung cancer associated with smoking.
4. Less Alcohol:
Many say that they feel relaxed after having a drink. Some even claim that drinking increases mental alertness and helps a person deal with depression and difficult situations. However, research shows that although you experience some of these feelings due to alcohol, the negative impact outweighs the benefits. Heavy drinking affects some chemicals in the brain that are vital for good mental health. So while you may feel relaxed after a drink, you may also be setting the scene for depression, anxiety, and low-stress tolerance in the long-run. Heavy drinking can also cause liver cancer as well as increase blood pressure and lead to heart attack and other diseases.
Have you wondered why you feel that your body is malfunctioning when you are sleep deprived for some time? Lack of sleep messes with your body clock, setting some functions out of tune. You will not feel comfortable or able to carry out your daily routine until you have gotten some sleep. Sleep can reduce blood pressure, slim you down, reduce the risk of diabetes and heart diseases, increase sex drive, enhance memory, and improve immunity.
6. Recreation and leisure:
Recreation and leisure pay positive dividends like reduced risk of heart diseases and high blood pressure, reduce weight gain, and prevention of some cancer. Besides the physical health benefits mentioned, it boosts your emotional well being, enhances confidence and self-esteem as well as encourages social interactions. Taking time off to wind down is not such a bad idea.
7. Use of modern technology:
With technology bloom has come many changes in our everyday life and routines. Besides television, radio, iPod, iPad, phones, and computers, the internet has made a significant impact on the way we live. The advent of social media has brought many unexpected health effects with it. Being overly connected has been seen to lead to distraction, depression, narcissism, and expectation of instant gratification. Increased screen time causes vision problems and neck strain, while the use of earphones is related to hearing loss.
8. Learning new things:
Research shows that learning new skills helps the mind grow stronger and slows cognitive aging. Besides exercising your brain and staying alert, learning a skill opens the door to new worlds you may not have known. New things can also help in checking and regulating emotions as well as encourage social interaction.
9. Sexual behavior:
Normal sex relation is a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle. Dysfunction in this social behavior has been identified by research as a problem in some societies. Unhealthy sexual behavior has a significant effect on mental and physical health. Dysfunctional sex relations may result in unwanted pregnancy, family issues, sexual violence, AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases.
10. Friends and family:
One of the many beauties of life is to love and be loved. No wonder research shows that people in loving relationships have fewer doctor visits. Having a healthy adult to provide a loving philia-based relationship will provide the balance needed to overcome the mental stress from traumatic experiences even for children. Having healthy relationships reduces the risk of high blood pressure and heart diseases, boosts immune systems, enhances physical fitness, and helps keep a merry heart. So, keep your friends close and don’t take your family for granted.
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