Americans are not the healthiest bunch. From cosmopolitan Washington, D.C., to the rural reaches of Wyoming and everywhere in between, Americans share the unfortunate trait of having (on average, anyway) unhealthy lifestyles. In some places (like D.C.), they drink way too much; in other places, they eat way too much. Almost everywhere, they don’t get enough exercise.
All of this has made Americans unhealthy. The typical American is overweight, and many are obese (it’s an epidemic, actually). Many Americans are suffering from mental illnesses, including addiction. That’s thanks in part to the country’s horrific opioid epidemic that average life expectancy in the United States has declined over recent years.
Most Americans struggle with all different aspects of their health. But there’s one mistake that is too common and all too severe. The biggest mistake that most people make with their health is failing to consider their mental health at all.
Stigma, ignorance, and mental health
Most Americans make it to the doctor on more or less the schedule that they ought to. Problems with our health care system aside, most Americans are also relatively conscientious about heading to their doctor or to a hospital when they are sick or severely injured. Most people understand that, without professional help, it’s next to impossible for broken bones to heal properly or serious illnesses to resolve positively.
When it comes to mental health, though, all of this common sense seems to fly out the window. Many Americans have mental health issues that go entirely untreated; some of them don’t even know that they have mental health issues.
Part of the problem is outdated stigma; we’re afraid to go to the psychologist or therapist because we think it makes us “crazy.” Part of the problem is ignorance. We don’t know how helpful therapy can be, even to those who do not have an ongoing mental health issues. Whatever the case, Americans are making a big mistake.
Mental health is not something you should try to manage on your own, explain the experts at therapygroupdc.com. Like physical health, mental health should be managed through regular healthy lifestyle choices and professional health care.
It’s all tied together
You can be thin and, to an extent, even physically healthy without having a clean bill of mental health. And you can be mentally healthy and still be physically ill or obese. But these are exceptions to the rule, which is this: Physical and mental health are closely related.
When you’re properly nourishing your body and releasing endorphins through exercise, you’re going to feel better and think more clearly. Eat nothing but junk and sit around all day, and you’re more likely than your active counterparts to deal with issues like anxiety and depression (studies prove it). The reverse is true, too: The healthier your mind, the easier you’re likely to find it to make the right decisions regarding diet, exercise, and other health essentials.
This isn’t to say that the obesity epidemic and other issues in America all come back to mental health care; obviously, that’s not the whole story. But it’s also undeniable that these things are related. The biggest mistake that most people make regarding their health — to ignore their mental health needs entirely — contributes to a host of other health problems that can further complicate anyone’s big-picture health. So don’t make this common mistake. Recognize that your health includes both physical and mental aspects. Get yourself the mental health care that you need, and live the healthy life you deserve to have.
Join the discussion on this topic with Live SV by visiting our contact page.