The most common mental illnesses in Australia are anxiety disorders, affective disorders, and substance use disorders. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses with 14.4% of Australians aged 16-85 experiencing anxiety disorders every year.

Although a mental illness is defined as a clinically diagnosable disorder that significantly interferes with a person’s cognitive, emotional, or social abilities, you can don’t need to meet the criteria for a mental illness or mental disorder to be negatively affected by their mental health. Things like socioeconomic factors, including a person’s access to services, living conditions and employment status, finance, and relationships are common issues that impact our mental health

Impacts on our body

Our bodies and minds are not separate, so it’s not surprising that mental ill health can affect your body. Physical symptoms are a result of mental health issues which is why being in a good mental state can keep you healthy and help prevent serious health conditions and can reduce the risks of heart attacks and strokes. You might also experience one or more of these issues:

  • Headaches, fatigue, and digestive problems
  • Restlessness and difficulty concentrating.
  • Sleep issues, insomnia, or sleep apnea
  • Chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis
  • Higher body dissatisfaction

How to Take Care of Your Mental and Physical Health

If you want to improve your general well-being, you should take care of both your physical and mental health. 

  • Get regular exercise. Exercise is important for keeping physically fit, but it can also help improve your mood. A daily 10-minute walk may increase your mental alertness leaving you energetic and in a good mood.
  • Eat a proper diet. A diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in processed sugars or fats can make you feel better physically and mentally. Consider working with a qualified nutritionist to help you create a diet plan customized according to your needs.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. Although drinking and smoking may make you feel better in the short term, they can have a negative effect on both your physical and mental health.
  • Get enough sleep. A good night’s sleep is around seven to nine hours for adults. Nap breaks can during the day make you feel more alert.
  • Try relaxation techniques. Meditation, deep breathing, and focusing on your thoughts can all help when you are feeling stressed. 
  • Develop good mental practices. Try to focus on positive emotions and events rather than negative ones.
  • Seek help from others. Talking with friends or family members can help you feel less stressed. Getting others to help with difficult situations can also reduce the burden you feel. 

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