When transformation is our goal, we often focus mostly on the physical part of that transformation—working out regularly and following our nutrition plan. And while exercising and eating a healthy diet can definitely get us to where we want to be as far as how we look in the mirror and the number we see on the scale, if we don’t also focus on the mental health part of our transformation—the emotional, psychological, and social parts, we can miss a vital component of optimal overall health. Which is the ultimate goal, right?!
So, why is that mind body connection between our physical and mental health so important? It’s pretty simple: If our physical health is suffering, our mental health will suffer too. The opposite is also true: When our mental health is suffering, our physical health will be negatively affected as well. That’s something we might not even pay attention to as often as we should.
We know how poor physical health can affect us in so many ways, including what we’re able to do physically and a host of diseases that can develop when we don’t take care of our physical bodies. But what we might not be so aware of is how any mental health struggles can affect us physically. And when we talk about mental health struggles, we’re referring to things we usually think about like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, etc. and a lot of other things we might not think of or overlook as mental health issues:
- Stress, whether it’s situational or chronic
- Panic attacks
- Sex drive changes
- Low energy
- Poor coping mechanisms
- Withdrawal from activities and friends
- Sleep issues
- Inability to concentrate
- Lack of self-love
- And more…
And let’s be honest: Our mental health has taken a hit the past 2 years due to COVID. In fact, one study found that Americans are now EIGHT times more likely to suffer from mental health issues now versus pre-pandemic times. That’s a sobering statistic since our mental and physical health are so strongly linked.
Here are some ways mental health struggles can affect our physical health:
When we’re struggling mentally, everything that happens once we put food in our mouths—our entire digestive process—can be affected in negative ways.
Think about what happens when you’re stressed or anxious…your body tightens up, and this tightening can lead to pain and even chronic pain.
And when we have any of these physical health problems, they can actually increase our mental health issues, turning into a vicious cycle that’s hard to escape.
The Importance of Self-Love to Overall Health
One way to boost our mental health (and consequently, our physical health) is through loving ourselves. Self-love means making ourselves a priority, accepting both our strengths and our weaknesses, being kind to ourselves—treating ourselves like we’d treat our best friends, and nurturing our own growth and wellbeing. When we can develop self-love, we can experience the following benefits:
- Reduced stress
- Higher productivity
- Better self-care, including developing and following healthy habits
- Increased happiness and decreased anxiety and depression
- Improved emotional resilience, which helps us get through tough times
- Higher self-confidence, which benefits other areas of our lives
- Better success at achieving our goals
- And more…
Since self-love is so important for our overall health, how can we develop self-love and make sure it’s a constant priority in our lives?
21 Tips for Developing + Prioritizing Self-Love
1. Set and keep boundaries. This one can be tough, but it’s crucial for creating and maintaining self-love.
2. Spend some alone time with the most important person in the world—YOU! Meditate, pray, journal, take a walk, listen to music, and what might be the hardest thing to do sometimes, just do nothing. Anything that is calming and stress-relieving for you will work!
3. Create some technology-free times in your day, especially with social media if that’s hindering your self-love development.
4. Don’t fall into the comparison trap.
5. Take up a new hobby.
6. Keep a gratitude journal. Gratitude has been shown to not only improve your self-love, but it offers physical and relationship benefits too.
7. Make time to do things you enjoy doing. It doesn’t have to be hours at a time…a few minutes can be enough.
8. Stretch. This can do more than making those muscles feel good!
9. Spend time with friends and family.
10. Serve others. Often, simply doing something kind—even the smallest and simplest thing—can make a positive difference in how we feel about ourselves.
11. Ask for help. Asking for help is a sign of strength, and it allows others to serve you. That’s a win-win for everyone!
12. Work on creating a new habit that leads to a goal that’s important to you.
13. Keep a daily Power Promise. Each small win adds to your self-love bucket! Not sure where to start? Download a FREE copy of our Foundation Five eBook here!
14. Get enough sleep. This could be an entire blog post on its own, but learn why sleep is so important here.
15. Follow your nutrition plan + work out regularly. Try The Transform App for 7 days for FREE here. Loaded with 560+ customized meals, several workout programs, and life lessons, it can take figuring out nutrition and workouts off your plate and help with your mental health as well!
16. Talk with a mental health professional sooner rather than later when necessary.
17. Cut yourself some slack. Perfection is a myth, so just strive to do your best. When you fall, get right back up and go again, and learn from each fall. That’s the key.
18. Celebrate every single win, no matter how small.
19. Practice positive affirmations. While this can feel strange at first, talking positively to yourself really can make a difference!
20. Practice saying NO. This one might take a lot of practice.
21. Set realistic expectations for yourself.
We often put self-love low on our to-do list, but when we make it a priority, all the other to-dos can actually become easier since we’re taking care of ourselves.
Which self-love tip will you take on first? Start with something simple and go from there.
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