Physical and Mental Health – Two Sides of the Same Coin

on January 16, 2012

by Kiera

Health is always a hot topic of discussion, and holistic views of health are becoming more and more common in our conversations.

We hear people talk about physical and mental health as not simply the absence of disease but as a more complete state of wellness which includes the ability to reach one’s full potential. When we talk about health in a holistic sense, we also want to pay attention to the connection between physical and mental health.

The relationship between physical and mental health is unclear, but we are learning more about it every day. Research tells us that mental health conditions can affect one’s physical health and vice versa. For example, stress and anxiety can be linked to headaches, ulcers and high blood pressure. And people who experience physical conditions such as cancer, arthritis and asthma can have increased feelings of anxiety, depression and stress.

And the connection is not only for those who are experiencing physical or mental health challenges. For everyone, taking care of your body helps to take care of your mental and emotional health. For example, when you exercise, you are both strengthening your muscles and also improving your mood through the release of endorphins. And positive emotions like happiness are linked to better physical health.

Taking care of your physical body and mental wellness are both very important to your overall health. They are two sides of the same coin that will always be intimately connected.

Many of us know how to promote our physical well-being, for example through a healthful diet, getting enough exercise, and sleeping well, but how can we promote our mental health at the same time?

CMHABC offers 10 Tips for Mental Fitness. The first step is to be aware of your emotional well-being. Think about how the stress you face may be affecting you. Allow yourself to take a break from your worries and give yourself some time to practice mental fitness. Here are a few simple ways you can practice mental fitness:

  • Treat yourself well– Cook yourself a good meal. Have a bubble bath. See a movie. Call a friend or family member. Whatever it is, do it just for you.
  • Share humour – Share something that makes you laugh or smile with someone you know. A little laughter goes a long way!
  • Exercise – Regular physical activity improves your emotional well-being. Joining an exercise group or gym can also connect you with new people who share a common goal.

For more tips on how to practice mental fitness visit the CMHA website


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BC Children's Hospital

This is an agency of Provincial Health Services Authority, providing provincial tertiary mental health services to the citizens of British Columbia. Programs include: Adult Tertiary Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatric Services, Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Women’s Reproductive Mental Health, as well as the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for children and youth located at the BC Children’s Hospital.

Provincial Health Services Authority

Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) is one of six health authorities – the other five health authorities serve geographic regions of BC.

Ministry of Health

British Columbia Ministry of Health

RBC Children's Mental Health Project

RBC Children’s Mental Health Project is RBC's cornerstone “health and wellness” pillar; RBC Children’s Mental Heath Project is a multi-year philanthropic commitment to support community-based and hospital programs that reduce stigma, provide early intervention and increase public awareness about children’s mental health issues.

BC Children's Hospital Foundation

Through a wide range of fundraising events and opportunities, The BC Children's Hospital Foundation is united with its donors by a single, simple passion - to improve the health and the lives of the young people who enter BC Children's Hospital every day.