Understanding the Connection Between Physical and Mental Health

Home care experts Helping Hands, explain the important connection between physical and mental health, and give their tips on how to support both.

The body and the mind have often been seen as two separate entities, but when it comes to our overall wellbeing, they're actually closer than you might think.

When we take part in physical exercise, our body releases endorphins - also known as "good hormones" - that stimulate our mood. On the other hand, poor mental health can increase fatigue, which subsequently leads to increased sedentary behaviour. This comes with its own health risks such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and more.

According to a known study, 30% of all people with a long-term physical health condition also experience poor mental health, most commonly depression and/or anxiety.

But that's not to say that you're guaranteed to suffer from poor physical or mental health if you are struggling with its counterpart. In fact, understanding the link between physical and mental wellbeing could be one way to counteract these adversities.

Importance of Mental Health in the Elderly

The world's population is ageing rapidly, with the total number of people over the age of 60 expected to double by 2050. For many, getting older can often mean a change in lifestyle, and we can be impacted by a number of factors that can be detrimental to our mental wellbeing in older years, such as bereavement, loneliness or a change in mobility. Although not inevitable, if and when experienced, these factors can leave an impact on many people as they get older.

The WHO says that the mental health of older adults can be improved through the promotion of active and healthy ageing, such as keeping a healthy lifestyle and having a stable and comfortable living environment.

The Link Between Your Mental and Physical Health

Keeping active is a powerful way to enhance your physical and mental health. Endorphins that are released during exercise can also help with concentration, improve sleep and help you to feel more confident. If you struggle with mobility, exercise can also be a great way to build muscle strength, reducing the risk of falls. However, keeping active doesn't have to mean regular visits to a gym or stringent exercise regimes. Gentle activity including light gardening, walking or yoga can be just as beneficial for your wellbeing.

Good nutrition is also a key factor when influencing the way, we feel both physically and mentally. By getting the right nutrients, we are giving our bodies the fuel it needs to keep healthy and strong. What's more, the food we eat can also influence the development, management and prevention of numerous mental health or neurological conditions, such as depression, anxiety and dementia.

What Conditions Can Be Impacted?

Good mental health can go beyond its emotional influences and can go as far as to positively impact a physical condition. For example, psoriasis - an acute auto-immune condition commonly characterised by sores - is commonly triggered by stress. Therefore, a low-stress lifestyle will be a beneficial element to maintaining a psoriasis diagnosis.

Psoriasis isn't the only condition that can be impacted by mental health.


Dementia affects around 900,000 people in the UK, and although it is most commonly diagnosed in adults over the age of 65, dementia can also affect younger people. However, when it comes to the correlation between dementia and lifestyle, a recent study suggested that a healthy lifestyle could reduce the risk of getting dementia.

When living with dementia, mental health support is pivotal. Depression and anxiety are very common in dementia patients - particularly in the early stages - where the individual may become aware of their declining abilities.

There are some lifestyle changes that are thought to help prevent dementia, including keeping your mind active with crosswords, computer games or puzzles. Music therapy and aromatherapy are also thought to be of benefit, as well as environmental adaptations around the home. These therapies can help to reduce the frustrations and anxieties that come with dementia and allow the individual to feel more comfortable.


Approximately four in ten people living with diabetes will experience emotional stress related to the condition, which can greatly impact an individual's ability to manage their wellbeing.

Managing diabetes is most commonly the responsibility of the individual living with the condition - or a parent or carer - and it requires constant motivation and changes to behaviours and routines. But mental health can be a big factor in the management process of diabetes - and a result of it, too.

Variable blood glucose levels can cause feelings of anxiety and anger. On the other hand, an individual's mood may affect how they engage with their diabetes, subsequently impacting the effect the condition has on their body.---

Helping Hands

With 30 years' experience providing individually tailored home care across England and Wales, Helping Hands offer expert support at home ranging from 30-minute visits up to full-time live-in care. If you need fast-response support, Helping Hands can often begin your bespoke care plan within 24 hours of your initial enquiry.

For more information, please call 0330 818 4430 or visitwww.helpinghands.co.uk