What is the Connection between Physical, Mental and Spiritual Health?

What is the Connection between Physical, Mental and Spiritual Health?

The human body is a fantastic thing. It's capable of so much, and it can adapt to almost any situation you put it in. That being said, your body does need some care from time to time. Suppose you neglect your physical health, for example. In that case, this will harm all other areas of your life: mental and spiritual health included!

In this blog post, we will discuss the connection between these 3 types of health and how they're intimately connected because all three are connected to one thing: nervous system health.

The importance of nervous system health

The nervous system is the control center of all other bodily functions. When your body's stress response goes into overdrive, it can wreak havoc on every part of you- including your mental and spiritual health!

The nervous system's role in mental health

Your body's stress response can negatively impact your mental health as well. This is because of how it impacts our nervous system, affecting how we feel and behave- especially when it comes to our mood!

The following are a few ways that overactive stress response can affect mental health:

An overactive nervous system can lead to a diminished sense of well-being
It can increase one's anxiety level and emotional reactivity.

Mental health conditions caused by an overactive stress response include depression, PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder.

But you don't have to be suffering a diagnosable disorder for your nervous system to be out-of-wack. Years of chronic stress, like what many of us experience today, can also lead to an overactive stress response.

“When you're chronically stressed for a long time, your body perceives it as the new normal,” says psychologist Dr. Leslie Seppinni-Morton.

This can lead our mental health to be chronically negatively affected.

Nervous system and physical health

But chronic stress can also lead to physical health problems because our bodies are interconnected with our nervous system.

When your body perceives stress as the new normal, it releases too many cortisol and adrenaline hormones into your bloodstream.

The nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord, is responsible for transmitting information back and forth between your body's organs.

It affects everything from how well you sleep to what you eat. A stressed-out nervous system may lead to over-eating and over-indulgence, heart problems, sleep problems, and more.

The effects of stress can be seen in the body's immune response, too: It suppresses your natural immunity by lowering levels of antibodies, phagocytes, lymphocytes, T-cells, and natural killer cells. This makes you less resistant to infection or illness.

Did you know that rituals and spiritual practices can calm your nervous system and make you feel more regulated? This is because rituals force you to focus on something other than your worries.

Focusing instead of worrying sends a message to your brain that it can stop producing all those stress hormones. This will also help make your nervous system more resilient against future stresses.

Doing spiritual practices and rituals can temporarily lower your blood pressure, which is linked to decreased anxiety.

There are other ways: for example, prayer or meditation has been shown to promote better sleep patterns and more serotonin production (which contributes to feeling happier).

First steps for regulating the nervous system

Your nervous system is the key to health, and it's not just one type of health. It affects all three types because your physical, mental, and spiritual are all connected.

  • Stress management techniques such as deep breathing or meditation can decrease stress levels and reduce blood pressure, which positively affects overall health.
  • Regular exercise helps regulate synapses in the brain because, which promote neuron regeneration and neuroplasticity, respectively. This also improves mood by releasing endorphins into the bloodstream.
  • Spiritual practices can also promote neural activity in the brain, as they help regulate blood pressure and stress levels.

The connections between these three types of health are essential because a healthy nervous system means a healthier body overall.

Vanessa Pruitt, PLMHP, MS