While mental health and physical health are often viewed as separate entities, research suggests that there is a connection between them. In fact, the two are so intertwined that many people who suffer from mental health challenges often have co-existing medical conditions that can make their symptoms worse.
Some research has shown that a healthy lifestyle can help improve symptoms of depression or anxiety. Here's how physical wellness impacts our mental health:
The connection between physical health and mental health.
Physical health and mental health are closely connected. It's important to understand that your mental health affects your physical health and vice versa. Mental illnesses like depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder can cause chronic physical symptoms such as pain, fatigue and digestive problems. In addition, chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease can lead to depression.
Physical activity has been shown to reduce stress levels while improving sleep quality and overall moods by releasing endorphins into the body which make us feel better about ourselves!
What does it mean to have a healthy gut?
Gut health is the health of your digestive tract. It includes the stomach, small intestine and large intestine. Healthy gut means healthy digestion, which helps you absorb nutrients from food and leaves you feeling energized instead of tired all day long.
Gut health also plays an important role in maintaining a strong immune system--the 80% of our immune system that's located in our gut! When we have an imbalance between good bacteria (probiotics) and bad bacteria (pathogens), this can cause inflammation throughout the body that leads to things like allergies and asthma symptoms as well as mental health issues like depression or anxiety disorders.
The brain-gut connection is one reason why we should take care of ourselves physically so we can feel better mentally: serotonin levels are higher when we eat foods rich in tryptophan such as cottage cheese or bananas; dopamine levels increase after eating chocolate because it contains phenylethylamine (PEA).
How does inflammation in the gut affect our mental health?
Inflammation in the gut can cause inflammation in the brain. When you have an inflammatory condition, such as Crohn's or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), your body produces chemicals called cytokines that help fight off infections and heal wounds. But when there's too much of these chemicals for too long--a condition known as chronic inflammation--they can damage cells and tissues throughout your body including those responsible for processing food into nutrients that feed your brain cells.
This damage causes changes in gut microbiome composition which may result in changes in brain chemistry and behavior including depression, anxiety, mood swings or other mental health issues like schizophrenia
How can we improve our physical and mental health?
There are several ways you can improve your physical and mental health.
● Make sure you're eating a balanced diet. A good start is to make sure that you are consuming enough protein, fat, fiber and carbohydrates each day.
● Exercise regularly! Research shows that people who exercise regularly have lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol which means they are less likely to experience anxiety or depression than those who don't exercise regularly. Plus there are tons of other benefits including improved sleep quality.
● Eat gut-healthy foods. Examples of gut-healthy foods are :
-Lean proteins, especially those that contain omega-3 fatty acids like wild salmon and grass-fed beef
-Vegetables, especially leafy greens (kale, spinach) which have a good amount of vitamin K and folate (folic acid)
-Nuts and seeds are high in fiber, protein and healthy fats which can help promote gut health
-Fruit is also a great source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants -
● Probiotics are good bacteria that can help fight off bad bacteria in your gut. You can find them in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir and kombucha or take a supplement.
There is a direct link between how your body functions and how you feel. Addressing any issues with your body can help you improve your mental health.
Physical health and wellness are connected to mental health. If you're experiencing a physical ailment or pain, it can have a significant impact on how you feel mentally. For example, if your gut isn't functioning properly, it could affect how well your brain functions and thus impact your mood.
There are many ways people can improve their mental health by improving their physical health:
● Eating healthy foods
● Getting enough sleep (7-8 hours) each night
● Exercising regularly (30 minutes per day)
● Managing stress through meditation or other relaxation techniques
How Ketamine Therapy Can Lead to Healthier Habits
We’ve seen countless cases as a practice where individuals have improved by gaining insight into the root causes of their unhealthy habits and develop a greater understanding of the triggers that lead to these behaviors. While we can't 100% attribute this change to ketamine therapy alone, the holistic treatment allows for a heightened self-awareness. This can be a catalyst for change, as it empowers individuals to consciously recognize and challenge their destructive patterns.
Breaking the cycle of repetitive and harmful behaviors through sessions can help us create space for the development of healthier habits. With a rewired brain, individuals are better equipped to make conscious choices and resist the pull of old habits, replacing them with behaviors that are aligned with their well-being and personal growth. For example, if when you are triggered, you typically reach for the comfort of junk food, psychedelic therapy can help us reframe and gain insight into this coping mechanism. In this way, we are able to not feel as triggered, feel more in touch with our emotional regulation, and not feel the need to use junk food as a coping mechanism.
It is important to note that ketamine therapy is not yet FDA approved and if used, should be utilized as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, which may include counseling, lifestyle changes, and ongoing support. While ketamine therapy can provide a valuable foundation for choosing healthier habits, it is ultimately up to the individual to actively engage in the process of change and integrate new behaviors into their daily lives.
This blog is not medical advice or therapeutic advice but general knowledge to help you get the most out of your experiences with psychedelic therapy. At-home psychedelic therapy sessions with generic ketamine may be prescribed "off-label" for suitable candidates as an alternative pathway. Over the last two decades, research suggests that ketamine may be able to safely and effectively improve many treatment-resistant conditions. A form of ketamine, Esketamine (Spravato), is an FDA-approved medication for depression. Spravato treatments are only available in-person in our office. Our at-home programs include therapeutic guidance, safety protocols, breathwork, virtual treatment preparation and 1-on-1 integration coaching to get the most out of your sessions.
Learn about Superpowers: How we can start to look at some mental health issues and challenges from an empowered point of view.
Learn about EMDR and Ketamine Therapy: How Ketamine Therapy Can Enhance and Amplify the Effectiveness of EMDR.
Learn about How to Make The Most Of Your Ketamine Therapy Experience.
Learn about The Science Behind Ketamine Therapy.