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How are Mental and Physical Health Connected?

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Mental health in word tag cloudTo commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month, we asked a number of our clinicians the question:

How are Mental and Physical Health Connected?


From Jenny Welbel, LPC:

In the case of anxiety, many people tend to notice physiological reactions and indicators that they’re anxious first. This can include shortness of breath, increased heart rate or an upset stomach.

However, it’s important to note that being anxious is different from having an anxiety disorder, of which there are different types of anxiety disorders, each with their own unique indicators. Anxiety itself is not necessarily a bad thing — it often acts as a motivator, or clues us in that something is significant and worth focusing on. When anxiety symptoms begin to interfere with everyday functioning, however, it might be a sign of an anxiety disorder that requires the help of a trained mental health practitioner.


From Jaime Henry-Juravic, LMFT:

Mental health and physical health impact each other bi-directionally. When we feel healthy in one, we often feel healthy in the other. And when one is suffering, the other is likely suffering. We can also use each sphere as a positive buffer against suffering in the other sphere. For example, when we are struggling with a physical illness, attending to our mental health through activities such as mindfulness meditation and/or psychotherapy can often mediate the negative effects of the physical illness.



The Family Institute offers affordable family, couples and individual counseling at our Evanston, downtown Chicago, La Grange Park and Northbrook locations. Visit our website to learn more.

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