Whoever coined the phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” must have understood the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. Although eating right is undoubtedly a big part of physical health, many people avoid addressing their health, including chronic or acute illnesses and mental health concerns. According to the National Institute of Health research, 30% to 40% of individuals avoid medical care, even when they think they should go to a doctor.1 This belief can lead to increased healthcare costs and delayed healing. What if an apple could not only keep the doctor away but also save money on health care and improve health outcomes?
This healthcare philosophy, called proactive health care, is gaining momentum among physicians and other medical professionals. Proactive health care allows patients to take control of their health before problems start or become too drastic. It includes exercise,1 healthy eating, taking medications as directed, scheduling regular health checkups, practicing mindfulness, and reducing stress. Practicing proactive health means focusing on preventative measures to improve physical and mental health and avoid potentially expensive medical interventions.
Proactive health relies heavily on the link between mental and physical health. For example, chronic diseases like diabetes or cancer can lead to anxiety and depression, and healthy eating and exercise can boost mental health. Ideally, physical and mental health work best when they are both an important focus of people and their healthcare providers. Proactive health care is best when it applies to both physical and mental health upkeep.
Proactive health care does not mean a person can prevent all health issues. Many health events are out of our control and unrelated to lifestyle choices we make. But proactive health care can impact quite a few aspects of our lives.
In celebration of World Mental Health Day, we’re sharing five ways to practice proactive health care to boost your physical and mental health.
- Add exercise to your daily life. Even 30 minutes of low-impact exercise can reduce stress, boost “happy hormones,” and improve sleep.
- Speaking of sleep—it’s essential to get enough! Most adults need at least 7 hours of quality sleep to keep their minds and body healthy. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try avoiding alcohol, setting a bedtime schedule, and creating a quiet, comfortable environment to sleep in.
- Connect with friends and family regularly. Healthy relationships are conducive to mental wellbeing. Friends, family, and peers can help provide emotional support, build self-worth, and give a sense of community.
- Practice mindfulness. This practice lets you live in the moment and focus objectively on your thoughts and feelings to help identify and manage challenging emotions. Research has found that mindfulness can help relieve stress and avoid pain.
- Take part in coaching or therapy sessions. Therapy can help you dig into the core of symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses, and coaches can help you define and reach your goals.
If you are an existing Uprise Health member, your member portal is also an excellent resource for healthy living tips and mental health support. On this year’s World Mental Health Day, take time to take care of yourself! Visit your Member Portal. If you are not a current Uprise Health member, you can learn more about how we help our members improve their health and wellbeing.