Why is Brain Health Essential to Mental Health?

Mental health is derived from brain health. How so? Your mental health is your psychological and emotional well-being only. Whereas, your brain health includes everything because your brain controls everything… including your mental health (how you think, feel, act/behave), and how your body functions except for a few simple reflexes. Your mental health is a slice of the pie called brain health.

Because your mental health is an aspect of your total brain health, it’s essential to give your brain what it needs to be healthy and function optimally in order to have optimal mental health. This includes proper sleep, physical activity, healthy relationships, and healthy nutrition, which provides quality raw materials to build healthy, functioning brain cells, brain chemicals and hormones. But we also need to protect the brain from harmful exposures such as brain injury, emotional trauma, chronic stress, chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension, toxic chemicals, and “bad bugs” like bacteria and viruses.

Additionally, while we tend to think of the brain and the body as distinctly different, our brain isn’t in a separate container from the rest of the body. It’s one unit called the mind-body, composed of 50 trillion cells. Our brain is like air traffic control to the body—giving it directions on how to function, but also receiving input from the body. They interact with each other and affect each other’s functioning—for better or worse. It’s all connected and interacting! A healthy brain is important to the health of the body, and vice versa.

We intuitively understand that our body can’t live without a brain, that if we’re brain dead, our body can no longer function without life support. Now you know that mental health is a portion of brain health; therefore, the healthier your brain, the better your mental health and quality of life. Ensuring good brain health is essential to good mental health! Now who doesn’t want that?

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