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Good mental health is important for success in life and avoidance of illnesses as well as simply for feeling better. However, feeling better, feeling good about yourself, other people, and the circumstances of your life are important in and of themselves. For many people, life is a struggle. For far too many of these people part of the reason for the struggle is that they expect life to be difficult and they expect to fail unless they are on guard every moment of every day. Give yourself permission to feel better and a lot of life’s perceived difficulties go away and many of the effects of poor mental health go away as well.

How Mental Health Affects Physical Health

Research tells us that folks with one or more mental health problems are likely to have a preventable physical health condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes. The reasons occasionally include the fact that some mental health conditions are genetically linked to physical health problems. But more often the problem lies in the motivation of the person with mental health problems. They have such low motivation that they do not bother to do the things that keep them physically healthy.

For some, the issue is that a person with mental health issues may have trouble focusing on things like simply setting up and keeping doctor appointments. Or they will not have the energy to do the basic things needed to get chores done.

Mental health problems tend to lead to social isolation. If a person has few or no friends they will not get much feedback on how they act or relate to people. Medical and psychological professionals may give up on attempts to get a person to quit smoking, get more exercise, or eat less because they believe the person is not motivated and never will be.

How Mental Health Affects Physical Health
How Mental Health Affects Physical Health

Quit Driving Yourself and Stop to Smell the Roses

There are many people who are workaholics, ambitious, and constantly multitasking. These some folks are always trying to achieve more and do not accept failure at any level. They tend to be dominating and have very rigid beliefs. They also have a right risk of having a heart attack. The label type A personality was coined by cardiologists years ago to describe these folks. They do not socialize well with others and find it difficult to express their feelings. In fact, they often find it difficult to know what or how they are feeling.

Permission to Feel Better Helps Heart Disease

Years ago cardiologists found that this subset of people needed to them themselves permission to let up, to feel better, and to give themselves a break in order for the usual cardiac treatments to work on them. The bottom line is that you do not need to have heart disease to give yourself permission to feel good about life. A whole range of mental health and physical health conditions that people suffer from benefit from letting up, not constantly multitasking and demanding too much of themselves.

Permission to Feel Better Helps Heart Disease
Permission to Feel Better Helps Heart Disease

Does Being Hard on Yourself Lead to Success in Life?

Fear of failure is often what drives a driven person. Do these folks succeed more often than those who do not worry so much? This issue was studied years ago by identifying folks with these characteristics while in college, pairing them with others without workaholic characteristics, following them through their lives. What researchers found was that worrying about everything and finding fault in every mistake does not lead to lifetime success. What it does lead to is a host of mental health issues that can also lead to significant physical problems.

Practice Feeling Better Makes Perfect

The old saying that practice makes perfect applies to workaholics who need to let up, quit blaming themselves about every little thing, and enjoy their lives. A story about the treatment of a guy with type A personality is instructive. They mentioned that they hated it when they had to wait in their car at a railway crossing as a freight train passed. What they learned to do was to view the time waiting as a brief vacation instead of as impediment to their work.

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