Have you ever struggled through a stressful week where tight deadlines made you grouchy, disagreements with family produced anxiety, and the number of bills in the mailbox made you blue? Then, Saturday finally arrives...and so does a big canker sore on the inside of your cheek. Could these events be connected?
Certainly, the Mayo Clinic states that emotional stress can be one of the causes of these mouth ulcers. Stress is also listed as a contributing factor to cold sores and acne. But can your mood cause health problems that are more serious?
Harvard Health Publications reports there's a strong link between good mental health and good physical health, and vice versa. Depression and other mental health issues can contribute to digestive disorders, trouble sleeping, lack of energy, heart disease, and other health issues.
The Mental Health Foundation found that depression has been linked to a 67% increased risk of death from heart disease and 50% increased risk of death from cancer.
These statistics may reflect that people who are depressed are less likely to seek medical attention and exercise, but more likely to turn to unhealthy food or smoking to cope.
If the cause of depression may be chemical, rather than situational, the first step is getting to a mental health professional. Then, regardless of the cause of the negative mood, The Journal of the Association of Medicine and Psychiatry encourages aerobic exercise to alleviate symptoms. Harvard Health also encourages meditation to reduce stress.