Mental/Physical Health Tradeoff | INFJ Forum

Mental/Physical Health Tradeoff


Right the First Time!
Jun 12, 2008
When people are under chronic stress, they tend to smoke, drink, use drugs and overeat to help cope with stress. These behaviors trigger a biological cascade that helps prevent depression, but they also contribute to a host of physical problems that eventually contribute to early death.

People engage in bad habits for functional reasons, not because of weak character or ignorance," says Jackson, director of the U-M Institute for Social Research. "Over the life course, coping strategies that are effective in 'preserving' the mental health of blacks may work in concert with social, economic and environmental inequalities to produce physical health disparities in middle age and later life."

This is a fascinating way to look at these bad habits, I did always think of those habits as a kind of self medication. It's interesting that under chronic stress we favour preserving mental health ahead of long term physical health. I suppose in the past stressful events were usually temporary whereas now stress can be chronic or even life long.
It's also interesting that by improving physical health one can improve mental health as well. People who are physically active release endorphins which help maintain mental health balance. Possibly, bad habits are easier to maintain then an exercise regime (especially as one gets older) which is why people choose to participate in them.