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Mental Health and Wellbeing

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The links between mental health and physical health are very deeply intertwined, and there are significant overlaps between these chronic conditions.

Smart Investor sat with Azran Osman-Rani. ” As an entrepreneur, CEO and Ironman triathlete, many only see my public persona of strength, resilience and energetic enthusiasm to embrace life’s challenges and opportunities. Hardly anyone knows about the recurring anxiety attacks and chronic stress that can leave me either bed-ridden or feeling disengaged and withdrawn.”

Many do not understand that mental health is just like physical health. Some days we feel physically strong, and other days we become sick – either from an infection that may heal in a few days, or when we are struck with a lifelong or life-threatening disease.

This can either be from a genetic or inherited condition, or even from being unhealthy from our own lifestyle choices like getting diabetes or hypertension because of poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking and stress.

Mental health also exists on a spectrum. There’s positive mental wellbeing – when someone is optimistic and curious, focused and resilient, and socially connected. On the other hand, feeling depressed, anxious and stressed is completely normal.

Most of us can self-regulate and feel better after a few days, but others suffer from clinical levels of depression and anxiety because the triggers that lead to these feelings are either prolonged or so intense that the body can no longer return to normal. It is similar to diabetes where consuming a lot of sugar can cause our blood glucose to spike. If it is only occasionally, for example, having a slice of chocolate cake, the body’s insulin hormones normalise blood glucose.

However, prolonged and excessive sugar consumption impairs the ability of insulin hormones to regulate glucose and that leads to diabetes. Over time as diabetes progresses, it can cause kidney failure, blindness and even death. Similarly, other hormones control our mental and emotional state, like serotonin and oxytocin. Prolonged stress and pressure, or even intense trauma, can interfere with the functioning of these hormones, causing clinical disorders.

Other mental health conditions can be brought about by genetic and biological factors, leading to illnesses like psychosis, schizophrenia or bipolar disorders, just like auto-immune diseases or cancer which affect our physical heath.

The links between mental and physical health are very deeply intertwined, and there are significant overlaps between these chronic conditions. This can be seen, for example, in the relationship between diabetes and depression, or anxiety and heart diseases.

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