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Mental health and physical health are interlinked

When we're talking about our health we can easily overlook our mental health and just focus on the physical – but physical symptoms can sometimes be a result of how we're feeling mentally.

Sometimes, when you don't feel quite right in yourself it can be easier to assume it must be something physical. But, actually, there are plenty of symptoms that might surprise you as signs that there could be something else going on.

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Feeling sick or dizzy
  • Losing your appetite
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Talking slower than usual
  • Feeling like your heart is racing
  • Heavy limbs
  • Feeling weak
  • Having a lump in your throat

A lot of these can be mental health symptoms that are more common in older adults and are often overlooked. These shouldn't be ignored or downplayed – they're crucial to your health and wellbeing.

Physical health conditions can have an impact on your mental health, too. Living with a physical health condition for some time, your health getting worse or receiving a diagnosis can also affect your mental health and make you feel anxious, stressed and out of sorts.

What should I do if I'm worried about my health?

If you're worried your mental health is having an effect on your physical health or vice versa you should talk to your GP about how you’re feeling. 

It may feel daunting but your GP will be used to having these conversations. They're there to help, and they won't judge you.

How can I help improve both my physical and mental health?

There are some things you can do that can help you feel better – both physically and mentally. 


Sleep patterns change as we get older and a lack of sleep can directly affect the way we feel. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, try cutting back on daytime naps and reduce the amount of caffeine you drink. Try to make time to relax and unwind each evening, perhaps by reading a book or listening to the radio.

Find out more about getting a good night's sleep

Eat well and drink sensibly

What we eat and drink affects how we feel. Try not to fill up on the wrong things, but also don’t ignore any signs you may not be eating enough, such as losing weight unexpectedly.

Find out more about healthy eating


As well as keeping you healthy, exercise is a great way to improve your mood as it increases the production of endorphins – brain chemicals that make you feel happy. It can also be a good way to clear your mind and relax. It’s never too late to get active – and getting outside for just a few minutes every day can improve your mood. 

See our tips on being active

Review your medications

Taking medication becomes more common as we get older. But sometimes it can make you feel out of sorts, especially if you're taking several different ones. If you’re worried this might be the case, ask your doctor for a review of your medications.

See our information on medications

Phone icon We're here to help

We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local Age UKs.

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Last updated: Apr 08 2024

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