You most definitely have heard about the terms mental health and emotional health and have even used these terms interchangeably at some point.
However, these two terms have varying meanings; hence can’t act as each other’s synonyms.
When thinking about general health, most people categorize health into two groups; mental and physical. These categories ignore an essential part of health which is emotional.
It is essential to note the difference between these two illnesses so that you’re able to join the right program or get the proper treatment.
What is Mental and Emotional Health?
Mental health is our emotional, social, and psychological well-being. Our mental health determines how we think, feel and act. Mental health also affects how we handle stress, our relationship with others, and how we make choices.
Emotional health, on the other hand, is a bit different. A person who is healthy emotionally is in control of his/her feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
Good emotional health leads to self-awareness, contentment, and resilience.
Being aware of your emotional health helps you bounce back from whatever life is offering, no matter how negative.
Mental and Emotional Health Examples
There are so many ways we can view our mental and emotional health in our daily lives. These can be positive or negative.
Signs of mental health issues are;
- Eating and sleeping disorders
- Frequently having low energy levels
- Feeling numb, hopeless, helpless, and like nothing matters
- Having severe mood swings that most times affect your relationships
- Inability to perform daily activities like bathing, cooking, cleaning, etc.
- Thinking of harming yourself or others.
Signs of positive mental health include;
- Being able to cope with the stresses of life
- Knowing your full potential and worth
- Working productively
Signs of bad emotional health are;
- Frequent crying and consistent feelings of sadness
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Frequently experiencing feelings of irritability and hostility towards others.
- Restlessness and agitation
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Tiredness and low energy
Signs of good emotional health are;
- Being aware of your emotions and feelings
- Processing and managing your feelings
- Expressing your feelings to others positively
Why is Mental and Emotional Health Important?
Emotional and mental health is vital in our daily lives. Having positive mental health helps us cope with the day-to-day nuances in life that could cause us stress. It also helps us have good relationships and realize our full potential.
Being emotionally healthy is an essential aspect of life because then we can deal with our daily emotional turmoils and persevere them without affecting the existing relationships.
What Is The Difference Between Emotional Health and Mental Health?
The main difference between emotional and mental health is that, during a mental illness, a person loses touch with reality and experiences hallucinations and delusions.
On the other hand, emotional condition consists of chronic disease with the absence of hallucinations and delusions.
Metal health and emotional health are processed in different parts of the brain. Your mental health state determines how well you process experiences and information.
While your emotional health is determined by how well you express your emotions based on experiences.
According to Psychreg, emotional health and mental health are more like a computer system. Mental health is the hardware, and emotional health is the software. A broken hardware cant function well no matter how good the software is.
However, we can use the software well enough after fixing the hardware. If our mental health is taken care of professionally, everything can work out, leading to good emotional health.
A chemical imbalance causes mental health problems in the brain. The abuse of mind-altering drugs can cause this imbalance, or the chemicals could be naturally imbalanced.
Chemical imbalance can be natural when mental health problems run within the family.
Emotional health, on the other hand, consists of matters of the heart. The issues that arise in emotional health are a result of dealing with traumatic life events.
Illnesses such as depression and anxiety fall under the category of emotional health. These are temporary situations easily treatable, and one can recover quickly. But if left untreated, one develops post-traumatic stress disorder or trauma, which is much dire.
Similarities Between Mental and Emotional Health
Even though mental health and emotional health are two different concepts, there’s also a similarity. Without the treatment of mental health, emotional health will be affected.
If you also focus exclusively on emotional health, your mental health will be in chaos. When going through treatment, both aspects have to be treated for recovery to be effective.
Processing and reasoning are two essential parts of your daily life and health. A strong sense of reasoning is critical for making sure that we are in control of our emotions.
Having a balance in both parts of our health makes sure that we are generally healthy physically too.
How To Improve Emotional and Mental Health
Improving both aspects of your health will require effort on your end as they both are necessary for overall well-being.
- Meditate: For at least 5 or 10 minutes a day, give your mind a break, sit down and practice meditation. This practice will be very beneficial for both your mental and emotional health.
- Journal: Journaling will not only help you figure out your emotions and eventually be able to handle them, but you can also practice gratitude journaling. Gratitude helps us maintain perspective and appreciate the little things in life.
- Take care of your body. Sleeping on time, eating healthily, and exercising will help you be healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- Create a healthy support system. Having a support system that you can express your feelings and thoughts to is very necessary to help you deal with them. It can be difficult for people to know how you feel if you won’t express it. Talk to people you trust and stop keeping to yourself and assuming that no one cares.
- Learn from challenging situations. It can be challenging to see the brighter side of things when you’re at your lowest, but always strive to learn from every difficult situation, making your mental and physical health much simpler.
Mental and emotional are such different concepts that still intertwine in so many ways. Keeping both in a healthy state will help you be healthy, even physically. Some mental and emotional problems can be dealt with if you are keen to feel better. If you can’t do it by yourself, a therapist would be a good choice.
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- Ullrich, P. M., & Lutgendorf, S. K. (2002). Journaling about stressful events: Effects of cognitive processing and emotional expression. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 24(3), 244-250.
- Lynch, J., Prihodova, L., Dunne, P. J., Carroll, A., Walsh, C., McMahon, G., & White, B. (2018). Mantra meditation for mental health in the general population: A systematic review. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 23, 101-108.
- Psychreg (29 March 2019). Don’t Say ‘Mental Health’ When What You Mean Is ‘Emotional Health’. https://www.psychreg.org/dont-say-mental-health/