The main difference between mental and emotional health is that mental health involves processing information, storing it in memory and understanding this information while emotional health involves the ability to control and express emotions.
Our overall health includes physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects. Each of these influence the other, and human beings thrive when these are in balance. Mental and emotional health are two aspects that directly affect our physical health. Most people often use these two terms interchangeably, assuming them to be synonyms, but they are not.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Mental Health
– Definition, Nature, Characteristics
2. What is Emotional Health
– Definition, Nature, Characteristics
3. What is the Difference Between Mental and Emotional Health
– Comparison of Key Differences
Emotional Health, Mental Health, Mental Illness
What is Mental Health
Mental health includes human beings’ emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It is basically about how we think, feel and act. In fact, it involves our cognitive processes -processing information, storing it in memory and understanding this information. It also helps to decide how we relate to others, handle stress, and make choices. The World Health Organization defines mental health as:
“Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
In fact, mental health is important at all ages – from childhood to adulthood. Most of us face mental health problems at least once in our life. These will affect our mood, thinking and behaviour. Furthermore, biological factors like genetics and life experiences like trauma or abuse are the main contributing factors for mental health problems. Depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are some mental illnesses people experience. In addition, some common signs and symptoms of these illnesses are mood swings, alcohol or drug abuse, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, no energy, too little sleep/too much sleep, and inability to perform routine tasks.
What is Emotional Health
Emotional health is your awareness of your emotions and the ability to accept, manage and express them, in an appropriate way. Emotional health includes both emotional intelligence and emotional regulation. It does not equate lack of emotions, just like mental health does not equate lack of mental illnesses. For example, a person who suppresses his emotions is not as healthy as someone who expresses their emotions. Moreover, suppressing emotions that make you uncomfortable won’t help you to be emotionally healthy. In fact, emotional health and happiness come from listening to your emotions and responding to them, which enables you to be resilient and gives you the strength to deal with everything in your life.
You can take many steps to improve your emotional health. The first step is to be aware of your emotions and correctly identify them and their cause – whether you’re feeling sad, depressed, guilty, etc. Another way to improve your emotional health is to focus on your identifying and developing your strengths, instead of dwelling on your weaknesses.
Moreover, a person with good emotional health will:
- Deal with challenges and problems without being overwhelmed or frustrated
- Express feelings in a healthy way
- Avoid dwelling on negative thoughts
Difference Between Mental and Emotional Health
Mental health involves processing information, storing it in memory and understanding this information while emotional health involves the ability to control and express emotions.
Mental health involves cognitive processes, while emotional health involves emotions and feelings.
Furthermore, mental health involves a wider scope than emotional health, as mental health involves emotional, psychological, and social well-being.
In brief, mental and emotional health are two aspects that directly affect our physical health. The main difference between mental and emotional health is that mental health involves processing information, storing it in memory and understanding this information while emotional health involves the ability to control and express emotions.
1. Florence, Jenny. “What Exactly Is Emotional Health?” HuffPost, HuffPost, 7 Dec. 2017, Available here.
2. “What Is Mental Health?” MentalHealth.gov, Available here.
1. “Mental Disorder Silhouette” By Paget Michael Creelman – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Plutchik-wheel” By Machine Elf 1735 – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
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