When we strive to live a healthy life, we think mostly of losing weight, being more active, or eating healthy. While these things will contribute to our overall well-being, they might not deal with some of the issues we prefer to neglect- emotional and mental health.
You might find yourself wondering why these two aspects of being human are so important if no one can really see them. But that is exactly the point.
Because we keep our feelings and emotions hidden from other people, they can become toxic over time, eventually leading to mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or panic attacks.
what is the difference between mental and emotional health?
Mental Health is described as behaviors and functions dealing with the mind and the brain. It’s how we process and store information. It’s our cognitive thinking patterns and paying attention.
These processes are fueled by numerous hormones and neurotransmitters that can sometimes go awry. This usually happens when there is an imbalance in these chemicals either because of genetics and family history or because of the misuse of mind-altering substances like pharmaceutical drugs. It’s estimated that at least one in five people in the US suffers from some kind of mental illness.
This includes conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Mental health conditions can also be triggered and worsened by chronic stress, which can have an impact on other health conditions like high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic inflammatory conditions.
When we don’t learn how to deal with stress appropriately, we can become trapped in a never-ending loop of physical and mental health issues.
Emotional health is the lesser discussed third aspect of our overall well-being but actually plays a more significant role in our health than we think.
Our emotional health is intertwined with our mental health and our ability to handle stress. If mental health is how our brain thinks and functions, emotional health is how we express these feelings and emotions.
People who are in a healthy emotional state know how to appropriately express their thoughts and feelings in certain situations and can deal better with the positive and negative emotions that they experience.
Being emotionally well doesn’t necessarily mean you are always happy.
It just means that you can cope better with the challenges life throws at you and, most importantly, how well you’re conditioned to handle stress.
Mental and emotional health both need to be managed so that synergistically they can work together to help us relieve feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, anger, disappointment and more.
Think of it like the one feeding the other, and the stronger the one is, the better for the other and vice versa.
If you feel you may have a mental illness, please see a professional for advice
You can work on improving your emotional health by trying some of the following tips:
- Daily meditations and mindfulness practice
- Practice positive thinking and positive affirmations
- Think before you act
- Look after your physical health by exercising and sleeping enough as it can help reduce stress
- Create a balance between work and leisure activities
- Connect with others, try talking about how you feel and your daily struggles
- Be aware of your emotions and feelings, what triggers them, and if they are exaggerated
- Mental and emotional health are not the same, but they work together to keep you balanced, happy, and stress-free.
- Check in with yourself often to call your emotions forward to feel them and let them go
Next time you hit the gym to improve your physical health, remember that these two important aspects of your wellbeing should not be neglected.