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In recent years, there has been an explosion of health awareness. Especially mental and emotional health. Where health used to be a strict term meaning physical, the definition has expanded. Now, there are all kinds of niches within the broad category. People specialize in mental, emotional, social, spiritual, and many more kinds of health. Since there is such an increased awareness to the presence of all of the different manners of health, the media uses terms like “emotional health” regularly. But what really are mental and emotional health? Why does mental health matter? How do the two work together, and what makes them unique terms with their own set of progress indicators? In this article, we will break down the basics of mental and emotional health.

What is mental health?

In order to address the question, we must establish a solid understanding of what mental health really is, and how it impacts us. Mental health is defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as “our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.” Basically, mental health is an umbrella term, encompassing a slew of critical invisible health criteria. There can be stigma surrounding the discussion and treatment of mental health, because people view it as a weakness. In reality, mental health is just like physical health. Some elements are predisposed in your genetic makeup, some are results of your lifestyle, and some happen as a consequence of a major accident or intervention. There is really no basis for the stigma around mental health.

 Poor health is classified when the issue, visible or not, impedes your everyday life. This is just as true of mental health as physical health, because mental health is just as strongly linked to overall health. A person suffering from depression is at a much higher risk for physical health problems, as well as a significant disadvantage for completing every day tasks, and maintaining a general sense of well-being. There are many ways to maintain strong mental health, including mindfulness exercises, intuitive behavior, and incorporating activity into your life.

What is emotional health?

Emotional health is a subset of mental health. It involves the ability to regulate and handle emotions. That may sound simple, but emotions are complex and difficult to control. Having a strong foundation of emotional health is crucial for establishing a comfortable life. Emotional health determines how you react to situations. If something bad happens, having the ability to tamper your disappointment and create enthusiasm elsewhere. This skill makes life much more manageable. Emotional health is also closely connected to interpersonal relationships. Having the awareness to properly prioritize friendships and invest in something bigger than yourself is a trait that runs in people who work on their emotional health.

So what distinguishes emotional health from mental health?

There are a few tangible differences in how mental and emotional health impact your daily life, how we can strengthen them, and how deficits are treated, unique to each one. The first major difference is the juxtaposition of information vs emotion. Mental health involves the way that your brain captures information. If you can not make use of information or capture it correctly, that qualifies as a problem with your mental health. Emotional health is all about emotions. Keeping yourself in check and managing emotions matures like information capacities do, but it encompasses a different skill set in the brain.

Another difference is the scope of content. Since mental health covers so much ground, it can be harder to keep up with. Some companies use mental health accommodations to provide the best resources to their employees and preserve their mental health. Some people schedule mental health days into their work schedule to stay happier and healthier. There are endless benefits to keeping employees healthy, so employers want to protect these times and give allowances for employees who self-advocate. Emotional health is harder to convey because it is so specific. It purely involves a person’s personal relationship with their own emotions. While that does relate to a person’s ability to manage relationships, emotional health tends to be much more individual.

How can I practice emotional and mental wellness together?

Spending time intentionally prioritizing your well being is always a good idea. The best way to make yourself more effective, more insightful, and more able is by strengthening yourself. Mental health is critical to that relationship, and emotional health plays a big part in making sure you can keep your mental health at a strong point.