Emotional Health vs. Mental Health: What’s the Difference?
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Mental health and emotional health are not interchangeable terms. Although they are connected, they have very different meanings. Understanding the difference is important information for someone who may be seeking out treatment.
Life comes with challenges and adversity, so it is important to have a mental and emotional balance. If you are not able to control these factors then it can be very difficult to function in everyday life. If you are struggling with your mental or emotional health, reach out to us today!
What is Emotional Health?
Your emotional health is an essential part of your overall health. Individuals who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are happy all the time. It means that they are aware of their emotions and are able to deal with them.
Emotional health is the combination of emotional regulation and emotional intelligence. The ability to maintain your emotional health is critical. When this shifts out of balance you will experience serious mood swings among other symptoms. In order to test your emotional health in everyday life, consider going through this list:
- Be aware of your emotions
- Accept your feelings
- Clarify and manage feelings
- Express those feelings
- Do all of these things in an appropriate way
What is Mental Health?
Mental health determines how we think, feel, and act. It is responsible for the state of our overall well-being. Think of mental health as the hardware and emotional health as the software. Mental health is how your brain functions, while emotional health regulates emotions. Mental health determines the way you process incoming information. In addition, it helps determine how you:
- Cope with stress
- Relate to others
- Make choices
- Make decisions
- Interact with others
- Interpret what’s in front of you
How Are Emotional and Mental Health Different?
Emotional and mental health are functionally different, but they both determine a person’s mental state. An issue in either mental or emotional health can shift the other out of balance. They work together to stabilize a person’s ability to process and interpret information.
Emotional health deals more with expression, while mental health deals more with thinking. If negative thoughts hinder your intellectual ability, you will have problems accurately assessing information. This would then lead to negative emotional responses.
Emotional And Mental Health Regulation
Some people believe that negative emotions are just part of the human experience, and should be suppressed and avoided. In reality, this theory is extremely destructive to our mental state. The publication, Scientific American, explained that “true emotional and mental health requires one to accept, process, and respond to things that are not always pleasant or positive.”
If you do not accept and process your emotions, your mental and emotional health will suffer. Here at Live Free Recovery, we provide services that will promote positive thinking and improve your mental state.
Warning Signs of Mental Health Issues
When you don’t feel like yourself for an extended period of time, you should consider treatment for your mental health. Issues regarding your mental health can lead to problems with work, family, sleep, etc. It is important to be wary of the warning signs so that you can seek professional help as soon as possible.
If left untreated, symptoms of negative mental health can escalate and lead to the following:
- Trouble sleeping or eating
- Chronic worrying
- Loss of interest in people and activities
- Lack of energy
- Feeling numb
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Substance abuse
- Severe mood swings
- Persistent thoughts
- Psychotic symptoms
- Thinking about death, self-harm, or suicide
- Problems performing basic daily tasks
Caring for Your Mental Health
Having good mental health is more than just the absence of a mental illness. It is essential for your overall health and quality of life. Self-care can play a big part in maintaining your mental health or supporting your treatment and recovery if you have a mental illness. Here are some tips to help you get started with your own self-care:
- Get regular exercise to improve your health and boost your mood
- Eat regular healthy meals and stay hydrated to improve energy and focus throughout the day
- Stick to a sleep schedule and make sure you’re getting enough
- Look into relaxation or wellness apps which might include meditation, muscle relaxation, or breathing exercises
- Set goals and organize priorities to decide what needs to be done now and what can wait.
- Practice gratitude by reminding yourself of things you’re grateful for every day by writing them down or going over them in your mind
- Be positive–recognize and challenge your negative and unwanted thoughts
- Stay connected to your friends and family members who can provide emotional support and help
Warning Signs of Emotional Health Issues
Mental and emotional illness doesn’t discriminate by age, race, financial status, size, gender, or shape. It affects people all over the world. Here are some signs you may be struggling with an emotional health problem:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Unusual anger, irritability, or hostility
- Frequent crying
- Isolation from friends and family
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Loss of interest in activities
- Feeling worthless
- Extreme fatigue
- Problems concentrating
- Thinking of death or suicide
- Substance abuse
- Expressing strange or unsettling thoughts
- Extreme mood swings
Caring for Your Emotional Health
When it comes to your emotional health, the important term is “self-awareness.” It’s possible to manage your emotions if you are aware of them. When people are having issues with their emotional health, it can be more obvious than for those who are struggling with their mental health. In order to keep your emotional health in balance
- Look at your life with a sense of balance
- Stay open and express your feelings.
- Maintain good physical health
- Keep your brain active with reading, hobbies, etc.
- Learn from challenging situations and develop resilience
- Have a sense of purpose in your everyday life by giving time to your children, hobbies, work, or yourself
- Get sufficient sleep–sleep affects everything physically, emotionally, and mentally.
- Help other people whenever you can–there’s a link between generosity and happiness in the brain
- Learn time management by giving yourself plenty of time to get done with whatever you need to do and leave time for yourself.
- Connect with other people–the more you share the benefits of bonding, the more you realize that you’re okay.
- Pay attention to your mental health and get help from a professional
- Keep a gratitude journal to help you maintain perspective
- Share your gratitude with other people
- Seek out individual therapy
- Build a healthy support system by talking about your emotions with people you trust while learning from the experiences of others
The Value of Emotional Health
The Mental Health Foundation defines emotional health as “a positive state of well-being, which allows a person to be able to function in society and meet the demands of their everyday life.” Optimum emotional health enables you to
- Have a functioning “inner” world
- Regulate your emotions
- Communicate your emotions
- Experience a general feeling of wellness
- Appreciate intellectual ideas like beauty, love, joy, and art
It’s important to note that emotional health is difficult to control. Just because your mental health is stable, doesn’t mean your emotional health can’t fluctuate.
When to Seek Professional Help
When it comes to mental health, professional help is typically recommended. Don’t wait until you are overwhelmed by these symptoms. Talk about your concerns with your doctor and seek out treatment. If you are experiencing any recurring symptoms listed below, reach out to us today:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Appetite changes that result in unwanted weight changes
- Struggling to get out of bed in the morning
- Loss of interest in things you usually find enjoyable
- Inability to perform usual daily functions and responsibilities
Mental Health and Substance Use
It’s common for people with substance use disorders to also be diagnosed with mental illness and vice versa. Surveys have found that about 50% of individuals with mental illness will also experience an addiction. Due to this, it is necessary to treat co-occurring disorders at the same time, making the recovery process more complicated.
Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders at Live Free Recovery
If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, reach out to Live Free Recovery in New Hampshire. Our staff specializes in the complicated treatment needed to effectively treat co-occurring conditions. Our treatment is centered around a few standard approaches that have proven to be most effective
- Behavioral therapy
- Family therapy
- Individual therapy
If you or someone close to you may be struggling with mental health issues or substance use, contact us today. No matter what you are dealing with, you are not alone. Live Free Recovery is here to provide the care you deserve!