Throughout my life, I always thought emotional health and mental health were the same thing, but they are two completely different concepts. They are often used interchangeably in the media, and no one really bothers to learn the difference. I want to discuss some of the differences in today’s post.
The Webster definition of Mental Health is: A person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.
There is no definition for Emotional Health in the Webster dictionary.
So that settles it then, they’re the same thing, right? Well, it’s complicated. Emotional health is a PART of mental health, but it is also a separate concept. To dig deeper, we need to look at the root of the words mental and emotional.
The word Mental comes from the Latin word “Mentalis” which translates to “mind”.
Mental health typically refers to the cognitive processes. (Attention, Memory, Alertness, Critical Thinking, And Reasoning) . Someone with a healthy mind will relate well to others, function efficiently, and make good choices. Someone with a poor mental health is going to have a hard time with day to day activities, have irrational thought patterns and behavioral patterns, often feel alone or empty, have thoughts of harming themselves or others, and live in a constant fog, in addition to other dysfunctional behaviors.
The word Emotion comes from the Latin word “ Emovere” which directly translates “To stir up” or “ To agitate”.
Emotional health refers to our feelings, how we manage them, and how capable we are of rational thinking and regulating our emotions. Someone with a healthy emotional health is capable of thinking clearly, regulating their emotions, controlling responses to stimuli, And generally feel stable in their reactions and thinking. Someone with a poor emotional health is can react on their emotions without thinking first, they can feel chronically pessimistic, and generally have a negative view on their life.
Mental health typically refers to illnesses, such as bi-polar, clinical depression, anxiety, and more. Emotional Health typically refers to less pathological concerns, such as stress and worry.