Mental health and emotional health are often used interchangeably in general lang. I have also often used mental wellness and emotional wellness as synonyms but recently I came to know about a small, technical difference between the two terms.

Mental Health vs Emotional Health

Mental health has various aspects including the social, emotional, physical and physiological. These include how you process information, how you interact with fellow people etc. Emotional health on the other hand deals exclusively in how you label and express your emotions to other people. Emotional health is synonymous to emotional intelligence. Let us try and explain this concept better with an example.


The Stressor

Suppose you scored poorly in an important exam and were scolded by your teachers in front of your classmates. This situation of a low academic score and public humiliation is the stressor in our story.

What is Mental Health?

Now your mental health will determine how you think about this stressor. Whether you think that you are a failure in life or see it as a chance to improve will indicate your mental health. So mental health has a role in how we perceive life events and how much importance we give to them. It is the difference between thinking that a low score means you are stupid or that a low score shows where you can improve further.

What is Emotional Health?

Every stressor leads to an emotional reaction. Emotional health is about how accurately we label our emotions, how well we can express them. It also includes what strategies we can device to prevent this situation again. In our example, it can be understood as knowing that we feel disappointed and humiliated and being comfortable enough to express it to someone, maybe a good friend or a family member.


Neither mental health nor emotional health means that you will never be sad or disappointed. It means that you will be able to think about the events in your life in a balanced and calm manner. It also means that you will be able to label your feelings and express them to another person to feel better. Emotional health can be thought of as a component of mental health but they are not exactly the same thing.


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