While Mental Health has the Limelight, We Should be Focussing on Emotional Health
Mental Health is finally starting to get the attention it deserves, yet we’re seeing increasing numbers of people requiring initial or additional support. Here we look at why emotional health might be the key to stemming the growing number of people struggling with mental health.
Mental health is a complicated subject: it is not just having a serious mental illness or overreacting to things we are told we have control over – rather, mental health is a spectrum that can dictate how we think, feel and behave – and for the most part, without proper interventions or prevention strategies, we cannot control the outcome of our mental health in a beneficial way.
Many people are working hard to destigmatize mental health by recognising the active contribution of our genes, our environment and our sense of self to our mental health. But for many, it is still associated with mental illnesses, like severe depression and anxiety, which still carry a level of stigma.
But mental health is so much more than that!
It can be affected by – and can affect – so many different factors including, but not limited to:
- Negative childhood experiences
- Negative external influences
- Hormones and diets
- Relationships: romantic, familial, personal and professional
- Finances and working environment
- Physical health
- Social media
There are many services, tools and apps available than ever before to address poor mental health. Unfortunately, many of these still focus on putting a plaster on mental health: Therapy, Counselling, Meditation, CBT Journals, Sleep Training, etc. and by the time people get to the support services, they’ve already experienced mental health issues for a period of time. These have often already impacted relationships, work, finances, as well as the individual’s emotional wellbeing.
Instead of addressing mental health when it becomes an issue, perhaps we need to shift the focus to helping people navigate the most common challenges in life so that they reduce their vulnerability to serious mental health issues.
In the same way that we teach exercise and physical education in schools to help young people find a connection with movement, we should consider how to connect people to exercises for their mental health, or emotional wellbeing.
This is where Emotional Health differs from Mental Health.
What is Emotional Health?
Emotional Health is the ability to take life’s challenges and act on them in a mentally and emotionally beneficial way.
Consider the scenario below:
You’ve applied for your dream job, the person interviewing you is younger than you and starts to give you a hard time, asking too many questions.
Do you think:
1. “Wow, they’re clever, I’m really excited to work with this person”
2. “What an idiot, no chance I’d work with this person”
3. “Why are they being so rude, they must really not like me”
All three thoughts are valid, and maybe the person is being a bit rude, but how you react can impact you as an individual.
Emotional Health teaches us to evaluate a situation in a beneficial way: Were these questions a personal attack or was the interviewer having a rough day? Did I walk in unprepared? Besides their delivery, was what they said relevant and interesting? Is it possible that they are really interested in what I have to say? In short, what can I take away from this experience?
Emotional Health isn’t about excusing or accepting other people’s negative behaviors; Emotional health is the ability to manage any situation positively, walking away knowing that you did your best and being satisfied with your best.
Mental Health is impacted by many different components, but if you can better handle the daily challenges that life throws at you, your susceptibility to serious mental health issues is vastly reduced.
Emotional Health on Our Mental Health
Emotional health is the most important component of mental health: How we process, internalise and react to daily situations.
Anxiety and depression are the two most common mental health issues, which are often caused by a number of external circumstances contibuting to an individual’s negative mental health. These circumstances can include a breakup of a relationship, a situation at work, financial pressures, health concerns, etc.
Do you ever have one of those days where you feel like none of the goals you’ve set out for yourself have worked out in your favour?
Do you ever feel like you’re constantly overwhelmed – surviving from one day to the next?
If a pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that life is full of unexpected challenges. So, setting out objectives for ourselves can give us something to look forward to – a sense of purpose or direction. But oftentimes, what we want – a new job, a relationship, a six-figure income, or even a private jet – is not necessarily what we need in the long run – although a private jet does sound pretty great right about now. Goals we aspire to accomplish may vary over time – but reminding ourselves that we are not defined by whether or not we achieve them – that’s the tricky bit.
Where do we go from here?
When we define our value or potential through a narrow idea of success, unfulfilled expectations may lead to low emotional health, or high levels of anxiety and depression, and low levels of resilience, personal growth and interpersonal relationships. So, if we can improve the way that we approach life’s circumstances, we may reduce our susceptibility to a mental health illness:
- Someone with low emotional health will focus more negatively on any and every situation, further deepening the vulnerability of mental illness of the individual
- Someone with high emotional health will navigate the circumstances more positively, having assessed and understood the various possibilities and making a decision to choose a constructive path
With this, people with high emotional health demonstrate higher resilience, an improved ability to create and maintain meaningful relationships and friendships, and are more open to self-learning, personal growth and constructively approaching challenging situations.
By improving Emotional Health, we can help people to flourish at work and at home.
By no means is emotional health the answer to all mental health issues, but it is safe to say that improving emotional health has a positive role in improving the mental health of many.
Why Should Organisations Improve Emotional Health?
With 1 in 4 people struggling with a mental health issue every year, several organisations are investing heavily in Mental Health Provisions.
But what about everybody else? Are they processing their emotions in a beneficial way? Are they living in their comfort zone? Or are they keeping up with potentially unhealthy coping mechanisms in hopes that they will never be affected by the roller coasters of life?
Organisations cannot focus solely on how emotional health impacts mental health; they can, however, consider that people who exhibit continuous resilience, personal growth and interpersonal skills will be more positive and effective under pressure. Offering employees the skills to improve their emotional health is a win-win for everyone: the organisation who has invested in their people, and the people who contribute all their efforts towards the success of the organisation.
How Can You Improve Emotional Health with eQuoo?
Much like mental health, our emotional health can manifest itself through how we think and react to all kinds of situations. Sometimes it can occur in the most subtle ways.
Let’s take a look at how high emotional health can vary from low emotional health:
You’ve just stopped at a red light; somebody tailgates you and starts honking – super aggressively, too!
- High emotional health can look like remaining calm and collected – not just with your reaction but with how you process your thoughts and feelings in this uncomfortable situation. It can involve understanding that this person might be in a rush to get somewhere. Could they be taking someone to the hospital? Could they be late for an interview?
- Low emotional health can look like getting out of the car and getting ready to punch out an eye or two because you just can’t possibly understand why someone would honk knowing that the traffic light is red.
eQuoo didn’t create the term “Emotional Health”, we just understand its power and have witnessed first-hand the impact of having low emotional health.
By using the wonders of technology, eQuoo aims to help millions of people every day. We’ve conducted extensive research, and eQuoo has assembled the 52 key skills that people need to master in order to improve their emotional health. The key to improving emotional health is learning a skill and then practicing it, ideally in a low-risk (low-cost) environment. Organisations can now also roll out emotional health tools in a matter of days, with clinical impacts in just a matter of weeks.
For example, we are clinically proven to reduce anxiety and we’re currently under Clinical Review by UCL to prove our impact on depression. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
So, in case you’ve just read all of this and you’re still wondering why emotional health? Well, we’re looking to empower people to take control of their lives – and not vice versa – by guiding them through a set of skills to positively manage life’s unexpected challenges.
We want to help people to have access to all the right tools to flourish today – and every day.