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Understanding the Difference Between Mental, Emotional, and Physical Health

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

Unraveling the Tapestry: The Difference Between Mental, Emotional, and Physical Health


Mental and emotional health sound like they are referring to the same thing, and even though they share similarities and are often intertwined, they refer to different arenas of health.


Physical health is another component to consider. It’s clear to see how physical health differs from both mental and emotional health, but they are all connected and affect one another.


Though it’s challenging to compartmentalize them, it is possible to understand the difference between mental and emotional health and how physical health completes the picture.


In this guide, we’ll:

  • Define mental and emotional health

  • Describe the difference between mental and emotional health

  • Explain how mental and emotional health impact physical health

  • Share positive contributions to mental and emotional well-being; and

  • Help you understand why viewing health holistically is important

Table of Contents


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Defining Mental Health and Emotional Health

Many people believe emotional and mental health are interchangeable, and though they are connected, they have very different meanings.


It’s therefore essential to understand the definitions of mental health and emotional health to evaluate our own health status and know what we can do for optimal health in both spheres.


What Is Mental Health?

Mental health is the combination of our psychological, emotional, and social well-being. It affects how we act, think, and feel.


Mental health plays a key role in how you manage:

  • Relating to others

  • Making decisions

  • Dealing with stress

Factors that may affect your mental health include:

  • Family history

  • Life experiences

  • Biological factors

Those who struggle with mental health issues may experience symptoms like:

  • Mood changes

  • Anxiety

  • Lack of energy

  • Eating issues (over- or under-eating)

  • Trouble sleeping

What Is Emotional Health?

Emotional health refers to how well you can handle the stresses of life or adapt to change.

Emotional intelligence coupled with emotional regulation helps define emotional health, which involves the ability to appropriately:

  • Be aware of your emotions

  • Accept your feelings

  • Process your feelings

  • Manage your feelings; and

  • Express your feelings

If you are feeling out of whack due to mental or emotional health concerns, Good Bitters is here to help you restore a sense of balance in your life. Combining sweet and bitter tastes, our Kalm Drops may be used as a point of focus during a meditation session to help you relax, re-center, and reconnect.


What Is the Difference Between Mental Health and Emotional Health?

Mental and emotional health are very much connected, and it can be difficult to compartmentalize them. However, understanding the difference between mental and emotional health is important to know where corrections need to be made to experience optimal health in both areas.


Mental health deals with processing information, while emotional health refers to how feelings are produced based on that information. They each play a separate role.


Though different, mental and emotional health are closely connected. If you’re not mentally in a good place, it affects your emotions. And the converse is true — emotional health can affect your mental health.


For example, if someone is struggling with depressive thoughts, it may restrict their cognitive abilities. This can lead to difficulty assessing circumstances and personal interactions, which may then lead to inappropriate emotional reactions.


When people can express emotions appropriately, it’s likely because they’ve processed information accurately — both, of which are signs of healthy and positive mental and emotional well-being.


Therefore, if you're suffering from mental health difficulties, you will want to take a close look at your emotional health. And the reverse is also true. If you're struggling with your emotional health, it's a good idea to evaluate your mental health.


How Mental and Emotional Health Can Impact Physical Health

Humans are whole beings with mental and emotional components. Though separate, an unhealthy functioning of one will affect the other. But we are also physical beings, and when we struggle with our minds and emotions, it may negatively affect our physical health.

Some physical impacts you may feel from mental or emotional difficulties may include:

  • Chest pain

  • Eating too little or too much, resulting in weight loss or gain

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue and tiredness

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • High blood pressure

  • Body aches

  • Dizziness

  • Shortness of breath

  • Sexual difficulties

  • Stomach pain and digestive issues

  • And more

Holding on to mental or emotional problems for a long time can show itself as a disease within the body. Emotional stress has been shown to manifest as physical problems such as:

  • Intestinal issues

  • Heart disease; and

  • Autoimmune disorders

Meeting mental and emotional health head-on can help to minimize physical effects. Good Bitters helps you do that without natural herbal candies, teas, and self-care products.


An artistic rendering of a body of water with the outline of a woman's head with clouds inside.

7 Things That May Contribute to Mental and Emotional Well-Being

Bettering your mental and emotional health doesn’t happen instantly, but there are many things you can try doing to improve your mental and emotional health. Consider the following aspects to begin your journey to mental and emotional well-being.


#1: Finding Purpose in Life

Lacking purpose in life is like living in a hamster wheel — constantly moving around in a circle and getting nowhere. This kind of existence leaves no hope beyond the endless cycle and affects our mental health.


Whatever age or stage of life you’re in, strive to find a purpose in your daily living. Whether it’s a commitment to your work, children, family, or community, find what motivates and drives you. Active involvement in whatever your purpose is may help elevate and manage your mental and emotional health. Staying active may augment your physical health as well.


#2: Loving Yourself

Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, President and CEO of Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, defines self-love as:


… a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological, and spiritual growth.


This awareness and care for oneself can encourage positive emotional health by focusing on the quality of relationships from the inside out.


Research by Eric Fields and Gina R. Kuperberg reveals evidence-based benefits of self-love, including:

  • Self-esteem

  • Motivation

  • Determination

  • Improved mental health

  • Increased self-awareness

Loving ourselves can help us be less critical of ourselves and open us up to avenues of motivation, compassion, and connections with others.


#3: Living in Community

Humans are relational beings, and living in a community means we must naturally relate to other people on a regular basis. The kinds of relationships we experience and the quality of those relationships may directly affect our mental and emotional health.


According to research, “having high-quality relationships has shown to be a protective factor for mental health.”


Relationships that show support, like those between partners, friends, or family, are those that may enhance mental and emotional well-being. The opposite may also be true — negative relationships that lack support may contribute to mental and emotional health in an unhelpful way.


Living in a community and fostering positive relationships, rather than living in isolation, allows us the opportunity to connect with others and experience positive benefits like happiness, friendship, and affection.


#4: Changing Your Physical State of Being

We are most comfortable in our natural physical state of being. But when we change that state by doing things that make us feel temporarily uncomfortable, it can help improve our mental and emotional state in the long run.


Cold water immersion is one example.


Cold baths and plunges have been shown to:

Cold water immersion works by putting our bodies in an elevated state of stress, signaling our bodies to release norepinephrine and cortisol. The belief is that purposely putting yourself under this type of stress will cause your body to be able to respond better to everyday stress, thus improving mental health.


#5: Changing Your Physical Body

If you’ve ever lost a significant amount of weight or seen a recognizable change in your muscular structure after consistent workouts, you may have also experienced an improvement in your mental or emotional health. It’s no secret that being physically fit and healthy helps you feel better and feel better about yourself.


Getting in shape or regular workouts may improve one’s emotional outlook by:

  • Boosting self-esteem

  • Increasing endorphins, some of the brain’s feel-good chemicals

  • Improving mood

  • Helping gain self-discipline and self-confidence

#6: Connecting With Your Body

Breathwork can be an excellent way to help you connect with your body by teaching you how to be present, listen, and respond to your body’s needs.


By increasing our concentration abilities and igniting our body’s ability to restore and recharge, managing your breath may also deliver mental and emotional health benefits.


Other benefits of breathwork may include:

  • Balanced emotions and thinking

  • Increased endurance and strength

  • Feeling comfortable and relaxed

#7: Restoring a Sense of Balance

Our lives are in a constant state of movement. Our days and our existence are rarely static, and we consistently move through states of ease and discomfort. That’s life, and it’s normal.


It’s also normal for us to desire the comfortable over the difficult, the good over the bad, and the peaks over the valleys. And because of that tendency, our lives can become unbalanced.

That’s why Good Bitters has created products whose bitter taste may help relax the mind, relieve pain and tension, and balance cravings.


It’s no secret that many in the U.S. have a preoccupation with instant gratification and all things sweet. To outgrow that strong attachment, we believe an appreciation of bitterness can help.


But it requires patience and awareness. Kalm Drops were created to allow bitter and sweet tastes to coexist to help you restore balance to your life and taste buds.


A woman standing facing away from the camera in a forest wearing a red sweater with her arms open and head raised.

The Importance of Taking a Holistic View of Mental and Emotional Health

We are whole beings, and so our approach to mental and emotional health should be a holistic one that also takes into account the physical aspects.


For complete wellness, we should consider all three — mental, emotional, and physical.


It’s impossible to compartmentalize the parts of ourselves because they all work together to make us whole beings. So when we struggle in any area, we need to examine and treat each part.


Kalm Drops From Good Bitters: Helping Restore a Sense of Balance to Your Taste Buds and Your Life

If mental and emotional health is a priority, try Kalm Drops from Good Bitters as a way to bring sweet and bitter together for relaxation and reconnection with yourself.


Kalm Drops are:

  • Made from organic ingredients

  • Gluten-free

  • Dairy-free

  • Preservative-free; and

  • Available in a sugar-free variety

Try Kalm Drops as a point of focus during meditation or after a meal to help you relax. The sweet and bitter flavors can help you feel present without overwhelming your senses.

The bitter/sweet balance found in Kalm Drops and Kool Balm can help relax the body and mind and help you regain balance and connection. Get yours today to add your mediation practice.


The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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