In taking care of our physical health we have different approaches to what our bodies can ingest, what our capabilities and abilities are, what our bodies are allergic to, and what sensitivities we may have. In addition, based on our individual physical health, our bodies may have different strengths and abilities. 

In the same way, our mental health is impacted by our individual vulnerabilities, sensitivities, experiences, beliefs and fears, which in turn affects our mental and emotional well-being. 

To attend to our physical health we might adopt a food regimen, develop a workout routine,  hire a personal trainer, or make time to rest. We can take care of our mental and emotional health by talking about our struggles, connecting with others, going to therapy, and/or taking medication. 

Regardless of our health goals consistency is key to achieve the results we want, whether it is healing from a physical or psychological injury, learning a new skill, or unlearning what does not work for us anymore. When we experience an emotional or psychological injury, just as with a physical injury, it takes time to heal. 

What tends to reinforce society’s stigma around mental health is that, unlike many physical injuries, emotional or psychological injuries are invisible to the eye. This can make it difficult to understand mental health, and because emotional issues are often very personal, we may judge ourselves or others for having them. As a result, they stay hidden, invisible and sometimes buried, which only compounds the injury.  

The chart below is a brief comparison between physical, mental and emotional health. 

  Physical Health   Mental and Emotional Health  
Anatomy Taking care of our bodies Taking care of our minds and hearts
Illness can include Diseases, flu, diabetes, etc Depression, anxiety, etc
Negative Experiences    Injuries, physical pain, broken bones  Trauma, emotional pain, abuse 
Rejections can include Sensitivities, allergies Disconnection with ourselves or others
Health Feeling able, pain-free, strong Feeling safe, connected and regulated
Treatment  Healing injuries, easing pain, seeking a medical professional  Healing from trauma and negative experiences and psychological injuries, seeking a psychologist

In the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Month, take care of your mind and heart!