What Is the Difference Between Mental Wellness and Mental Health?

Medically Reviewed on 12/8/2021

When your mental health is in a good state this is called mental wellness. It means that your mind is functioning as it should be and that you can function in positive ways in your life.
When your mental health is in a good state this is called mental wellness. It means that your mind is functioning as it should be and that you can function in positive ways in your life.

Mental health is given more and more importance in the modern world. Talking about these things can only help people share their experiences and get help. However, the shame of mental health stigma can be a heavy weight to carry.

What is mental wellness?

When your mental health is in a good state this is called "mental wellness." It means that your mind is functioning as it should be and that you can function in positive ways in your life. If you are mentally well, you might:

  • Have a greater awareness of your abilities and positive qualities
  • Better handle the stressful or uncertain circumstances
  • Be more productive
  • Have a more active role in any community you are a part of

Mental wellness is the result of you investing in your mental health. It takes work to get to and sustain. Some of the ways you can get to mental wellness are:

  • Get to know yourself
  • Understand what you can change and what you cannot change
  • Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are and build from there
  • Develop awareness of your feelings and needs
  • Set mental health goals that are achievable and have established time parameters
  • Cultivate a healthy and balanced life
  • Avoid things like alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit drugs
  • Make time for the relationships in your life
  • Volunteer in your community
  • Give yourself a budget and avoid overspending

Mental wellness is often misunderstood as the absence of mental illness. However, it is much more than that. It is a state in its own right, in which you put energy into your mental wellbeing.

What is mental health?

While physical health relates to the state of your body, mental health is the state of your mind’s wellbeing. Your mental health is always in a state of flux. Some days may be better than others. There is a relationship between physical and mental health.

Life experiences, your environment, relationships, and the communities you live in can also impact your mental health. People commonly experience a troubled state of mind or have issues with mental health. However, there is always help available. Reach out if you have trouble. Living with mental health issues or mental illness can be incredibly difficult and challenging.

Some signs you may need support are:

  • Irregular eating or sleeping
  • Isolation from people or things you used to love
  • Constant fatigue
  • Feeling shut down or numb
  • Unexplained pains and aches
  • Loss of hope
  • Drinking, smoking, or using illicit drugs in large quantities
  • Frequent feelings of confusion, forgetfulness, anxiety, anger, worry, or fear
  • Fighting with loved ones
  • Mood swings that disturb your relationships
  • Circular thoughts that you cannot avoid
  • Hearing voices or belief in imaginary things
  • Thoughts of self-harm or of harming other people
  • Difficulty taking care of mundane tasks

How do I take care of my mental health?

There are many ways to take care of your mental health. However, the most effective strategies will always be tailored to the individual. Some options for how you take care of your mental health are:

  • Talk to your doctor. Speak with a physician you trust. They can listen and recommend various types of meditation, counseling, mindfulness, exercise, or diet changes. They can help you figure out if your mental health issues might be related to a medication or an illness. If you don’t feel listened to or supported, you may need to change doctors.
  • Mindfulness and meditation. Both of these techniques can help us understand what stories or thoughts might be at the root of our mental health troubles. They can make a big difference in your life and how you experience emotion.
  • Find someone to talk to. The right therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist can be essential in healing your mental health. These trained professionals can introduce strategies that you might not have access to otherwise.
  • Cultivate relationships. When you experience difficulties with your mental health, it is not uncommon to isolate yourself. You must resist this urge. Connection with others is an essential support in times of difficulty.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/8/2021
References
Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions: "Difference Between Mental Health and Mental Illness."

Singapore Association for Mental Health: "What is Mental Wellness."

MaineHealth: "Taking Care of Your Mental Health."

MentalHealth.gov: "What Is Mental Health?"