What is emotional health?

Emotional health is a set of malleable skills and beliefs which impact on our thoughts, feelings and behaviour in relation to our social and emotional functioning.

There are seven components (or “assets”) of Emotional Health:

Emotional Health assets, each written in a hexagon creating an overall flower shape.

Key features of Emotional Health

Our emotional health isn’t fixed but continuously changes and develops throughout our life

Emotional health can be improved through targeted support towards one or more of the assets. Alternatively, the assets can be developed organically by being immersed in an emotionally healthy environment and through emotionally healthy relationships.

Emotional health is founded on an asset-based model

The focus is on growing and developing each of the assets, nurturing skills and positive habits of mind, rather than identifying deficits and what is “wrong” or absent.

Emotional health is about resilience not happiness

Emotional health isn’t about being “happy” or free from negative emotions all of the time, this is our emotional wellbeing. Instead, it is about developing the protective emotional health assets which are important both for day-to-day life and for dealing with challenges when they do occur. This will support individuals to pursue positive courses of action, sustain a stable sense of self and maintain healthy relationships, all of which are important for good mental health and wellbeing.

Our emotional health is based on the interaction of the assets

While each of the seven assets is important in their own right, it is their collective whole and the interplay between them that forms our emotional health. Each individual asset supports and influences each of the others, for example, being aware of our own thoughts and feelings, will increase our ability to be empathic towards others, which will in improve our relationship skills.

An individual’s emotional health is shaped by their psychosocial environment

The different environments that we are immersed in within our daily lives (such as our families, schools, workplaces etc.) can either support and enable, or undermine and disable, the emotional health assets of individuals. An emotionally healthy environment will support the emotional health of individuals within them. An emotionally healthy individual will have a reciprocally positive impact on their social environment.

Emotional health is an approach for everyone

Strategies and approaches that support positive emotional health are universally beneficial and relevant for everyone, at any time of their life. Having a “good” emotional health supports a range of positive outcomes, including improved relationships, increases in wellbeing, reduced mental health problems, improved life prospects, etc.

Emotional health is a preventative approach

Emotional health is about equipping individuals with the protective “assets” and skills to support both their own mental health and wellbeing, and support the mental health and wellbeing of others. Being in an emotionally healthy environment will also be supportive for individuals who do have poor wellbeing and/or mental health.