Emotional health (sometimes called mental health) refers to your overall psychological well-being including the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships, and your ability to manage difficult situations that arise in life.

Good emotional health can lead to success in careers, relationships and good overall physical health. In the past, researchers believed that success made people happy. However, recent research has contradicted those findings revealing that it is the other way around. Happy people are more likely to work toward goals, find the resources they need to achieve those goals and attract others with their energy and optimism.

People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their emotions and their behavior. They can handle life’s unavoidable challenges, build strong personal and professional relationships, and lead productive lives. In addition, when bad things happen, they’re able to bounce back more quickly and move forward.

Having good mental health is not the same as having the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more complicated than just being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Rather, good mental and emotional health refers to the presence of positive characteristics within the individual and how they approach life.

Unfortunately, too many people take their emotional health for granted only focusing on it only when they develop problems. But just as it requires effort to build or maintain physical health, mental and emotional health also requires effort. The more time and energy you invest in your emotional health, the stronger it will be. The good news is that there are many things you can do to boost your mood, build resilience, and get more overall enjoyment out of life.

One example is through fitness. Taking care of your body is a powerful first step towards good emotional health. The mind and the body are linked and when you improve your physical health, you will automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being. The activities you engage in and the daily choices you make affect the way you feel physically and emotionally. To have good mental and emotional health, it is important to take care of your body. Some important things to incorporate into your life include getting enough rest, learning about what you eat and how it affects your energy and mood, and understanding the ongoing benefits of exercise.

Whatever internal or external factors have shaped your mental and emotional health, it is never too late to make changes that will improve your psychological well-being. Risk factors can be counteracted with protective factors, like strong relationships, a healthy lifestyle, and developing coping strategies for managing stress and negative emotions.