Mental Health Tips for Men

Monday, June 20, 2016

In recent literature mental health for men is being referred to as a ‘silent crisis’; an issue that has been under the wraps for decades, and not too long ago surfaced around the world. The core of the problem stems from existing or emerging stressors for men, originating from societal pressures, changes in overall work dynamics, and from family or personal life matters. Although the ideas around mental wellbeing for men are nothing new, genderspecific health awareness and research has focused predominantly on women. There are many causal factors relating to this, some of which include the perceptions and stereotypes around masculinity. This can result in mental issues being masked, and often going undiagnosed. It is important to recognize these barriers, alongside generating a greater understanding of mental illness in men. Having this awareness may assist many individuals in feeling supported; thus increasing their willingness to seek advice regarding what they may be experiencing. Luckily these notions and preconceived ideas are changing, as our world becomes one of a progressive nature, which sheds a positive light on the state of mental health for men. Enjoying mental health takes many aspects into account; having a sense of wellbeing, being able to function during everyday life and feeling confident to meet challenges and stressors that present themselves. Parallel to increasing mindfulness regarding men’s mental health, there are also practices to take on in everyday life. These are applicable to everyone and can aid in boosting your mental health and overall wellbeing. Some of these actions include:  Connecting with others Develop and maintain relationships with those that support and enrich your life.  Time management Plan your time well, set aside enough time for activities you enjoy. Occasionally be spontaneous, do something creative or perhaps try something you’ve never done before. Be sure to get plenty of sleep – this is a vital step in restoring your body and mind.  Give back Volunteer or add to the community around you in a valuable and rewarding way. Choose a cause you care about and practise random acts of kindness.  Take care of yourself Exercise, eat well and maintain a healthy physical body – this will go hand in hand with your mental health.  Challenge yourself Learn a new skill or set yourself a new goal. This could improve your mental fitness, alongside building skills and confidence.  Don’t ignore stress Be aware of what causes stress in your life, and how you respond to these aspects. This is often the first step in dealing with stress effectively. Managing stress is a major factor in living a balanced lifestyle, and there are many coping mechanisms such as yoga or meditation that can assist you with this.  Mindfulness Notice the here and now, ‘be’ in the moment and pay attention to your senses. *See my previous article for tips on mindfulness Understanding that it’s okay to ask for help is also something that many people struggle with. Those around you are more willing to help than you may think; however, there are various options to consider alongside friends and family. Psychology practises, forums or other information platforms can provide further assistance. Caring for your mind is just as important and crucial as caring for your body. They are interdependent, and one cannot be healthy without the other. Anje Delport Psychology Student The University of Melbourne

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