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Men and Mental Health

by Out and About STYLE Mag

You might have heard that taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health, especially now that more and more people are suffering from anxiety and depression.

While a fit, healthy body allows you to perform daily physical activities with ease, a well-managed mental state is what motivates you to plan and accomplish things and organise your thoughts and emotions to get by the everyday grind and stress.

Mental health aggregately refers to the overall psychological, emotional and social well-being of a person, affecting three important facets of behaviour. These aspects include:

Decision-making.

The mental state of a person usually reflects on the manner of planning and decision-making. A healthy mind is more likely to be decisive, while being open to rational possibilities, and coupled with reasonable inhibitions in making decisions in any circumstances.

Handling stress.

A person with a good state of mind knows his or her everyday stressors and can manage or control them properly. He or she possesses a degree of calmness and resilience to face the vicissitudes of life.

Social involvement.

No man is an island, as the cliché goes. A person with excellent mental health quickly adapts and relates to the people around him or her. They are more active and productive member of society because they can easily make friends and value unity.

Why are men not talking about mental health?

Men express their mental health issues differently than women. Women are generally more likely to openly discuss sensitive issues involving depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, while most men choose not to. Men tend to think of “fixing their issues” on their own rather than ask for help or advice.

Mental health illnesses affect both sexes, but men are less likely to receive treatment because of these reasons:

  • They fear that expressing their thoughts and feelings are burdensome or taxing to others.
  • They believe that having mental issues is a sign of weakness or perceived to be less masculine.
  • They express a lack of close confidants whom they can entrust their thoughts and feelings with.
  • They might feel embarrassment or shame in openly discussing their deep, personal issues.
  • They tend to believe that some people might humiliate them if they express their thoughts and feelings openly.
  • They believe that they can fully resolve their internal conflicts without outside help.
  • They fear that they will be subjected to gossip because of the negative stigma attached to having a mental health disorder.

Because of a more connected world brought about by social media, most men are discouraged from seeking help to avoid being judged. As many of them tend to be silent about their mental health issues, they are also more likely to make uninformed and emotionally-driven decisions. The first step, as we may all agree on, is recognising the problem.

Why should you ask for help? Here are some benefits to achieve optimal mental health.

Increased productivity.

Mentally healthy individuals are more inspired and motivated to achieve their goals by working efficiently and in an organised manner.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the economic effects of depression and anxiety contribute a loss of one trillion US dollars per year on a worldwide scale.

Resilience and positive disposition.

Happiness rates of individuals may increase by up to 20% by alleviating the symptoms of depression and anxiety, which, in turn, contributes to an increased level of resilience and overall attitude to combat daily stress.

Increase in healthy levels of self-confidence.

An individual with a sense of mental stability tends to feel good about himself and his or her perceived purpose in life. The right amount of confidence drives people to pursue more fulfilling goals and roles fit for themselves, allowing one to stay more connected with others and the society in general.

Effective crisis management.

Everyone experiences distressing circumstances at some point in their lives, whether the loss of a loved one, a serious financial or career setback, or some form of personal, existential crisis. Mentally healthy individuals can accept the realities of life with reasonable hopes and expectations, enabling them to move forward and maintain functional, productive lives.

What Are the Bad Habits Affecting Men’s Mental Health?

Certain bad habits could be affecting your mental health. Some of these common habits are:

Chronic sleep deprivation.

Insufficient sleep may cause problems in attention or concentration, memory and mood regulation. Sleep deprivation suppresses the ability of the immune system to fight off diseases and infections. It has also been widely studied that chronic sleep deprivation poses a higher risk of depression, anxiety and mood problems.

Lack of Exercise.

Sadly, the lifestyle of many people nowadays includes a lack of physical exercise or activity. Prolonged physical inactivity significantly reduces muscle tone and bone density, as well as adversely affecting the efficiency of blood circulation. Studies reveal that individuals with little to no exercise are exposed to a higher risk of depression and other mental health problems.

Regular exercise relieves stress and anxiety as it produces endorphins, or the so-called ‘happy hormones’, in the process. Make sure to include regular exercise into your daily or weekly routine to improve your overall health and well-being.

Poor posture.

A person who slouches each time he walks or sits is more likely to suffer from poor blood circulation and symptoms of exhaustion and fatigue. Proper posture improves confidence and overall mood.

Excessive use of smartphones and social media.

More people, especially the younger ones, are becoming so attached to their gadgets and are easily hooked on social media. While staying updated on news and current events is not a bad thing in itself, the key is moderation in the dependence on smartphones.

Recent studies show that excessive exposure in social media triggers low- esteem and anxiety to some individuals. It is recommended to make time for personal connections and real face-to-face conversations.

Messy surroundings.

An untidy place with too much clutter may trigger more levels of stress. Being disorganised is associated with lower productivity and high levels of anxiety, reflecting a person’s lack of mindfulness to his or her immediate surroundings. Taking the time to organise and clean your surroundings, especially where you tend to spend your time the most, will lift your mood and alleviate your stress.

 Improper diet.

The food you eat affects not just your weight or waistline but also your mental health. A poor, imbalanced diet that includes excessive intake of saturated fat and processed food may contribute to mental health problems.

It can also lead to a host of other significant health problems like cardiovascular diseases and obesity.

Substance abuse:

Some individuals resort to the intake of alcohol and drugs to cope with their emotional issues. This tends to aggravate the situation. Alcoholic beverages and other harmful psychoactive substances affect the normal levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. Immediate medical intervention in the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction must be sought to combat the debilitating symptoms of these mental disorders.

10 Tips for Men’s Mental Health

  1. Know your value and purpose in life.
  2. Eat nutritious foods and hydrate often.
  3. Get enough sleep to replenish your energy.
  4. Do regular exercise.
  5. Invest your time in nurturing healthy interpersonal relationships.
  6. Join spiritual, religious or meditative circles to strengthen your faith.
  7. Seek emotional support, advice or help from your loved ones or a trusted health professional.
  8. Combat stress through meditation, travel, social activities or meaningful hobbies.
  9. Avoid addictive and harmful vices or substances.
  10. Take your time to unwind or do breathing exercises, especially on stressful days.

Your mental health matters.

Follow the tips we recommend and skip the bad habits to start noticing improvements in your mental health and overall wellness.

Disclaimer:

This article is intended for reference or suggestion only. Do not use this article to replace medical advice. Consult your doctor for proper medical advice.

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