Seven ways to help men deal with our anxieties and fears.
The issue of men and mental health is one that periodically finds itself as the subject of discussion. Magazines such as Time, Newsweek, Men’s Health, and of course, Psychology Today have periodically ran featured stories on the topic. Most of the time it is the subject of a guy or a several men who have been overwhelmed with a helpless state of fear, despondency, or some related form of irrational behavior that has managed to consume their psyche.
The end result is often a deep level of mental anguish, reluctance acknowledge the problem, fear, or a great awakening of some sort on the part of the man, or men, in question. While such an admission, more often than not, is a positive revelation on the part of these guys, the fact is that mental health is still considered a silent crisis for many men.
The reasons for this vary. Many experts attribute this fact to the growing number of pressures placed on men in our contemporary society. Rapid transformations ranging from work, family, and personal life have taken its toll on a considerable segment of men in our current culture.
Regardless of the reasons (and they are important to diagnose) the fact remains that many men (unlike women) are often apprehensive, and in some cases outright resistant, to seeking help to confront the issue.
For many men, doing so indicates they are weak, sub par, and raises a fear they will be viewed as insufficiently masculine in the eyes of their fellow male brethren, and in some cases female counterparts. When it comes to emotional related issues, men are taught to “wear the mask” and present a public face of power, confidence, and strength. Consequently, the “I have it all under control. Everything is cool” persona is having a crippling effect on many men as they are falling further behind, and in some cases are dropping out of society in general. This is a situation that needs to be addressed, and men themselves can make such changes in their own lives by doing some of the following:
Connect with others.
Develop and continue to maintain strong relationships with people around you who will support and enhance your life. As men, the quality of our personal relationships often has a great effect on physical and mental well being. Investing time and energy into strong relationships can bring great rewards.
Allow time for relaxation.
Make sure to allow yourself time to engage in activities and hobbies that you enjoy. Reading, writing, exercising, nurturing your pets, engaging in activities with your children or friends, taking classes on topics that interest you, the list goes on.
Take care of yourself
Remain active and eat healthy. These two factors are crucial in maintaining a healthy body. Physical and mental well being are closely aligned. Incorporate physical activity with a balanced diet to nourish your body and mind. keep you feeling good, and in tip/top shape.
Get active in community affairs.
Volunteer your time for a cause or issue that you care about. Get involved with one or more of the opportunities for social engagement available in your community.
Attempting to enhance the lives of others is a sure fire way to improve yours.
Deal With Stress. Learn to control stress.
Be astute to what triggers your stress, and how you react to such situations. Stress is a part of life that effects people in different ways. You may be able to avoid some of the triggers and learn to manage others. A balanced lifestyle can help you manage stress better.
Rest and Refresh.
Sleep is crucial for all of us. This is particularly true as we get older and reach middle age. Make sure that your body gets an appropriate amount of sleep. Moreover, allow yourself some unfocused time each day to refresh, let your mind go, or watch the clouds go by. Allot yourself a time that is a “do nothing zone” each day.
Don’t Be Afraid of Being Vulnerable.
As men, pride is is often one of our greatest assets. It can also result in being among our greatest liabilities. Those of us who are in tune with reality are well aware of the fact we are not immortal. We realize we are prone to stumbling and falling short along the way. We are human. Too many of us are afraid to ask for help. We fear doing so will make us appear weak, emasculated, and vulnerable. Stop it! Accept the fact that all of us are in need of help at some point in our lives, and seeking assistance when you need it is not only acceptable, it is very practical.
The fact is clear, mental illness and social anxiety are disorders that can affect any man (or woman) at any point in their lives. None us are immune from the possibility of enduring such an experience. What is important, however, is how we choose to confront such a situation. Some men tend to run away from, or deny such problems. Other men can take a direct look in the mirror, confront and face such problems head on. For those men facing such a dilemma, which path will you choose? The standard route of denial, or the road less traveled of confronting the problem? Your health and peace of mind may depend on it.
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