In the modern world, the importance of mental health has gained significant recognition. As men journey through life, they assume multifaceted roles, from brothers to husbands, fathers, and even grandfathers. Along this path, responsibilities accumulate, placing them at the heart of various family and societal expectations. Men are often seen as the pillars of the household, responsible for resolving every issue that arises, whether it's ensuring children get to school on time or managing the laundry. Yet, amid these obligations, it's essential to remember that men, like anyone else, need moments of tranquility, a space to express their emotions, and a healthy state of mind. This article provides a tailored guide endorsed by psychologists to help men safeguard their mental well-being, empowering them to lead a fulfilling life.
Here is some advice on mental health that psychologists have specifically recommended for men:
Open up and express yourself
While most men try to bottle up their feelings and emotions, feeling that men are supposed to be strong and tough, the truth is that only a courageous man is able to speak up about what is going on in his mind. A man should be able to talk about his feelings and emotions with the people he trusts, such as his friends, partner, parents, or a therapist if required. If you are struggling with a mental health disorder, then there should be at least one person with whom you can open up.
Dr. Moumita Nandy, a clinical psychologist from Delhi, says, “Men seek therapy for all sorts of reasons. Commonly, they go to therapy for help with mental health challenges like depression, general anxiety, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or eating disorders, to name just a few examples. But you don’t need to be experiencing a serious mental health problem for therapy to be right for you. Many men go to therapy for help with things like marital or relationship conflict, lack of purpose or meaning in life, loneliness, important life transitions, separation or divorce, loss, and grief.”
Support Fellow Men
You might be feeling completely fine when it comes to your mental health; however, there might be another friend, colleague, or man in your family who is dealing with a mental health issue or just feeling low at some point in time. If you do notice a man around you dealing with a mental health problem, try to offer them support and a kind ear to talk to, no matter how awkward or alien it may feel to you. Every time you do this, the dangerous expectation for men to "man up" and "shut up" about their problems will seem more and more outdated and unhelpful.
Embrace your authentic self
While trying to "man up" by indulging in risky behavior, men often forget to be themselves in their life. Instead, they end up catcalling women, driving recklessly, and starting fights for no reason, just to show how manly they are. The truth is that just because you are a man, you do not have to behave in a reckless manner. In fact, you need to focus on yourself and find out what kind of person you are and whether you like such kind of behavior or not.
Limit alcohol and drug use
A lot of men drink alcohol or use recreational drugs as a way to relax or have fun, but some men can abuse substances and end up using them as a coping method for stress or other distress in their lives. Men are more likely to use drugs and alcohol as coping methods when they are not feeling well, instead of getting the help that they need. You may not even realize you are doing it, as some things are very much ingrained into our culture, for instance, binge drinking on the weekend. You should instead talk to a professional therapist to learn better-coping mechanisms that will actually help you out rather than using drugs or alcohol, which will only harm you.
Find enjoyable activities
In today’s era, life can be hectic and busy with so much work, which can cause some of us to feel tired and stressed. So, it is important to find an activity to help us decompress and relax in our own time. Whether it is trying out cooking new cuisines, learning a new skill, such as rock climbing, playing baseball in the park with friends, or getting stuck in a good book or magazine, it’s highly recommended that you find your very own fun and stress-relieving activity to help you feel your best.
When it comes to exercise, it should not be something that you have to do but something that you enjoy doing. As little as 10 minutes of brisk walking can increase your energy, and mental alertness, and help you stay in a positive mood. So whether you choose to sweat it out at the gym while running on the treadmill or go for a jog every morning, make sure that you do not miss out on your workout sessions.
Improve your sleep
Mental health and sleep are quite co-dependent. Regularly enjoying a good night’s sleep can help you feel less tired throughout the day, more able to cope with the tasks of daily life, feel confident with good self-esteem, and be less likely to be worried and stressed. Try to get a regular 7-9 hours of sleep a night by limiting your late-night device usage, doing some exercise during the day, eating a healthy diet, and making your bedroom sleep-friendly.
Dr. Nandy says, “A good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Have a proper sleep schedule rather than waking up at different times, and try to meditate as well before you go to sleep. Have proper sleep hygiene, which includes not being active in front of any screen for at least half an hour before you go to bed. Good sleep hygiene is certainly required to have good mental health.”
Eat a balanced diet
As a man, you must be working, running here and there, doing odd jobs, and so much more, so your body certainly needs its fuel to get recharged. However, if you believe in eating junk food, such as burgers and pizzas, and prefer not to eat a healthy or balanced diet, then it will show up in your mental health. Healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals to nourish your brain, whereas a diet high in convenience and refined foods like sugary snacks and processed meat can be harmful to the brain. So the best choice for you is to eat healthy and have a balanced meal.
No man would like to feel low or go through a mental health disorder in his life. It can be really saddening to see a man go through this pain. So to ensure that you do not deal with any mental health problems, make sure that you follow the above-given tips to live a healthy life.
Dr. Nandy says, “Some of the habits that men should add to their lifestyle for good mental health are exercising, as it not only keeps a man fit physically but mentally as well. Also, he should indulge in his hobbies and not just work in his free time. Eating healthy is very important for a man, as a man is what he eats. And lastly, he should be social and should be able to talk about what he feels with the people he cares about.”
Written by: Deepti Dogra
Edited by: Aniket Joshi