Let's Talk About Men's Mental Health

by Peter Minkoff May 09, 2017

Let's Talk About Men's Mental Health

One would expect that, as it is 2017, there would be very few taboo topics left, and no topic is left unexplored. However, it appears that there is still a stigma attached to certain topics, such as men’s mental health. This is mostly attributed to the fact that for centuries, men have been encouraged to exude stamina, stoicism and perseverance. According to Psychology Today, men don not often exhibit emotion because they are taught that it is weak to do so. For decades, they have been told that boys don’t cry, they have been ordered to ‘man up’ and face every challenge without showing signs of flailing. This indoctrination that occurs at an early age can have detrimental consequences to men’s ability to empathize and cope with issues in the right manner. Well, it is high time the velvet ropes come down and men start taking care of their mental and emotional health. To that end, we have done some research into some of the most common issues men face, along with effective and healthy tools on how to deal with them.

Depression

For too long a time, depression was a mental issue most commonly associated with women. Due to the misconception that men should be strong and hide their feelings it often remains unrecognized and suppressed. Thanks to the Movember movement, a cause aimed at shedding light on men’s health issues it a topic that people are more aware of. Depression can most certainly affect men regardless of their age, and if left untreated left untreated, depression can lead to serious problems such as persistent pain, loss of energy and sex drive, and erectile dysfunction; while the worst-case scenario is suicide.  Some of the most common symptoms of depression, according to WebMD, include loss of interest in usually pleasurable activities, fatigue, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, and apathy. If you notice any, or several of these red flags, don’t disregard and wave them away. Depression is not an issue that should be taken lightly. With antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of both, it can be successfully treated.  All you need to do is acknowledge the need for medical advice, so don’t suppress the signals your body is sending you when your health and well-being are at stake. Dear gentleman, acknowledging the problem and seeking proper help makes you more, not less of a man.

Coping with stress

People tend to throw the word stress like it is no big deal, which is another dangerous misconception. As Dr. Gail Gross puts it, the primitive man relied on his body’s system to gear up for flight or fight. When he was threatened, his adrenal system started pumping furiously, and he used every bit of this magical substance to save his hide. This benefit of stress, however, isn’t as relevant in the present day. Modern man deals mostly with emotional stresses instead of physical ones, though his body cannot discern the difference. As she goes on to say, men, as natural problem solvers compartmentalize and repress their emotions to either fight or run away, in other words, they shut down. Given that the consequences of prolonged stress include heart palpitations, aching muscles, tension headaches, loss of focus, and sleep deprivation, taking care of yourself is top priority. In order to keep your focus and keep on thriving in the workplace, taking a smart pill by Lucid every now and then might be just the thing you need. Another is to seek help as there are numerous stress management techniques you can learn and apply so you can have a tense and stress-free life.

Body image issues

Yet another issue unjustly associated with women affects men more than we are aware. Just as women, men are affected by unrealistic body expectations forced on them by different media, including men’s magazines, movies and basically all other channels. The reason for the lack of awareness on this topic, is again due to the fact that men are not encouraged to discuss it. However, the numbers are staggering, as a study found that men are just as likely as women to feel unsatisfied with their physiques, while another study found adolescent boys who are dissatisfied with their body shape may be more likely than girls to self-criticize and feel distress. Studies have even shown that men feel worse about their bodies after playing video games with ripped characters. This can lead to the use of steroids, which in turn can do serious damage and not only in the mental health department. Awareness on this topic is yet to gain momentum, and until it does, men are left to their own devices. The best thing you can do, if this is an issue you are struggling with, is to do as much as you can in terms of healthy diet and exercise, but do not try to attain the unattainable. People in magazines and movie superheroes are not real, this is the first thing you always have to bear in mind. If your obsession over having the perfect physique persist, it is time to open up and seek the help of a professional, so do not shy away from it.

Peter Minkoff
Peter Minkoff

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