Mindful Masculinity: Promoting Mental Well-being In The Men Around Us

Men's health

Men often face difficulty articulating their emotions, leading them to bottle things up and become vulnerable to the detrimental effects of stress.

Societal pressures time and again lead men to delay seeking support, believing they must embody toughness, self-reliance, and control. This mindset makes it challenging for men to acknowledge health issues, including those impacting their social and emotional well-being. However, serious mental health conditions like depression don’t resolve on their own and need proper vigilance. Recognizing the significance of mental health, men must prioritize their well-being by seeking the necessary support to overcome these challenges.

This Men’s Health Week, let’s explore ways and tips to empower and prioritize the mental well-being of the men in our lives.

1. Promote Self-Care Practices: Self-care involves dedicating time to activities that enhance physical and mental health. Emphasize the importance of self-care activities such as exercise, healthy eating, quality sleep, relaxation techniques, and engaging in hobbies or activities that bring joy and relaxation. By engaging in self-care practices, you can help men in your lives effectively manage stress, reduce the likelihood of illness, and boost energy levels. Encourage men to prioritize self-care as an essential part of their routine.

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2. Encourage Open Communication: Create a safe and non-judgmental space for men to express their feelings, thoughts, and concerns without fear of stigma or judgment. Encourage them to talk about their emotions and actively listen to what they say—fostering inclusive platforms for open and honest conversations surrounding mental health concerns.

3. Prioritize Physical Health: As is said, “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind,” taking care of the body positively impacts men’s mental health. Advocate fueling the body with a wholesome diet rich in fruits, veggies, lean protein, and whole grains. Minimize unhealthy fats, salt, and added sugars. Encourage embracing restful sleep patterns, aiming for more than 7 hours each night. Regular exercise has a transformative impact on mental health, reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood. Making mindful choices about alcohol and smoking can help manage mental health[1].

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4. Challenge Traditional Gender Norms:
Shattering the stigma associated with traditional masculine norms is essential to combatting the worsening of depression and anxiety, empowering men to seek help and prioritize their mental well-being[2]. Break free from societal expectations that may impose restrictive gender norms on men. Encourage the men in your life to embrace their emotions, seek support, and reject the notion that vulnerability is a sign of weakness. Promote a more inclusive and open-minded definition of masculinity.

5. Educate On Mental Health: Increase awareness and understanding of mental health issues by sharing information, resources, and stories about men’s mental well-being. Educate men about the signs of mental health challenges and available support services, encouraging them to seek help when needed. Incorporating mental health education into school curricula, workplace training, and community programs ensures widespread understanding and acceptance. Integrating mental health education at various levels equips individuals with essential knowledge and skills to navigate mental health challenges effectively.

6. Foster Social Connections: Engaging in meaningful conversations with friends, neighbors, and loved ones is a potent coping tool. Openly discussing emotions and worries alleviates stress, fosters resilience, and strengthens connections[1]. Encourage men to build and maintain meaningful relationships with friends, family, and communities. Social connections provide support, companionship, and a sense of belonging, all contributing to positive mental well-being.

7. Encourage Professional Support: Normalize seeking professional help when necessary. Encourage men to contact mental health professionals, therapists, or counselors for guidance and support. Highlight that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

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8. Reduce Stigma: Challenge the stigma surrounding men’s mental health by promoting understanding, empathy, and acceptance. Shift the narrative surrounding depression and suicide in men by dismantling stigma and fostering open conversations. Encourage sharing personal experiences, and support initiatives that aim to destigmatize mental health challenges for men.

Facing challenges pertaining to mental health can be tough, and unfortunately, the longer someone keeps them hidden, the more challenging the journey toward healing becomes. This men’s health week, let’s aim to challenge the stigma surrounding toxic masculinity and offer much-needed support to all men out there.

(The article is written by Dr.Subita Alagh, Senior Executive, and reviewed by Monalisa Deka, Senior Health Content Editor)

1. CDC: Taking care of Mental Health. Available online: https://www.cdc.gov/emotional-wellbeing/features/how-right-now.htm
2. Chatmon BN. Males and Mental Health Stigma. Am J Mens Health. 2020 Jul-Aug;14(4):1557988320949322. Available online: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7444121/

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