Mental health disorders are an invisible barrier to success. Many men aren’t aware of just how much their mental health is limiting them from creating healthy relationships and accomplishing their goals. The stigmas around men’s mental health often lead to poor emotional processing and using substances as a coping mechanism.
Working on your mental health is the first step to accomplishing fitness, financial, and lifestyle goals. Here are six practical tips for improving your mental health and overcoming this barrier to success.
Be Open To Accepting Help
There are plenty of Long-Term Mental Health Programs designed with men in mind. Unfortunately, men are significantly less likely to seek mental health support. This resistance stems from years of cultural conditioning that teaches men to be strong and independent and that needing help is a sign of weakness.
This ingrained set of archaic beliefs are part of the reason why men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women, and men have higher rates of substance dependence than women.
In many cases, mental health issues in men are tied to hormonal disruptions— a physical ailment that could be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. Admitting to yourself that you’re struggling, then reaching out for support is a must for long-term health and wellness.
Acknowledge Problematic Thoughts and Events
It’s time to acknowledge the problematic origins of stigmas around manhood and what that means. There’s a strong cognitive dissonance for many men as they look at how they were raised, their childhood heroes, and personal beliefs and behaviors. It’s natural to feel defensive when someone tells you that your parents or your belief system are wrong. However, acknowledging that people make mistakes is an important step in letting go and moving on.
Processing problematic thoughts and events also prepares you to stop the limiting beliefs you tell yourself. Every time you hear that voice tell you that you’re a failure, that your body isn’t attractive, that you’re weak— those are all thoughts that stem from your environment and experiences. Acknowledging that the root of those thoughts is wrong proposes that these thoughts are also inaccurate.
When you experience these thought patterns, remind yourself that thoughts aren’t facts.
Get Financial Guidance
Men face unique challenges in mental health, namely when it comes to financial health. Men are significantly more likely to develop mental health disorders like depression and anxiety when faced with financial stress. Furthermore, 20% of male suicides are related to financial problems.
The origins of this issue are apparent when looking back through history. Men were raised to be the providers. It’s only in recent history that dual incomes became the norm. The tipping point in America was 1968, when the number of traditional single-income families and progressive dual-income families were evenly split. In other words, men between the age of 35-50 were likely raised or influenced by someone with traditional beliefs.
Seeking professional help to separate one’s value from their earnings or ability to provide is immensely helpful. However, it’s also beneficial to work with a financial advisor to help overcome money issues and create an action plan for success. Work with a financial advisor to develop a budget, pay down debts, and create both short and long-term savings. With inflation on the rise and a recession looming, things are getting challenging for everyone. Reaching out for financial guidance is just smart business.
Invest in Emotional Connections
It’s common for men to feel a connection between physical relationships and mental health. Sex is a stress reliever, and a lack thereof can lead to feelings of self-doubt, low confidence, and poor mental health. While processing that it’s not all about you is a big part of managing dry spells, it’s also helpful to ensure your partner has what they need to be physical.
Take the time to invest in emotional connections. Don’t scoff at the self-help and relationship advice. Learn your partner’s love language, listen to what’s stressing them out, and give them what they need.
Women face their own unique mental health stressor known as invisible labor. It’s the weight of the day-to-day tasks and expectations that fall on them as caregivers. Much like the weight of financial health impacts men, the endless administrative and household tasks that typically fall to women are also heavy. This leads to burnout and exhaustion, even on those days when it seems like nothing happened.
Be proactive in carrying the weight. Don’t wait for her to ask for help. Less emotional weight means more physical energy and a healthier relationship for you both.
Prioritize Your Physical Health
Physical health and mental health are closely intertwined. Things like proper nutrition, hydration, physical exercise, and sleep all contribute to hormonal regulation. The better your hormonal regulation, the less likely you are to experience chronic mental health disorders.
Understand that stimulants like caffeine and depressants like alcohol negatively impact hormonal regulation and have direct impacts on mental health. Consider cutting back on both or removing them from your life entirely.
Identify and Solve Problems
Change isn’t easy, but it is possible. If you feel overwhelmed or down based on the hand you were dealt, shuffle the deck. Take some time to reflect and identify what specific things are causing you stress. Then, explore them to create an action plan to remove those stressors from your life.
Some problems will be easier to overcome than others. If you feel like you have no time for anything, consider how much time you’re scrolling TikTok or watching TV. If a long-time friend is a toxic user, cut them off. Things like a career change take a lot of planning and preparing, but you won’t get any closer if you do nothing.
It’s not your fault if you experience mental health issues, but it is your responsibility to do your best to overcome them. Seek professional help, focus on your health and relationships, and change your life.