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A Guide on Maintaining Mental Health for Men

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Mental health is as important as physical health; men ignore it and consider it taboo. Some specific signs and symptoms will help evaluate a man’s mental health.

Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being, and it affects how we think, feel, and behave. Mental health is as essential as physical health as it allows us to cope with life’s stresses and maintain good relationships with others. This article discusses ways for men to maintain good mental health as we celebrate Men’s Health Awareness Month.

Men’s Mental Health

Despite notable advances in the last decade, discussing men’s mental health remains taboo. Men don’t want to seek help when experiencing mental challenges. Men feel they are required to be tough; showing emotions makes them useless, weak, and vulnerable.

Depression

Depression in men is a common mental condition that impairs men’s ability to feel, concentrate, and conduct daily tasks.

Signs and Symptoms of depression

Here are some signs that will help you spot depression in men. 

  • Physical pain:

Physical pain such as headaches, backaches, or digestive problems doesn’t respond to treatment.

  • Anger: irritability, loss of sense of humour, inability to deal with criticism, short temper, abuse, or even violence.

  • Reckless behaviour:

 If a man suffers from depression pursuing dangerous sports, rash driving, or engaging with unsafe sex.

Common symptoms of depression:

These symptoms will help you evaluate if you are suffering from depression.

  • Feeling unhappy, depressed, and empty
  • Feeling hopeless 
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Avoiding friends and gatherings
  • Feeling worthless and guilty
  • Sleeping problems
  • Loss of interest in sex, work, and family
  • Suppressed appetite or overeating
  • Self-harm and suicidal thoughts
  • Use of drugs and alcohol

Causes of Depression in Men

There are three leading causes of depression in men:

  • Genetic factors
  • Environmental stress
  • Illnesses

Genetic factor

Men with a family history are more likely to have depression than those who don’t have any family history of depression.

Environmental factors

There are environmental factors that can be the cause of depression:

  • Financial problem
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Difficult relationship
  • Work problems
  • Or any stressful situation

Illnesses

Depression can be caused due to severe medical illnesses like diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s, liver failure, etc., and the drugs used for these diseases can cause depression as a side effect.

Get help

Self-help

Self-help works wonders, such as reaching out for social support, exercise, health, and lifestyle changes.

Don’t expect a sudden change; first, you will feel better in your sleep pattern and appetite. Then slowly, self-help will improve your mood, then your way of thinking and handling, and help you overcome all the symptoms.

Seek social support.

The workload can mostly make it difficult for men to strengthen relationships. Still, the first step in overcoming male sadness is to identify a person with whom you can genuinely connect face-to-face. It is finding someone with whom you feel comfortable revealing your emotions without fear of being judged.

Ways to Seek Depression Support.

Look for support

Try to obtain support from people who make you feel welcome. The person will listen carefully and sympathetically to you without criticizing you.

Prioritize face-to-face interactions and activities

Phone calls, social media, and texting are fantastic ways to stay in touch with loved ones. They cannot, however, replace face-to-face quality time. Being in touch with your loved ones might assist in boosting your mood.

Social activities

Even if you don’t feel like it, try to keep up with social activities since it’s natural to live alone when stressed, but being around other people brings you joy.

Help others

 It’s good to help others because that will improve your mood eventually. So, find ways to assist others, whether through your work or a little smile.

Join a support group

Being in the company of people who are depressed might help you feel less alone, provide and receive behavioural advice, and share your experiences.

Support your health

Positive lifestyle adjustments can help improve symptoms and prevent them from reoccurring.

Sleep 

 Sleep issues are common in depression, but you can improve by getting eight hours of good sleep. This will improve your overall health, and you will start practising a good night routine for life.

Stress

Stress worsens depression and can also be a risk factor. It would help if you listed all of the stressors in your life and then made plans to reduce them one by one.

Relaxation

Certainly, regular relaxation practice can help improve depressive symptoms and reduce stress, and yoga, deep breathing, periodic muscular relaxation, and meditation are all options.

Spend time in the sun

Getting out during the day and exposing oneself to sunlight can help increase serotonin levels and enhance your mood. Take a walk, drink your coffee outside, do yard work, or exercise outdoors to get the benefits.

Exercise to Improve Mental Well-being

According to research, regular exercise might be as helpful as medicine in improving depressive symptoms and aids in preventing relapse once you’ve recovered.

Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily to reap the best benefits, and it does not have to be done all at once; only a 10-minute stroll may lift your mood for two hours.

Gradual improvement

It might be tough to begin exercising when you’re unhappy and tired. However, studies suggest that your energy levels will improve if you stick with exercise, making you feel more energetic and less tired.

Do rhythmic exercise

Look for continuous and rhythmic activities and the beneficial effects of the rhythmic movement of arms and legs to improve depressive symptoms.

Pair up

Thus, join forces with a workout partner; working out with others allows you to socialize and may help you stay inspired.

Eat a nutritious diet.

Reduce sugar

Reduce your intake of sugar and processed carbs, you may desire sweet snacks, baked goods, or comfort meals like spaghetti or French fries, but these “feel-good” items cause a mood and energy drop.

Avoid unhealthy food

Whereas, reducing your intake of items can negatively impact your moods, like fats and foods high in artificial and caffeine.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Further, increase your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids to improve your mood; however, the best sources include fatty fish, seafood, flax, and nuts.

Mood-boosting nutrients

Certainly, foods with mood-boosting nutrients include bananas (magnesium to relieve stress, vitamin B6 to enhance mood, and tryptophan to boost feel-good serotonin levels) and spinach.

Professional depression therapy for men

Furthermore, see a mental health expert if family and friends’ support and lifestyle changes aren’t enough. Be honest about your emotions as well as your physical problems. However, Men’s depression treatments include

Therapy

Besides, you may believe that talking to a stranger about your difficulties is unmanly or that counselling implies victimhood. However, having access to counselling may provide immediate relief, even to the most sceptical of men.

Medication

 Antidepressant drugs can alleviate some symptoms but do not treat the underlying cause and are seldom a long-term solution. The pills also have adverse effects. Even if you determine that the drug is the best option, you should try self-help measures. Therapy and lifestyle changes can address the underlying reasons for your depression and help you avoid relapse once you’re off drugs.

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