Society often teaches men to keep their emotions in check and their feelings to themselves. But living such a buttoned-down life can wreak havoc on mental well-being.
Tips to keep you emotionally healthy:
- Spend time with friends and family. Share your leisure time with your friends and engage with others. Men with strong social connections are typically more emotionally healthy than those who lack a network of support.
- Move your body. Aerobic exercise such as jogging, swimming, cycling or walking has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression. No matter what type of exercise you enjoy, moving your body can improve mood and reduce stress.
- Exercise your mind as often as your muscles. Research suggests that doing a few puzzles each week helps to clear the mind.
- Get a good night’s sleep. One of the most important ways to stay emotionally strong is to get enough sleep. It is recommended that adults (18 years and older) get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Older men tend to not sleep very deeply and may need naps over the course of the day.
- Address your stress. Stress is a part of life, but learning how to cope with it can keep your mental health in check. Find ways to relax and disconnect – take a walk outside or play with your pet. Be sure to also laugh! Research has shown that laughter can reduce stress, in addition to providing other health benefits.
If you begin to feel depressed or have suicidal thoughts, you should seek help as soon as possible. Suicide rates among men are four times higher than among women according to CDC data. It’s also important to remember that if you are taking medication for depression or other mental health issues, you should not stop taking your medicine without first talking with your doctor, no matter how much better you feel.