Mental health can be shaped by the way in which we treat ourselves.
The dismissing or critical voice inside our minds can be devastating to mental health.
Men are particular good at dismissing or criticising which doesn’t create health and wellbeing. Read more at ‘ How do you sound when you talk to yourself?’
Create a healthier self
The development of our healthy selves is shaped by our childhood. We all travelled through an amazing yet complex process of emotional development.
For our emotional health to thrive we have specific needs that ideally should be fulfilled by our early caregivers.
These needs are not always tangible. They’re based on our interactions with significant adults that help us develop a healthy inner dialogue and self esteem.
Let’s get practical!
There are some areas of life that contain these fundamental needs to enhance our wellbeing.
Here are 4 of them.
Blokes don’t often admit to their nurturing side, it’s all a bit too fluffy!
Nurturing has a connotation attached to mothering, nursing, hugging, healing and all things touchy feely!
However, male nurturing is important because it’s a key to good health and self care.
Nurture requires men to actively engage in consistent self care activities that benefit both physical and mental health.
Nurture can be both solitary and connected with other people.
The list below is a guide to the kind of life categories that enhance nurture.
Check in with how you can build or improve them.
Men often like to see themselves as fearless protectors. Our focus is usually on protecting others including our partner, friends and family.
Protection, for blokes, can be associated with having the physical strength and prowess to fight. To be able to ward off all kinds of threat.
In terms of mental and emotional health, protection requires building an internal sense of personal security. Such as:
- Setting limits and boundaries with people, events or activities that create overwhelming levels of stress
- How you master regulating your emotions
- Allowing yourself to seek help with a counsellor or coach
- Getting to know yourself better via personal development work, reading books, attending workshops
- Knowing your values that enhance integrity
- Finding the courage to change even in the face of adversity
Play is great for emotional wellbeing. Whilst it can mean different things to people, good mental health play includes:
- Real joy
- Real delight
- Feeling alive
It could be as simple as:
- Walking on the beach
- Playing with a pet
- Enjoying the kids/grandkids
- Playing sport
Don’t forget how to have fun.
We can lose a sense of creativity and spark if we are stuck in critical or dismissive thinking. Being creative enhances the happy chemicals in our brain which lifts our mood.
Various forms of music, dance or art can be incredibly powerful ways of cultivating health and wellbeing. However it isn’t just about the creative arts.
Simple creativity tasks don’t have to be complicated.
Here’s a few suggestions:
- Read a great book
- Listen to inspiring TED Talks
- Explore your local community
- Go and see some live music
- Participate in good brain development exercises eg a crossword, jigsaw
- Sign up for a course