Because women tend to be affected by depression and anxiety more often than men, most articles about mental health tend to focus on the female perspective.
In reality, though, many men struggle with depression and anxiety, and it’s important to acknowledge these issues so that men can have an easier time seeking the help they need.
Nine percent of men struggle with daily feelings of depression and/or anxiety, and 30.6 percent of men have reported experiencing depression at some point in their lives.
If you’re struggling with these issues and aren’t sure what to do about it, these five tips for improving mental health can help.
1. Spend Time Outdoors
One of the best things men can do to combat depression and anxiety is to get outside more frequently.
Spending time indoors (and especially time in front of a screen) has been linked to increased rates of mental health issues. Simply taking time to go outside on a regular basis is an easy and affordable solution.
Any time outside is better than none at all. But getting outside and spending time near wildlife (trees, flowers, a body of water, etc.) is even better.
Being in nature and breathing in fresh air helps clear your mind and calm your body. Even if you can only take a walk around the block, the combination of movement and outdoor time can have a big impact on your well-being.
2. Learn to Meditate
Meditation is a powerful technique that can help you reduce your stress and learn to manage unpleasant emotions in a healthy way.
Research shows that meditation can also reduce your chances of relapsing into depression, too, so it’s a great preventative tool to add to your routine if you’ve struggled with poor mental health in the past.
The great thing about meditation is that you can do it anywhere and at any time. Because of this, it’s more accessible than other mindfulness practices like yoga.
If you want to start meditating, there are apps and online programs designed to help you learn relaxation techniques and overcome common roadblocks. The easiest way to get started, though, is to simply set aside some time each day to focus solely on your breath.
Set a timer for five minutes, close your eyes, and focus on the feeling of your breath entering and leaving your body. It will be challenging at first, and your mind is sure to wander. But as long as you become aware of the mind wandering and return to your breath, you can consider your meditation session a success.
3. Treat Nutrient Deficiencies
Many people don’t realize that feelings of anxiety and depression can actually stem from nutrient deficiencies.
Some common nutrient deficiencies that can increase one’s risk of experiencing depression and anxiety include:
- Vitamin D
- B vitamins (especially vitamin B6 and vitamin B12)
- Vitamin E
Vitamin B12, magnesium, vitamin D, and potassium deficiencies are especially common among men.
A multivitamin can help you combat these and other potential deficiencies. The ideal options for multivitamins for men will contain, at the very least, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and magnesium. Some multivitamins contain potassium, but you’ll need to check the label to be sure.
4. Stop Withholding Emotions
Many men struggle with depression and anxiety because they’ve never been taught how to manage their emotions effectively.
Instead of dealing with fear, anger, or sadness in a healthy way, they bottle their emotions up inside until they start to affect their health negatively.
Meditation is a great tool that can help you address your emotions and work through them instead of shoving them aside.
Writing in a journal is another helpful technique, as is talking to a therapist or another trusted individual. Remember, the sooner you address these emotions head-on, the less likely they are to continue affecting you long term.
5. Seek Support
It’s okay to ask for help with tasks that might be overwhelming you or making your mental health worse.
Are you struggling with a loss, feeling daunted by the tasks you need to accomplish around your house, or having a hard time coping with the challenges of parenting?
Whatever problems you’re facing, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Chances are you have lots of people who are ready to jump in. They’re just waiting for you to say the word.