Men, It’s Okay to Feel Your Emotions
As we celebrate Father's day, it is important for men to take a moment to assess their physical as well as mental health.
According to the National Institutes of Health, when it comes to emotional health, women are more expressive while men have a more physiological response, meaning emotions affect blood pressure and cortisol levels directly. However, we don’t need a study to tell us that men and women cope with emotions differently. While norms are certainly changing, there is still the stigma that the man is supposed to be the tough guy and hold back emotions. Having no outlets to manage stress can lead to anger, frustration, alcohol or substance use, and even physical abuse. Men you need to know it is okay to share your thoughts and feelings. We’ve got four steps to help you deal with your emotions and pay more attention to your mental and emotional health.
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Know that friends and family are there to support you, talking about your emotions or what’s bothering you can help you feel less alone. Many see seeking help as weak but seeing a therapist can also help with your mental health especially as they’re more trained to guide you through what you’re feeling. It can also be useful to have a therapist as a third party, not related so they can give you an outside opinion, specifically couples counseling can be used to have you and your partner discuss emotions with someone there for both of you.
Letting stress build-up can be a huge factor in poor emotional health. Find ways to relieve stress such as relaxing, finding an enjoyable hobby, or increasing physical activity. It is important to do something- just watching TV or eating does not count as healthy stress relief. Creating a schedule that allows time for stress relief can be a good way to get started if it’s not something you plan to do each day. Self-care is an important part of your life just like your job and what you eat.
Not everyone has successfully learned to deal with their emotions and that’s okay. It’s taught that happiness and anger should be the only emotions you should show to others, but there are so many more. Knowing that it’s good to actually let yourself feel the emotions for each situation can help deal with them as they come. If you’re not comfortable talking them out, you can also try writing them down or try practicing yoga.
Practice being compassionate not only on others but to yourself. Understand that you can’t always control how you feel and you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself about having strong feelings. For example, if something makes you angry, practice dealing with that anger by figuring out how things could be different or talk about what happened, don’t get mad at yourself for feeling that emotion.