When it comes to health and wellness, it’s no secret that a plethora of social constructs, harmful ideology and the patriarchy has detrimental effects for both sexes. Harmful ‘lessons’ and thoughtless things people say to boys and young men such as ‘boys don’t cry’ and ‘be strong, you are a man’ are statements that’s boys and young men internalise and as such grow up to become men who believe these things.
The conditioning set in place by the patriarchy is failing the very people it intended to put at an advantage in so many harmful ways. One of the ways being that many men find it difficult to talk about their emotions, to communicate, to get their point across without using violence and aggression, to cry, to ask for help and reach out when in need. As a society we need to start teaching men and boys to be a little bit more in touch with their emotions, give them tools to help them control their anger, aggression and empower them to heal their past traumas so as not to inflict more trauma onto the next person. As much as it is our societal responsibility to dismantle the patriarchy, it should also be each man’s responsibility to make it a point to unlearn harmful beliefs about their own mental health, to acquire healthy coping mechanisms and to live in such a way that makes the world a better place not only for themselves but for the opposite sex as well.
Here are a few ways in which men can take better care of themselves and their mental health as well as make our society a better place:
Learn to communicate
It may not be the easiest thing to talk to just anybody so maybe seeking professional help through a psychological counsellor, psychologist or life coach might be a good comfort place. These health professionals are bound by confidentiality and so what happens in therapy stays in therapy. Therapy can provide you with a safe holding space in which you could learn to become more in touch with your emotions and learn effective, non-violent communication skills through psychoeducation.
Channel your aggression
According to this article, “Why are men so violent”, men are said to be responsible for 90% of the worlds homicides. This shocking statistic might be present because instead of teaching men to be expressive and emotional, the patriarchy teaches them to be aggressive and violent in order to get what they want regardless of who and what gets destroyed in the process. When men learn to channel their aggressive energy in a healthy, non-harming way, society becomes a better place. Aggression can be channelled through sports and fitness activities such as weight-lifting, cross fit and running.
Learn to relax and destress
Certain mindfulness practices such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing can help men learn how to relax and destress. It is also another tool that can be channelled in times of anger and a great way to learn to have better control over emotional responses that might be harmful or hurtful.