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June 13, 2023
Advice on men’s mental health from the men of Complete
It’s National Men’s Health Week. Healthy bodies, hard exercise, good diet, and regular visits to the doctor are all things we associate with keeping healthy. However, it is important to understand that mental health is just as important.
Last year, we asked the men of Complete to give advice on how you can find the strength to open up and talk about your thoughts and feelings. This year, we have decided to do the same.
Here’s what the men of Complete had to say…
The commonest cause of ill health in men is cardiovascular disease – a preventable condition. The traditional “risk factors” that the medical profession talk about don’t explain all the problem. It’s important, of course, to intervene on the factors you can do something about (family history and age you can’t). That means we should all stop smoking, lose weight and exercise regularly to reduce our risk of diabetes. It’s also sensible to eat healthily. But the major risk factor that is most often ignored is poorly managed emotion. If you’re depressed when you have a heart attack you are 4X more likely to be in serious trouble in the next 12 months. The comparable stat for smoking is 2X. So depression is twice as dangerous as smoking in this regard. Learning how to better regulate your emotions will increase the chances that you exercise regularly and also eat better. Better managed emotions can also help reduce your risk of high blood pressure, another risk factor for heart disease. Emotional regulation is also vital for build strong relationships and loneliness and isolation is also a risk factor for heart disease. The significant impact of poorly regulation emotion on your health is one of the reasons we have built an wellbeing App (https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/complete-app/id1518205206). You can make a massive difference to you own future by using the App for just a few minutes every day.
I like to experiment with things that supposedly have mental health benefits. For the last year or so I have been really rigorous about sleep and exercise. I´ve never been a morning person but I´ve started to experiment with waking up an hour early and getting my movement it. The surprising side effect are two emotions: 1. A sense of accomplishment at the start of the day 2. I´m ready for anything and the day can go in whatever direction because I´ve done something important for me. So I´ve stopped going through the day with my version of “you’re not good enough cause you haven’t exercised and now you have to take that time away from family or friends and you have to get it in before the day is over and blah blah blah blah….”.
The second thing I wholeheartedly recommend is finishing your morning shower off on COLD. It has many physiological and psychological benefits but I have found the noticeably increased positive mood to be an unexpected positive. Start of hot, then try 30 seconds of cold before you dry off. Try to increase your time for up to 90 seconds to 3 minutes. You will never look back.
The scale of how appropriate the word is perceived to be is vast and as a result has weighted risk as a conditioned attachment to it.
However its strength allows us to break down barriers, builds trust and courage, creating a compassionate mindset. It is the feeling and language often used in a moment that is truly important to us or with people who are. We are often called to say it when others need it most, but it is always there, even when spoken over by other voices inside our head.
So love more by showing those you do. Acts of meaning are one of the most powerful ways of demonstrating our worth to ourselves, even if no one else sees it. So remember to love yourself for each action you take.
It’s an old cliché that men don’t talk about their feelings There’s some truth in that but in my experience it’s an unhelpful simplification. I’ve sat in many conversations wherein men have shared deeply, openly and honestly about how they feel – most men have far more capacity for this than they realise, they’ve just not found the place to do it. We all have a set of criteria that need to be met before we can trust a person or group and open up. Getting clear on your unique trust recipe – ‘who and why do I trust?’ – can be a good first step in finding the support you need to grow.
In my experience men can often undervalue the importance of a good support network. We internalise the idea that it is weak to ask for help or to lean on people when we need to. But if we are willing to be vulnerable and be supportive when others are with us, our relationships get stronger and we can deal with more of what life throws at us. You don’t have to be the hero on your own. All great heroes have allies, a family or a team that helps them to succeed.
Wake up with appreciation. Prepare your mind the night before so the moment you wake in the morning, you can visualise the appreciation for the day.
A physician and neuroscientist, Dr. Alan Watkins is recognised as an international expert on leadership and human performance.
Over the years he has coached thousands of individuals to greater levels of performance, transformed organisational cultures and helped leaders discover new ways to succeed. Alan has become a confidant to many of the world’s top leaders over the past 22 years.Read bio