Men’s Mental Health - How Does Self-Awareness Help?

June 15, 2021

Mental health is a vital component of overall health and wellness every bit as much as physical health is. Yet, it’s often overlooked in discussions surrounding men’s health in our society.  According to research conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), about 1 in 10 men report having experienced significant anxiety and depression at some point in their lives. However, less than half of those men reported having sought treatment for those feelings. Suicide rates for men are around 3.5 times higher than among women, and about 6 out of every 10 men report having experienced at least one significant traumatic event in their lives. In contrast, about 5 out of every 10 women report the same. 


Men's mental health should be treated equally to their physical health. Suffering in silence will exacerbate these symptoms and lead to therapeutic difficulties in the future. Professional assistance is available through a variety of channels. Talking with the men in your life with compassion, support, and empathy is one of the best ways to start giving them the confidence to talk about their mental wellbeing. You can do this by:


First, pay close attention to their actions such as impatience, unwanted arguments, addiction practices, and familial disruption. 


Secondly, seek professional help which might give you a handful of solutions with specific strategies.


In such instances, self-awareness or acceptance is also critical, especially for men who are suffering from mental illnesses.


The ability to be self-aware does not come easily for a lot of people. It can sometimes be a long, harrowing journey for any one person to become increasingly aware of who they are and how others perceive them. But self-awareness for a man is much more than just simply knowing who you are. It can become a powerful tool that can help you succeed in your everyday life. According to the Harvard Business Review, becoming self-aware can immensely help in your professional life, allowing you to become a better leader, manager, and colleague. 


So what exactly does it mean to be self-aware and is it attainable? Self-awareness in the case of men's mental health involves being acutely aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, personality, goals, and behaviors. It essentially is a state where one becomes the absolute center of attention. Furthermore, it is a very attainable state of mind for anyone willing to look inside themselves and become familiar with the person they truly are. 


The importance of self-awareness when considering a person’s current mental state can be paramount to success as an individual. What this means is that being aware of your mental health goes hand-in-hand with self-awareness and can do wonders when attempting to alleviate some of the stress that comes along with negative emotions brought on by declining mental health. Knowing what you need when you need it is an incredible tool, one that can change the way one views themselves dramatically and positively. 


There are several ways of beginning this process or cultivating what self-awareness is already there. It takes time, though there are a myriad of mental exercises and activities that you can do all by yourself as soon as you are ready. 

1. Journal, journal, journal!

  • Although most men don't like Journaling, it provides a cathartic and easy way to work through your emotions in a private setting. Not only this but several positive health benefits come from creating a daily routine that includes extensive journaling. These benefits include stress reduction, an improvement of immune function, a sharper memory, mood booster, and the strengthening of emotional functions. 
  • As for increasing your self-awareness for men's mental health, journaling can open your mind and allow you to work through your thoughts more cohesively. It also provides a tangible record of how you respond to certain situations. This can be helpful to more thoroughly understand how you work and what makes you tick. Overall, journaling can help you organize your thoughts and give you the ability to think through certain decisions or actions that can ultimately improve your daily life. 


2. Daily Self-Reflection

  • Take some time to look within yourself and notice what emotions you feel at any given moment. Maybe you had a bad day and want to figure out how any negative emotions you may have felt played a role in the outcome. A good time to do this could be right before bed. Take a mental tally of all the emotions you felt that day and consider how your reaction to them may have played a part in the way your day went. 
  • Furthermore, there are other mental activities that you can do at any point during the day to check in with yourself. This could be observing your stream of consciousness, observing other people, or taking a walk. See what is best for you and what you enjoy the most. After all, it is all about you.


3. Meditate

  • There are so many benefits to meditation, including stress reduction, better control of anxiety, and better overall emotional health. Meditation can be the ultimate ally to increasing your self-awareness. There are specific guided meditations called “self-inquiry meditations” that can be used to help yourself dig deep. These meditations will allow you to look within yourself to see all possible aspects of who you are as a person by forcing you to ask and answer questions about yourself in the hopes that you will find a deeper meaning to all things involving you and your life. It is a difficult task, but practicing this method can help you to learn about yourself in a completely different way and perhaps will allow you to begin to treat yourself more kindly and positively. 


4. Take Personality Tests

  • This is an easy and relatively fun way to help you understand yourself better. Personality tests are designed to show you exactly how your personality measures up with others and what that means for you. Most of these tests are psychologically proven to help you understand yourself better--it’s as simple as that. Plus, they’re fun! To get yourself started, check out the official Myers-Briggs Test, True Colours, and the Enneagram. Each of these tests tells you something different about yourself and will allow you to see yourself from a different perspective, one that is arguably psychological. 

5. Ask for Feedback

  • This is a very simple though important tool that can help you in this journey to being more aware of yourself in many different social situations. Asking for feedback can yield positive results--though only if you are pleased with the answers. It should be pointed out that the answers to the questions you ask may be difficult to hear in some aspects, though it will ultimately allow you to see yourself as others see you, which can be a very valuable thing. 
  • Though, you should stick to inquiring only with those with whom you trust explicitly. These people will know you better than anyone else and will most likely have seen many different sides to you. You can start by asking questions like, “How do I react amid stressful situations?”, “What is one thing about me that you value?”, or “Do you consider me to be a good friend?”. The answers may surprise you, but in the end, you will feel glad that you can see yourself from many different perspectives. 


Becoming self-aware about your mental health issues is no easy task, but lots of time and work can go into it to allow you to feel like you are your best self. This, in turn, will allow you to become acutely aware of what goes on within your body and mind, which can help to alleviate some of the stress brought on by a negative mindset. Your mental health will be greatly impacted by your ability to recognize certain emotions as they occur, a skill that can only be succeeded through rigorous self-discovery.


Be aware and be open. This is just the beginning, but the journey to self-awareness for improving mental health issues starts as soon as you open your mind to all aspects of yourself. 


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