Man up and prioritise your mental health
By Chibs Okereke
It’s no secret that guys are terrible at talking about their problems, particularly when they’re emotional ones. Men don’t want to appear weak or burden others with their worries, and often have no idea why they feel so down or stressed out. So what do they do about it? Sadly, not a lot.
That’s why we have Mental Health Awareness day. To shed light on the issue and instigate change. It’s no wonder men’s mental health issues are at an all-time high, with three in four suicides being male. And it’s those working in isolated, male dominated professions who are suffering the most. Remote miners and construction workers are significantly more at risk of psychological distress than the general population and it’s not hard to see why.
While there’s a lot to be gained financially as a miner, being away from family and friends is tough. You miss important events, it puts a strain on relationships and you can feel socially very isolated. There’s also the added pressure of harsh working conditions, long hours and lack of sunlight – all which can lead to things like depression, anxiety, insomnia and substance abuse.
Sounds pretty bleak right? Well the good news is there’s a very simple way to help give your mental health a big kick in the right direction. It’s called meditation. Now, if this conjures up images of cross legged hippies or religious gurus chanting, relax because it doesn’t have to be like that at all. Meditation is actually very simple. It’s free, you can do it anywhere, it doesn’t require any skills or training to start, and you can tailor it to suit you. It’s like medicine for your soul that you can self prescribe.
Why meditation? Well the science is bullet proof. Countless research worldwide shows that regular meditation is guaranteed to help make you feel happier and healthier – even if you’re only doing it for a measly five minutes a day. It can also help you sleep better, increase your immunity, boost productivity and motivation, give you more self-control, and even help you feel less lonely.
If you’ve never practiced meditation before though and don’t know how to go about it, then a good place to start is Mind Mechanic. Developed to help combat the male mental health crisis, it’s a brand new, no nonsense free meditation app designed specifically for guys to help them tune more into life and get back on track. Featuring 360 immersive environments and straightforward guided meditations that really work, it’s meditation for guys who don’t know the first thing about meditation.
So let’s face it, there really isn’t any excuse not to take care of yourself. It’s time for us guys to man up and realise there’s nothing wrong with admitting we’re struggling and take some time out to prioritise our wellbeing. After all, everyone deserves to be the best they can be, and meditation and mindfulness can help get you there.
Chibs Okereke is a qualified meditation and mindfulness teacher specialising in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). The Mind Mechanic app will be free and available in the coming months from iTunes and Google Play. For more details visit www.mindmechanicapp.com or follow them on Instagram and Facebook.