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20 for 20: What are three things men can do to stay mentally healthy?

With a focus on World Mental Health last month, the Australian Men’s Health Forum asked men to evaluate the 10 Habits of Mentally Healthy Men.

These were:

Be Healthy: Get a good night’s sleep. Eat a healthy diet. Avoid excess alcohol and drugs and have a regular check up with your GP. 95% of the men surveyed agreed that looking after physical health was a key drive of staying mentally healthy. Read more.

Be Active: Daily exercise has astonishing benefits for the body and mind, people are encouraged to do something every day and to 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise a week. Activities that involve more than one person also help people feel more socially connected. Read more.

Be Connected: Social connection is one of the greatest determinants of mental health and a growing number of organisations and individuals in the grassroots men’s mental health movement are driving social connection for blokes in multiple ways from Man Walks, to Mr Perfect barbecues to men’s reading groups in pub settings. Find out about them here.

Be Happy: Feeling happy is integral to mental wellbeing, but what makes a man happy? One proven route is to do what you love, to pursue your interests, to be so involved in an enjoyable activity that you lose track of time and slip into a state of ‘flow’. Read what Positive Psychology pioneer Martin Seligman has to say about living a ‘pleasant life’.

Be Outdoors: The power of being outdoors is universally accepted as nature’s way of creating mental health benefits which is why so many successful mental health programs are taking men out of their living rooms, away from the distractions of a ‘normal’ routine. The outdoors is open to everyone every day. Find out about the Queensland Government’s embrace nature initiative.

Be a Legend: Helping others increases social wellbeing and comes in many forms. Volunteering may lead to stronger social networks and friendships, a sense of purpose, learning new skills, becoming more active physically and mentally and even increasing your chances of getting work. The men’s health sector is filled with individuals starting something to help other men. Join them.  

Be Challenged: Sometimes through helping others you will challenge yourself along the way. Sometimes, you can simply set goals and the sense of accomplishment will also lead to a feeling of great satisfaction. There’s no end to how these challenges unfold. Big or small, most men in the AMHF survey agreed that learning new skills or challenging themselves helped them stay mentally healthy. Here’s some more ideas

Be Strong: This habit is linked to playing to your strengths, finding out what you are really good at and putting your talents to good use. This creates a sense of meaning and purpose. Health Direct says you probably have good mental health if you feel good about yourself, you have good self-esteem, are confident when faced with new situations, feel optimistic and don’t always blame yourself. Read more

Be Resilient: According to the Mayo Clinic, being resilient can help protect people from various mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. How do you build resilience? Here are a few tips.

Be Supported: Finally, accessing help-giving support services if you need them, can help you stay mentally healthy. Along with friends and family, helplines, support groups, a doctor or mental health professional can help break a cycle of despair, depression, anxiety. There’s a growing number of support services and resources that specifically focus on men’s mental health issues. Find out more.

The Big Three

If you had to choose three habits, or include any more to this list, what would they be? Take this question to your International Men’s Day get-togethers before, on or after International Men’s Day on November 19, 2020.

Let’s get Australia talking about men!


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