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The facts about men’s mental health: No.8 The Healthy Mindset

Developing a healthy mindset can help you stay mentally healthy. We have rated this high alongside having a healthy body and creating a healthy lifestyle in the 2021 Know Your Man Facts campaign for International Men’s Day on Friday, November 19.

How you think and some of the attitudes and beliefs you live by can have a huge impact on your overall mental health. And, you can change them if they don’t appear to be serving you.

Here are some key ways to develop a healthy mindset.

Be A Man Who Practices Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a bit of a buzz word, but some people get confused about what it means and how to ‘achieve’ it. For a start, it is not about achieving anything, but living in the present, which is the only place you can live. To live in the past is a memory, to live in the future is fantasy. To live in the now, means you show up for your life every day, something that can be developed through a regular meditation practice, just 10 minutes a day. Mindfulness teaches you to taste your food (instead of wolfing it down mindlessly), absorb your surrounds on a walk, hear the music, listen closely to a friend, watch your thoughts come and go without succumbing to a negative narrative.

Be A Man Who Expresses Gratitude

Following on from mindfulness, noticing the good stuff and expressing appreciation for what is going well in your life, is also a very powerful practice. And it does take practice for many people who are used to dwelling on negative beliefs and have developed a ‘complaining’ habit. To counter this, list out three to five things every day that you are grateful for. You don’t have to write them down, although self-help gurus recommend it. The key is training yourself to notice at regular times of the day. What am I grateful for, who am I grateful to? And be sure to tell them, find ways to express gratitude starting with a warm smile towards someone who served you at the supermarket, or thank your partner sincerely for the dinner they prepared.

Be A Man Who Sets Goals

Goal-setting can provide focus, help you beat procrastination and keep you motivated. Says best-selling author Tony Robbins “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” The act of setting goals, says another famous motivational speaker, Brian Tracy, also forces you to contemplate what you truly want out of life. These goals can relate to anything at all. For example, meditating 10 minutes a day, taking a daily walk to improve fitness, drinking water instead of alcohol before dinner, taking a short course, running a marathon (naturally, you will want to break some of the goals down further).

Be A Man Who Learns How To Reframe Unhelpful Thoughts

A lot of modern psychology is rooted in the philosophy of the Stoics, who taught that it is not the things that happen to us that cause angst, but the thoughts and beliefs we have about those events. Which we can challenge, and change and turnaround. Learning to flip a negative thought is very powerful and something you can train yourself to do by becoming more ‘mindful’ of your self-talk, especially if you are inclined to blame yourself or harbour other self-attacking thoughts.

Read: Want to be happy? Then live like a Stoic for a week (The Conversation)

Be A Man Who Focuses On Things You Are Good At

The second part of this statement is … and things that make you happy. You don’t have to be Leo Kottke to pursue an interest in music, so long as you enjoy playing, that’s good enough. But if you do have a particular skill or talent – whether this is for playing a sport, fixing things, listening to a friend, organising, cooking etc– acknowledge this to yourself. Often the things we like doing are the things we do well and create a great sense of satisfaction. 

Know Your Man Facts

The Australian Men’s Health Forum developed the Know Your Man Facts campaign on Men’s Mental Health to bring more awareness to key issues about men’s mental health.

In a tailor-made presentation for International Men’s Day 2021, KYMF looks at some of the actions you can take to stay mentally healthy, how you can help others and maybe even save someone’s life.

Also in this series:

Read: The facts about men's mental health: No.1 - 75% of suicides are male

Read: The facts about men’s mental health: No.2: Out of Order

Read: The facts about men’s mental health: No.3 Men at Work

Read: The facts about men’s mental health: No.4 Home Alone

Read: The facts about men’s mental health: No.5 You Gotta Have Friends

Read: The facts about men’s mental health: No.6 Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Read: The facts about men’s mental health: No.7 Creating a Healthy Lifestyle

If you would like to learn more about this topic and give a Know Your Man Facts presentation on men’s mental health, please email your request to [email protected]

You can access all other resources to share across your networks here.

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