June is Men’s Health Month. Even though our society doesn’t talk about it much, men’s health is an important topic for all of us, men and women. If we take a holistic approach to the topic and think about men from the point of view of physical and mental health, we see how crucial it is to well-being for all of society. Here is one startling fact:
At every age, American men have poorer health and are at a higher risk of death compared to American women
As a psychologist, having worked with men for over 30 years, I’d like to share some of the major pieces of advice I give them about how we, as men, can take better care of ourselves.
- Even though we are raised to be successful at work, please remember that our ultimate happiness has more to do with the success of our primary family relationships than with our work.
- We need to take better care of ourselves, both physically and mentally. The statistics are clear: men die earlier than women and are sicker at every stage through the lifecycle. We need to do what we can: start by signing up with and getting to know a healthcare provider, and then get regular screenings.
- No role or responsibility is more important than our role as a father. Our sons and daughters need us, and hunger for our love.
- We need to avoid taking stupid risks to prove our manhood.
- We need to recognize that we do not always have the best mental health: men tend to drink too much, and deny depression, anxiety, as well as other addictions. Recognize that it as a sign of strength, not weakness, to go to therapy.
- No need to act as if we are wiser and smarter than women. It’s best to accept that, in general, women are better adapted to making relationships work.
- More sex will likely not solve any of your problems.
- Thinking about your wife, daughters, and sisters, take a stand against men’s sexual objectification of women.
- We live in an unprecedented time of rapidly changing ideas about gender roles. Rather than dwelling on the way things were, we have a great opportunity to move beyond the narrow role definitions of manhood and evolve a new, healthier way of thinking about what it means to be a man.
As always, I look forward to reading your reactions and hearing about any additional advice you may share.