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What Everyone Should Know About Depression In Men

What Everyone Should Know About Depression In Men

Depression is an ugly disease. It can turn the most fun-loving, outgoing person into a sad, isolated shadow of their former self. And it’s even worse when it affects a man. I’m not saying women don’t suffer horribly when afflicted with depression — they definitely do — but men tend to suffer through their inner demons alone, trying to “man up” and beat depression by themselves rather than seeking the help they need and deserve. Unfortunately, leaving depression untreated can end up exacerbating the issue, and may lead to further tragedy. Here are some things you should understand.

1. Men are definitely affected by depression

Statistics show that over 6 million people in America suffer from depression each year. While that might seem like a small percentage of the 200+ million men living in the US, remember that depression in men often goes untreated, undiagnosed, and unreported for a variety of reasons — from social stigma to a lack of time, money, and other resources to actually get to a therapist. Just because the disease goes unreported doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

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2. Depression isn’t the same for everyone

When you picture a person suffering from depression, you most likely imagine someone laying on their couch in their PJs, having not showered in days, with a box of tissues next to them. While this may be the case for some, the symptoms of depression vary drastically. While depression in men might not cause them to break down into tears, it will probably manifest in anger, anxiety, and irritability. Men who suffer from depression are also more likely to engage in risky behavior, such as binge drinking, drug use, and promiscuity — stemming from the fact that they don’t care whether or not they’re harming their bodies and lives.

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3. Being depressed doesn’t mean you’re weak

As I alluded to before, depression in men often goes untreated because of certain social stigma. Even the manliest of men can be afflicted by this debilitating disease, but their personality will block them from recognizing the signs and acknowledging that they need help. On the contrary, it’s those who are able to admit they need to seek professional help who are the most courageous, as they’re able to overcome the embarrassment of admitting they need help to improve their lives.

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4. Depression shouldn’t be managed on your own

Depression unfortunately isn’t seen as a disease or illness by the vast majority of people — it’s seen as a sort of stage of sadness that will eventually go away in time. But depression will never simply go away. Thinking it will is akin to thinking cancer will just go away without treatment, or a broken leg will heal if you just walk it off. And just like these other much more obvious ailments, depression will only get worse if left untreated. You might think you’re doing yourself a favor by sweeping your problems under the rug and pretending everything is totally fine, but you’re only bottling things up until the one day all your problems come bubbling to the top.

5. Depression can affect anyone

I mentioned this before, but it needs to be repeated: depression can affect anyone, at any time. And this is why it goes so underreported in today’s society. A person with a great job, beautiful family, and gigantic house can’t possibly suffer from depression, right? Wrong. When depression takes hold of a person, it blinds them from everything going well in his life, and magnifies the negative. Even rich and famous people can find themselves in the clutches of depression: Owen Wilson and the late Heath Ledger are two who come immediately to mind. The most important thing to understand about depression is it has nothing to do with the person’s accomplishments or lifestyle — it’s all about brain chemistry.

Featured photo credit: Depression / ryan melaugh via farm8.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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