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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 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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