This month it’s Men’s Health month: #menstarttalking
This year’s theme is about encouraging us guys to open up and start talking about our health (mental and physical) and to get along to the Doc for a check-up. The strap-line is “Ask Your Mate How He’s Doing.”
Why is it so important that guys talk to each other and about their health?
Because 3,000 NZ men die every year from conditions that could have been prevented.
Talking about our health isn’t easy for us guys….
At networking events when guys ask me what sort of coaching I do, I tell them I specialise in helping people manage stress, anxiety and depression. The usual response is “Stress, there’s a lot of that about. You must be really busy.” To which I reply, “I am. But 90% of the people seeking my help with stress and anxiety are women. Guys just don’t come to me for help.” At that point the questioner usually moves the conversation in a different direction!
Guys don’t like to talk about their symptoms or feelings, particularly with other men
Prior to becoming a Mind Coach, I was a senior manager in a large public sector organisation. I was pretty much permanently stressed, and I was surrounded by guys who were stressed. I never talked to any of my mates/colleagues about how I was feeling or how they were feeling. And I never sought help. Why was that?
With the benefit of hindsight, for a number of reasons:
- I had become so used to feeling stressed on a daily basis, I had come to accept it as the norm.
- I had a mind-set that men only go to the doctors if they are really ill. Prior to my painful experience with stress, I had only been to the doctor’s a couple of times as an adult.
- I suspect I believed that it was ‘unmanly’ to admit to being stressed particularly as none of the guys around me were talking about being stressed.
- I was scared the doctor would find something wrong with me
- Other than a doctor or psychiatrist I didn’t know what other kinds of help were available.
Plus for many men there’s still a stigma attached to experiencing mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression.
It often takes a crisis to trigger guys to seek help
My experience with stress changed my life. Once I recovered from the symptoms of chronic stress, my desire to learn all I could about stress, so I never had to experience it again, put me on the path to becoming a Mind Coach. It’s unfortunate that it often takes a health crisis to trigger men into seeking help (I was one of them). The fact is - prevention is better than cure.
As I mentioned above, when I was experiencing stress I didn’t know I was, largely because the symptoms had become ‘normal’ for me. So I think the first step in guys becoming better at managing their health is to gain more knowledge including getting better at recognising the warning signs. In relation to stress, I have a handout I provide to people that describes the stress symptoms to watch out for. You can download the handout below:
Helping ourselves and our mates - it’s as simple as starting a conversation.
Knowing what the symptoms of stress are, not only helps you know when it’s time for you to take action to lower your stress, it enables you to identify when your mates are experiencing stress. Often when we think something is up with our mates, we won’t mention it. Instead we make conversation about rugby, cars, work. If you think your mate is stressed or unwell, I would encourage you to simply ask “How are you feeling?”
Having asked that question, the www.Menshealthnz.org.nz site has some tips on how to keep the conversation going:
Don’t be afraid of what he might say – you don’t need to have the answers. If you have had a similar experience, tell him about it. If you are stuck for what to say next, try something like:
“What are we going to do about this?”
“Is there anything I can do to make this better?”
If you think something is up, but you can’t get past the small talk, you can always say:
“You have my number if you want to talk about it.”
Men’s HealthTrust NZ also offers this advice. Talking about this stuff with your mate is not burdening him; it’s showing real friendship and concern. Don’t give up if he’s not prepared to talk. Perhaps share with your mate your own experience (e.g. with stress) and what you’re doing about it. When your mate talks just listen, don’t try to fix or judge.
Talk to a Coach - get some mind coaching
You are probably familiar with the idea of using a coach or trainer to help you get your body into shape or to achieve your goals. You may have a business coach, work coach or personal trainer. Your mind needs a coach too, because our mind-set is a key factor in how much stress and anxiety we experience. When you work with a coach it's easier to open up and talk about things in a safe, relaxed and confidential environment.
As a Mind Coach I teach people how to change, use, and control their mind to overcome mental challenges, reduce stress and anxiety and live a more fulfilled life. I work with individuals to help them build awareness of how stress and anxiety is manifested in their lives and show them how they can stop it before it ever begins.
Imagine that within a few sessions you could have rid your life of stress and anxiety and be living a life of happiness and fulfilment and be back to your old self once again. It’s possible once you open up and start talking.
So come on guys let’s start talking!
If you would like to explore how my mind coaching approach could help you overcome your problems (including stress and anxiety) or achieve your goals, call me on 021 056 8389, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the Book Now button below to schedule a complimentary half hour coaching consultation.
REMEMBER - "When you change your mind you change your life."
Have a healthy week.
Tony helps individuals to harness the power of their mind to achieve success and well-being in life, work and business. Tony's particular area of expertise lies in helping people to 'change their minds' so they overcome limiting beliefs and unhelpful habits and gain freedom from worry, anxiety and stress. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of co-active coaching, hypnosis, positive psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).