Men’s mental health Fact No.9: The Healthy Mindset

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Here are some key ways to develop a healthy mindset:

Be A Man Who Practices Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a bit of a buzzword, 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 regular meditation practice, just 10 minutes a day. Mindfulness teaches you to taste your food (instead of wolfing it down mindlessly), absorb your surroundings on a walk, hear the music, listen closely to a friend, and 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, and who am I grateful to? And be sure to tell them, to find ways to express gratitude starting with a warm smile towards someone who served you at the supermarket, or thanking 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, and 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, change, and turn around. 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.

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.

If you think you, or someone you know, has a mental health condition, see your GP for a referral to a mental health professional.



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