Anyone struggling with mental adversities whether it’s depression, anxiety, self-doubt, etc. it’s time to make the change. It’s time to take a stand and better yourself, and to become the person you want to be. Not the person people think you should be. Yes, there are so many men in this world struggling with mental issues in their lives but some of these men that struggle the most, don’t speak out about how their lives are weighing down on them, and how they feel trapped within it.

As men, we are taught to be the “strong” ones. Not just strong in the physical sense, but mentally as well. Men are conditioned since birth to be the “man of the house” when our fathers were away, or if there wasn’t a father figure around, but what does being a man entail? Being a man is taking care of the family and putting your emotions to the side because you don’t have the time to deal with them, but the matter of fact is, your mental health is essential! I’ve learned in the past year that mental health is one of the most important aspects of your life. You must learn how to love yourself before you are to love others.

So, why are men not bringing this aspect of self-love into their lives? Are men scared that they will be looked down upon by other males around them or are men worried that they will be seen as lesser because they have emotions? Whatever the reason is, it doesn’t matter. One of the most important aspects that a man must have in your life, whether it sounds selfish or not is self-love. Put yourself first! Going through a difficult time? Take a few moments out of your day to focus on yourself. Stop trying to distract yourself throughout the day to escape your negative feelings and thoughts.

The only way to resolve any conflict is to face it head-on. If you keep pushing it to the side, the feelings of negativity will always be there and you will be stuck in a constant loop of trying to avoid your feelings. So if you’re in this loop, how do you get out?

There are a few things that I have been doing in my life to try and escape this constant loop, and If they sound helpful, take a few moments out of your day to give them a shot. There may be better options for you to seek out to help with what you may be going through, but this is what I have been doing to better myself and try and become a happier person.

First and foremost if your situation is too heavy to carry by yourself, ask for help. This for some will be the hardest barrier to overcome when trying to heal yourself. There is no shame in asking for help, and as men we are taught to do things on our own, to try and work things out ourselves. This needs to change, and over the years it has. Personally, even though I was taught it is okay to ask for help, I would try not to because I thought I looked weak if I couldn’t figure out a task on my own. Although it took a push from the people closest to me to go and see a therapist. I now know that it was the best decision that I could have made, and I wouldn’t have sought the help I needed if it wasn’t for those people in my life. Therapy is eye-opening in almost every situation. There’s just so much you can unravel not only about the difficult time you are going through but about yourself, who you want to be. It gives you a goal of who you want to work towards becoming, but not even that, therapy lets you see others in a different light.

The sessions that I had let me see the person that I wanted others to view me as. I started going to these sessions, because I have a lot of family issues, and by living in two separate households since the age of 2 there has been a lot of time to grow up with different views on life. I had four different parents try to raise me to the best of their ability, and I see myself in them all. The good, the bad, but also their small little quirks. It can be as simple as how you position your hand while you’re driving a car. As I started to go to therapy I was learning to ask the bigger questions. To try and not just see my side of situations but other sides as well, and try to reconcile my own views by trying to see things in a new light. In the end, it might not have changed how I viewed something, but at least I gave a different view a chance.

Alongside therapy, you can try meditating and being mindful. This is only something I have started recently, and it has improved my thought process just by doing 10 minutes every day. You might think that you don’t have the time to sit around and do nothing because you’re so busy, but those are the days that it’s most important to take a minute and breathe. Even if we think we are busy, we never are truly as busy as we think we are. Those 10 minutes that you are sitting in a car, or waiting for a meeting on your phone. Instead of being on your phone activate your brain in a positive manner. Take that time to think and reflect. A lot of men make time out of their day to go to the gym and train their bodies. Try and think of meditation as the gym for our mind. We try and think of what can solve our problem by either pushing it aside, or by spending all our energy thinking about how to solve it, and not actually doing anything to better ourselves to resolve the issue. Spend the time thinking of a solution to your issues, but stop once you know what you have to do! Go out and do what you need to do! We get so caught up on making our lists of stuff to do just to delay the inevitable of having to do our task and complaining about having to do them. Instead of thinking about the negatives of I have to do this, this, and this today. Try and change your perspective to I GET to do this, this, and this today. Be grateful for what you get to do in your day that others might not be able to.

You can even try journaling. This activity may be the one most men may stray from, as it can be seen as feminine, but apparently, so are emotions, and if you’re here you mind as well try it out. You don’t have to write down your day. Write down how you fell in the moment. Sometimes just writing down how you feel can help ease that feeling, and give you a sense of peace that you were able to express yourself in some way to release the tension that the feeling gave you.

Are you mad at the world? Write why.

Are you mad at your significant other? Write why.

Are you depressed, write why you think you’re depressed You can’t just stop there though.

Just writing them down isn’t going to be the end all be all. Act upon your feelings and try to change them. Something that I have found helpful while journaling is to take two minutes and write down five things that you’re grateful for. Don’t think too hard about them, but by doing this it makes you a more humble person. It lets you reflect on your life and realize what you have, and what others might not have. You will become a better person just by doing this small activity. Add it into your morning or night routine, and try and think about a few throughout the day to remind yourself of why you’re working so hard to meet your goals in life.

People can be full of hate in today’s world. We are we putting people down when they are trying to better themselves. We are we hurting others to make ourselves feel better about our own flaws. Why as men are we so ignorant to the idea of self-love? Why can’t we see that by bettering ourselves we change? We can be better for not only ourselves but for everyone around you. You have to realize that everyone’s a critic. If you’re trying out a new hobby, change in style, or uprooting your life and starting over? Give it a few months. If your decision doesn’t work out, so be it, but at least know it was your decision and not someone else’s. This is something that I struggle with on a day to day basis. Do what makes the world a happier place for yourself! It’s hard to learn how to just be yourself and not care what others think. It is your life so take control of it, damn it!

So take a minute to be selfish for a moment. Ask yourself “what can I do for me today, to make myself a better person?”. Then after you found your answer, ask yourself “what can you do for someone else to better their life?”. Our mental barriers don’t have to be our downfalls. Turn them into your driving force to be better, and do better!

Take this article as you will. You don’t have to agree with what I am saying, but allow yourself to think about it. Ask yourself am I doing what I can to better myself, and making the changes in my life to get to where I want to be in the next 5 to 10 years, and then take a moment and decide if it’s time to stop trying to live up to everyone else, and take control of your life, and your barriers and learn how to love yourself.