Sunny days, warmer temperatures, barbecues and pool parties are just a few things you might think of when someone mentions the month of June. However, did you know June also happens to be Men’s Health Month? To honor this time and raise awareness of the issues men face, we’re sharing some tips on how to listen to your body when it’s telling you something’s not right. The reason? Failing to care for yourself physically, or not encouraging others to care for themselves, can result in poor mental health outcomes. It’s been estimated that 1/3rd of those with chronic illness suffer from depression. Keep reading for ways in which you can stay physically and mentally healthy and go spread this positivity to other men in your life.

Stop Avoiding Routine Checkups

It’s no secret that men are less likely to go to a doctor than women, and while it seems there are many different reasons, some of which include feeling like they can “tough it out,” or even being afraid of the news they may receive, it’s time to erase that particular stigma. Avoiding your doctor, especially when your body is trying to tell you something is wrong, is one of the worst things you can do for your physical as well as mental health. The anxiety many feel about going to the doctor, including ignoring a sign or symptom and hoping it will go away — when in actuality — allowing it to go untreated only exacerbates the issue. And the anxiety.

In addition to visiting their doctor for routine check-ups, men should also be performing self-exams at home which will help them become more in tune with their bodies and may even play a role in saving lives! Living in constant fear that something may be wrong with you physically can induce feelings of profound stress and anxiety, but seeing a healthcare professional to clear up any of these concerns can help to put your mind at ease.

Have The Hard Conversations

Keeping the lines of communication open is crucial in any relationship, especially when it comes to those tough conversations with your male friends. No matter how many times you feel like you’ve hit a wall on a particular topic regarding physical or mental health, it’s important that you keep the lines of communication open. These conversations will range in topic but the idea behind talking them out remains the same.

Everyone is going through their own struggles but seeking help is the first step in solving the problem. For example, maybe your male friend is under a lot of pressure at work and their stress has impacted their ability to perform sexually. Although it may be a tough conversation to have, encourage them to visit a doctor who can discuss medications to treat erectile dysfunction and provide a stress management plan.

If your friend is not yet at the point where they feel comfortable talking with someone face-to-face, there are a number of online therapy options, which provide a therapist at their fingertips.

While you may feel uncomfortable at first, engaging in these conversations may actually strengthen your relationship with your loved one and help you learn a thing or two along the way!

Maintain a Healthy Diet

The food we eat not only fuels our body but also our mind. Maintaining a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, protein and other necessary nutrients t puts you at a lower risk of developing chronic diseases. In addition, there is a correlation between eating healthy and feeling good mentally.

Good “mood foods,” as they’re often referred to, promote the growth of healthy bacteria that positively affect your neurotransmitter production. Because your GI tract is home to millions of these neurotransmitters, which are responsible for sending positive messages from your gut to your brain, you want to keep it in good shape! There’s evidence that sticking to a healthy diet allows for fewer mood fluctuations.

Whether you realize it or not, your physical health can have a major impact on your mental health. This is why it’s so important to visit your doctor, express your health concerns, and maintain a healthy diet. When it comes to keeping your mental and physical health in check, being as proactive as possible will help lessen your risk of suffering in the long run and keep your mind and body healthy for years to come.

Originally published on Talkspace.

More from Talkspace:

How to Be Brave About Your Mental Health

Why You Should Celebrate Small Wins

Is Your Boss Affecting Your Mental Health?

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