Coping with mental wellbeing as a middle aged man

Posted on: 03 July 2017 by 50connect editorial

Middle-aged men often feel lost which can lead to depression. David and Dan from The Mind Changers offer advice for those struggling in later life.

Man sat on a bed

Psychologist and Cognitive Behaviour Therapist David, and Hypnotherapist and Wellbeing Specialist Dan believe that the peak age for men struggling with stress is 45-54 and those aged 45-59 report the lowest level of life satisfaction.

The word "health" derives from "whole" and so when speaking of ‘mental health’ we should really be thinking of mental “wholeness.” That is the brain's ability to function across a wide range of mental, emotional, and social challenges.

All too often, these days, the emphasis is on the cognitive and affective aspects of our lives while we tend to ignore an individual’s social and physical well-being all of which contribute significantly to remaining mentally healthy as we age.

We receive many requests from older people to help them with their apparent mental decline and anxiety or depression. In many cases, the root cause of these is a sense of loneliness, of separation from others and from feelings of isolation and abandonment. It is in our view essential to take a holistic view of our lives rather than to focus too narrowly on one or two aspects of it.

We are social animals who need the company of others, not necessarily in an intimate relationship, but as a network of supportive friends and acquaintances.

We should never forget, however, feeling lonely is not the same as being alone. Indeed, many of those who contact us say they experience loneliness even though they are still part of a family and often have a partner. What they are missing in their lives someone to whom they feel emotionally close and to whom they can trust sufficiently to share their deepest secrets, desires and fears.

As one gets older friends and relatives move away, start new lives that exclude us for various reasons, and very sadly pass away. So how can we ensure that every life stage we find compatible companions to share our joys, our burdens, our problems and our successes?

While there are no single pathways to developing new relationships, there are certain steps one can take, and pretty much any age, to prevent a spiralling down into isolation and loneliness.

Here are practical ways for improving your mental health

Be part of something

Men cycling

Join a club or organisation where you can meet people in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. This could be one related to a hobby, such as painting, cooking, photography, fishing and so on. If you are religious then joining a church organisation could be rewarding as you will meet people who share your viewpoint. The great thing is to go out and do stuff rather than sit at home worrying that you would not feel at home or that the effort is too great.

Put your name down

Sign up for an evening class at your further education centre. If you have a passion for anything from electronics to cookery to computing then you are sure to find like-minded people of all ages on such a course in addition to companionship learning something new, at any age, is a great way of stimulating brain and memory.

Try dating again

If you are alone after spending years in a relationship and would like to find a new partner, then why not join a dating agency? There are many online and age is no barrier to finding love and happiness.

Offer your time

Volunteer to help a good cause. Try working in a charity shop, food bank, or your local hospital for example. Most are crying out for people to help them and helping others is a great way of banishing loneliness and a sense of uselessness which sometimes comes with the passing years.

Break a sweat

Brisk exercise at least 30 minutes, 3 times per week helps to lift anxiety and depression, reduces stress. It also improves memory formation, sleep, helps to lift tiredness and increases mental alertness, and has benefits to fitness increasing energy levels, endurance and stamina, reducing weight, cholesterol and improving cardiovascular fitness, and increases interest in sex.

Talk it out

Talking it out

Seek support or find a friend to talk to if you are struggling with mental health problems or struggling with stress. Men are less likely than women to seek support when they are struggling with mental health issues.

Get some air

Get out in nature, being in nature increases self-esteem and mental wellbeing, and improves sleep.

Do you feel fulfilled?

Do an emotional needs audit: are you getting your needs fulfilled? If not, then look at what you can do to find healthy ways of meeting those needs - like need to have a sense of control within your life, a need to feel a sense of belonging, a need to give and receive attention, having a good mind-body connection, a need to have a sense of purpose and a need for a sense of status.

Visit The Mind Changers for further advice

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