Let’s Talk About Men’s Mental Health: 7 Simple Things You Can Do to Improve Your Mood

The last few years have been rough on almost everyone’s mental health, but today, we’re going to focus specifically on men’s mental health. Even though things are better in 2023 in a lot of ways, the lingering effects of the pandemic may be messing with you in ways you don’t even realize. The isolation, uncertainty, and instability of the pandemic led to an increase in depression, anxiety, and substance use in the US, leading many people to seek therapy, medication, and even…this blog post?

Mental health has never been more important, but it’s also a complicated issue. Many people in the US are standing by on waiting lists for therapy appointments and, while therapy is important, you’ll be relieved to know that there are some things you can do for yourself in the meantime to improve your mood. And if you’re generally doing well and aren’t seeking out therapy, you can act on these simple tips for mental health improvement to feel even better! That’s a win-win.

Keep reading to learn some ways to improve mental health and your life.

1. Get outside.

We talked about the importance of sunshine in our blog post about self-care for men but, just to really drive the point home: getting vitamin D is important for your mental health. Whether you’re sitting on the porch, going for a walk, or simply sticking your arms out the window, getting at least a little sun is an easy step to feeling better mentally.

If you live somewhere that’s constantly cloudy, or if it’s winter while you’re reading this, consider getting a therapeutic lamp to help with seasonal depression. Many people who are negatively affected by lack of sunlight swear by the positive mental health effects the light can provide!


Men’s Mental Health


2. Phone a friend.

Building community is more important than ever. To combat any residual isolation or disconnection from the pandemic, try reaching out to someone over text or by calling them. You don’t even have to talk about your problems – just have a conversation with someone, and you’ll feel less alone. Plus, if your friends are funny, you’ll get to experience the mood-boosting effects of laughter.

If you’re into social media, instead of just liking someone’s post and leaving it at that, try to think of a thoughtful comment that will start a conversation. Even if it’s happening over the internet, a moment of connection is a great way to boost your spirits.


Men’s Mental Health


3. Get better sleep.

If you feel like you hate everyone and everything, it may not be depression. You may just not be getting adequate sleep. Sleep is a complicated science, but here are some general tips that may help you sleep better.

  • Don’t look at blue light screens before you go to bed. Some phones have a blue light filter that you can set to go off at a certain time, but it’s even better if you just don’t look at your phone at all in the hours before you sleep. Read a book instead!

  • Don’t drink alcohol or eat a heavy meal too soon before you plan to sleep. Alcohol disrupts your REM sleep and can stop you from staying asleep, and eating a heavy meal right before bed can also negatively affect your sleep quality.

  • It’s also easier to sleep if your body temperature is cool, which you can achieve by turning on a fan, switching to lighter sheets, or sleeping in just your underwear.

To get good quality sleep, I personally swear by tart cherry juice. Just a shot glass worth of tart cherry juice is beneficial because it contains tryptophan and melatonin, both of which are known to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. You can also get into the habit of drinking a cup of herbal tea before you go to bed. Tea companies make a multitude of blends specially designed to knock you out. However, if you drink too much liquid right before bed, you may have to get up in the middle of the night…so, keep that in mind. Everything in moderation.

4. Write it out.

Journaling can help you untangle your thoughts. Sometimes, just seeing your innermost ponderings written on paper can help you see the problem from a new angle, showing you exactly what you can do to solve it. If you’re prone to rumination, or thinking about the same thing over and over again, externalizing the internal is a proven way to quiet your mind.

The best thing about journaling is that it can take any form you want. You can write about what happened in your day, make a list, weigh pros and cons, write a poem, draw a picture, create a chart, or simply scribble onto the page until you feel better.

5. Go off the grid.

Whether or not you realize it, the more time you spend looking at other people’s social media posts, the more time you spend comparing yourself to your friends and family. Social media has been proven to make people feel alienated and to generally be a strain on mental health. Besides, because people generally only post their “highlight reels”, you may find yourself envious of your friends’ seemingly perfect lives, which isn’t a healthy mindset at all.

Why not try a social media detox for your mental health? You can start by turning off your notifications and deleting social media apps, and you can even leave your phone at home for a day while you go on an adventure. Whether you decide to disable your Facebook account, log out of Instagram, or delete Twitter entirely, spending less (or no) time on social media can boost your mood. You can detox for as long as you want to (unless social media is your job, of course.)

6. Do the pen trick.

It sounds weird, but I swear it works: put a pen in your mouth, positioning it horizontally, so that it stretches out your lips and forces you to smile. Just imitating a smile can trick your brain into thinking you’re happy. Don’t knock it until you try it, okay?

7. Buy something new.

Retail therapy is a thing, and you don’t even have to break the bank to treat yourself. Responsibly engaging in retail therapy can trigger your brain to release endorphins and dopamine, the chemicals that make you happy. Just be sure that you’re staying within your budget and that you don’t get into the habit of living beyond your means. Uncontrolled spending, to the point where you’re experiencing money problems, is the opposite of therapeutic.


Men’s Mental Health


Responsibly purchasing something with the intention of enjoying it can give you a boost of confidence, especially if what you buy improves your life. For instance, try treating yourself to a new pair of underwear – although underwear is a practical item, there’s nothing like the joy and confidence that come from slipping into a fresh pair for the first time. You’ll feel like a new man!

What do you do to improve your mental health? Tell us your favorite mental health tips for men below.

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