The sheer nature of boss-employee relationship, regardless of how laid-back it might be, guarantees that there will be at least some friction and tension. The boss, in essence, needs you to do some work for them and has a spectrum of tools to use in getting what they want out of you. This will always cause strain, that’s just how it is. Work-related stress falls under the top five life pressures for the majority of working people. Read more “Difficult Bosses: A Man’s Survival Guide”
According to a highly regarded study, one in six boys in the U.S. will experience sexual abuse before turning 18. Interestingly, the issue has long remained invisible due to societal myths about male sexual abuse and cultural “norms” around masculinity. Sexual victimization is often branded as a “women’s issue.” And it is! But, it is a men’s issue too. Ignoring the male side of sexual victimization leaves American society (and elsewhere) unable to comprehend the magnitude of male childhood sexual abuse. Read more “How To Support A Male Survivor Of Child Sexual Abuse”
In our previous blog “Attachment Styles and How We Relate to Others” we talked about four main ways in which we tend to form our relationships and try to satisfy our emotional needs
We also mentioned that attachment styles are something that we acquire in our childhood and mostly stick to it throughout our lives.
This post will dig deeper into what potential problems a non-secure attachment style can cause for our life and that of our partners, as well as why and how we can prevent or stop maladaptive behavior in romantic relationships.
Where is the problem?
Our attachments originate from our first attachment experience, that with our primary caretaker, usually our mothers. Following this relationship, we build on it over the course our formative years and add in different beliefs about the world and the people that surround us.
With time, we incorporate all our early experiences and form what we believe to be our own way of approaching others and needing them. Yet, the problem arises basically from the fact that, when we first acquired our attachment style, we had fairly shallow and necessarily limited understanding of the world. But we rarely revisit these deeply rooted feelings, ways and beliefs as adults.
So, if we grew up, for example, with our needs in childhood being inconsistently satisfied, or not at all, it is possible that we will form a worldview in which we, on one hand, have strong need for intimacy, but on the other, we strongly doubt that we are worth it.
In other words, the fact that our needs were unpredictably satisfied when we were growing up made us develop a profound feeling of our own inadequacy, of not being deserving of love and praise. We interpreted this situation as being our fault because we lack what was needed to receive the affection that we needed. And we hardly ever set our intention to address such conviction when we grow up – we just have an overwhelming feeling of not being good enough, while we also crave closeness and bond. We develop a preoccupied attachment style, and spend our relationships in an anxious and insatiable need for closeness that we never seem to satisfy to the fullest. This especially becomes a problem if we seek out a dismissive partner, which is often the case. Then our behavior could be, and often is, described as clingy, possessive, demanding of attention, and it is often what drives others away.
Or, if you grew up to be a dismissive-avoidant individual, you will most likely indulge in pseudo-independence, as you probably decided that “you don’t need anyone” as a way of coping with unsatisfied emotional needs as a child. You learned to shut down emotionally and to disconnect easily from others, often as a consequence of being or feeling abandoned by your caretaker(s). This might have worked for you at that moment and helped you cope with enormous pain of not being able to develop closeness with your mother or father figures, but such strategy prevents you from forming significant relationships and experience intimacy as an adult, robbing you of a very important aspect of life.
Fearful-avoidant attachment style is often developed in a household where the child could not count on his or her needs being met, even when it comes to the most basic ones. It is not uncommon that a fearful-avoidant adult survived a trauma as a child. Such person will realize the need for an intimate relationship with others and crave it, but also feel terrified of the possibility of being hurt. As a result, the romantic relationships that you will experience will be explosive, full of turmoil and stress, often described as passionate and wild, but basically highly unhealthy for everyone involved.
What to do about our non-secure attachment styles?
In short, as adults, we will tend to confirm our deep-seated and most commonly unconscious convictions of how interpersonal relationships should look like, and especially how romantic partners ought to interact. Unfortunately, if our attachment style is insecure, these beliefs will set a stage for countless troubles and heartbreaks. This is why it is important to determine our attachment style and to address any non-secure elements with a psychotherapist who will help you find your way through this maze.
Especially helpful for this kind of issue is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (or EMDR). For most of us, our memories begin with recollections of what had happened to us when we were somewhere around the age of 5. Yet, the relational trauma and the development of insecure attachment style mostly occurs even earlier in our childhood, when our memories are non-verbal and remain in the sphere of emotions. This is why EMDR is highly effective choice of treatment, as it mobilizes the brain’s adaptive information processing mechanisms and can, therefore, re-pattern our non-secure attachment style that was formed before our thinking became predominantly verbal.
By choosing to work on your attachment style with a psychotherapist, you can finally free yourself of your early experiences and your early understanding of the world, and liberate yourself to form authentic and meaningful intimate relationships.
Regardless of how many times a breakup might happen to a person, whether it is the first time or the hundredth, whether you are the one who ended it or you were abandoned, for whatever reason, after whatever amount of time spent in that relationship, there is one universal fact, and that is – it is a change, one that more often than not comes very difficult to both and brings many hardships.
People cope with this fact of life in many ways, usually finding their way to deal with all the emotions and to move on somehow. But, there are both adaptive and destructive paths on this journey. First might help you become a better version of you, while the latter could cause a lot of pain, problems, and negativity for both you and your ex-partner. This post will go over both what to do and what not to do when you find yourself single again.
3 Unhealthy Ways to Cope with a Breakup (or What Not to Do)
- Keep contacting your ex. If you were the one who ended it, but you’re having second thoughts or tough time letting go, it’s not fair to your ex to prevent her from healing. If you are sure about getting back together then by all means, do contact her, but otherwise don’t, and let her move on. And if you were the one who was left, then keep asking for your ex’s attention might make things direr. However it ended originally, this could cause a much worse and colder reaction and surely hinder your recovery.
- Ruminate over your relationship and the breakup. You do need to gain some insight from what happened, how you behaved, how you felt, and where you are now. In this way, you will understand yourself better and possibly know more about your needs, your habits, your mistakes. But ruminating over every aspect of the relationship and the breakup is a maladaptive pattern of thinking that will inevitably cause you to linger in what is long gone and loose the opportunity to grow and learn from it. Therefore, try to use these thoughts to recognize a pattern, learn something, and then let the thought go.
- Drinking, smoking, doing drugs or becoming sexually promiscuous. It is understandable if you feel devastated and you just need to numb the pain. But it is a mistake if you think that such self-harming behavior will help you in any way. In best case, all the pain and dilemmas will wait for you the second you get sober. In worst case, you might endanger your life to the point of no repair. But one thing is sure, and that is that you will end up with more problems than what you started with, and with damage to your body and mind.
4 Healthy Ways to Cope
- Take care of yourself. Dealing with all the emotions and changes that come with a breakup is hard for you, physically and mentally. In order not to let this experience destroy you, you need to take care of your soul and your body. Eat healthy, exercise, sleep regularly, maintain a routine to help you through, read or engage in any healthy activity you enjoy.
- Get the support you need. This is the perfect time to reconnect with other important people in your life. Reach out to your friends and family, and let them know you need support. You will be amazed by how much a genuine support and just having pleasant time with your loved ones can contribute to the speed in which you recover from a nasty end of a relationship.
- Experience all your emotions. It’s tempting to sweep the pain under the rug and bury yourself into work, or just pretend everything is just fine. But it’s not, and this is normal. And the more you postpone feeling the entire range of emotions (anger, guilt, sadness, despair, loss of hope, loss of meaning, fear…), the harder it will be for you to truly heal and move on. Not to mention how this will deprive you of the opportunity to really get to know yourself and learn about the richness of your inner world. Feeling pain is not a comfortable experience, but it’s a part of life. So acknowledge it and learn to cope with it, and the next time, you’ll be a stronger person.
- Use this experience to grow. Finally, the breakup happened. Whatever the reason, and whatever the future might be, this is a very valuable learning experience. You should use this opportunity to learn about yourself, and to find ways to use the breakup as a lever to your personal growth. Use the energy this gives you, be it a negative one, to produce something good for yourself. Explore your interests, explore your mistakes, explore your needs and desires. Understand your weaknesses and your good sides. And find a unique way to transform this unfortunate experience into a progress and self-growth.
Breakups are hard. Always. And we usually get through them somehow. But, whatever your personal situation might be, seeing a psychotherapist is always a good idea when a breakup happens. You might have troubles seeing things objectively, you might need additional support apart from your friends and family, you might need someone to help you deal with some deeper insecurities or destructive patterns in love relationships that you might not even be aware of.
As we already pointed out, a breakup is one of the life’s chances to grow and to learn. Having an expert help on this path is what will make a painful and tough experience a truly positive event in your life story.
Men face some serious challenges when it comes to mental health. Men make up nearly 80% of suicide deaths and are less likely than women to seek help for problems like depression. To make matters worse, the mental health resources geared towards helping men in a way that is authentic and appealing to them are sparse and hard to find. One place men can start right away is with their own nutrition. Bottom line? Your food affects your mood. And diet and nutrition make up a big piece of the puzzle for many people.
Did you know that the food you eat can have a significant impact on your mood? It comes as a surprise to many people, but it’s true!
Like Stephen, I too am passionate about helping men. Before I get into information about nutrition for mental health, let me tell you very briefly about myself and why I do the work I do.
I started MoodFood Clinic to help men with practical solutions to physical and mental health issues.
I became a Nutrition Therapist because of my own experience with bipolar disorder in my early 20’s. I went through a suicidal bipolar nightmare, during which time I went to years of talk therapy and took more psychiatric medications than I can recall.
After multiple suicide attempts I was eventually hospitalized. I even tried electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) before finally discovering that a junk food diet was at the root of my struggles.
By fixing my diet and healing myself with good nutrition, I was able to recover from bipolar disorder and go back to work after years of being too sick to hold a job or go to school. I am now recovered from bipolar disorder and no longer take any psychiatric medications.
I was so moved by my recovery that I quit my previous career in IT as a computer technician to attend nutrition school to learn everything I could about nutrition for mental health. My passion in life is bringing that knowledge to other men who are struggling.
My approach appeals to men because we discuss their feelings in the context of their biochemistry (aka the millions of chemical reactions in the body that determine things like whether you have enough serotonin to feel happy, and whether you have enough dopamine to have good energy, focus and concentration). If this sounds interesting to you, keep reading and I’ll give you some pointers you can implement today to improve your mood just by changing what and how you eat!
I tell my clients, “Fix your biochemistry and you will fix your mood.” I’ve seen it work.
MoodFood Clinic’s approach is science-based and supported by an ever-growing body of research. Common problems that contribute to depression and anxiety are gut infections and dysbiosis, an imbalance of bacteria in the intestine. Yes, really! Gut health is strongly correlated with mental health and chronic gut inflammation resulting from gut infections like small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), candida (a yeast overgrowth) and Clostrium difficile, or C. diff for short.
These problems are all strongly implicated in depression and anxiety. They are also scientific examples of root causes that can lead to serious mental health issues. I work with my clients to identify whatever root cause is leading to their symptoms of depression and anxiety. Then, I use advanced lab testing to identify these conditions and targeted nutrition with high power supplements to address them. At MoodFood Clinic, clients can reclaim their lives and get back to doing the things they want to do instead of dealing with depression and anxiety.
Yet another common cause of these depression and anxiety symptoms is blood sugar imbalance.
Many Americans over-consume sugar and refined carbohydrates like bread and pasta. Unfortunately, this puts them on what I call a “blood sugar roller coaster.” And, when you’re on a blood sugar roller coaster it’s very difficult to maintain a stable mood. So, if you struggle with depression or anxiety, this is one step you can take on your own to improve your mood today!
Try these simple tips to keep your blood sugar more balanced:
- Start the day with plenty of healthy fats and adequate protein for breakfast
- For example, eat two eggs fried in butter, half an avocado and a small apple
- Good quality uncured bacon is another good choice
- Eat healthy fats and protein with every meal
- Eat a portion of protein like chicken, beef, lamb or bison the size of your palm
- Include nuts and seeds like walnuts and hemp seeds
- Eat regularly and don’t skip meals
- Snack on organic beef jerky and celery sticks with almond butter
- Make sure not to skip meals – this deregulates blood sugar
- Minimize refined carbohydrates and sugars
- Eat lots of non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, onion and bok choy
- Cut down on bread, pasta, tortillas, pancakes, candy and soda
Want to give it a try? Try implementing these changes for a period of two to three weeks and see how you feel. After making these relatively simply changes, many people are surprised by how much better their mood and temperament become.
As you can see from the recommendations above, supporting your mood by eating well doesn’t mean you are doomed to a fate of eating a vegetarian diet or one made up of nothing but salads, smoothies and rice cakes. In fact, the opposite is true! I recommend foods that real men eat. Consequently, there are no fad diets or juice cleanses at MoodFood Clinic.
If you have benefited from talk therapy but feel like there is another piece missing from your mental health, or if you’re interested in natural alternatives to psychiatric medication, contact Aaron at MoodFood Clinic today!
I offer a free 20 minute introductory phone call. In the call, we’ll discuss your specific symptoms and needs. It’s a great way to determine if MoodFood Clinic is a good fit. Additionally, we can answer any questions you may have about what it’s like to work with me.
Traditional Indian yogis are primarily men. Yet, in Western culture it still remains a “women’s thing.” Men are usually so strongly convinced that yoga belongs to the realms of femininity that they rarely even think about practicing it, let alone try it. Yoga for men? “Ha” some think. And if us men do think about such an endeavor, we mostly get discouraged by emotional, physical, and societal hurdles. It’s worth pushing past these and overcoming the fear though because yoga comes with a wide array of benefits, some universal, and some specific to men.
Why We Discard Yoga in the First Place
When yoga was introduced to America, many times (and even today), women headed the movement. Classes were attended by smoothly moving delicate and flexible women who exercised in groups in a slightly feminine studio, guided by a female instructor with a soothing voice. Intimidating? Well, yeah!
And, both men and women seem to perpetuate this myth that yoga isn’t for guys. Nowadays, when a man gets interested in the practice, he typically gets discouraged at the very entrance to a yoga class, since, in all probability, he is the only male there. Fight the labeling, the teasing, or the just plain awkwardness of having to justify his interest in yoga is oftentimes too demanding for men to even get involved in such an enterprise.
Even if he does endure in his intention, this brave man will face betraying reminders of the differences in male and female physique. When a man recollects his first yoga classes, it is inevitable to remember the pain, the absolute lack of flexibility compared to his female companions, and the inevitability of groaning and moaning while trying to get even close to the positions the instructor was demonstrating with such grace.
The reasons are simple. Although both girls and boys come to the world equally bendable, the elasticity is much quicker to disappear among males. We do get more muscle mass and greater strength, but for some reason our tendons and ligaments cannot be compared to those of women.
Yoga Can Bring Up Emotions
Practicing yoga can also be emotionally challenging. First of all, the social pressure to conform to the models put in front of us is far too great to be ignored. It is just in the recent years that men wanting to practice yoga meet more acceptance and less stigmatization. Nonetheless, the tension is still there. Furthermore, for men, physical activity is inseparable from competition. And yoga is in direct opposite to that. We need to learn to disengage our natural competitiveness in order for yoga to have its effect on our mind and our bodies.
Finally, and this is the aspect that often raises the biggest inner conflict with men who try to practice, yoga and related meditation often come with intense emotional experiences, ones that many men find difficult to experience, recognize, own to, and address. Men are taught to be tough, and to react in ways that tend to reduce the span of emotionality to anger (when it comes to negative emotions). Yoga can, at times, bring forth feelings an average man is not used to experiencing, and these might be hard for him to go through.
Why We Really Shouldn’t Discard Yoga for Men and How to Give it a Chance
It’s easy to just turn away from yoga. Much easier than for a man to overcome all the barriers that stand between him and this Eastern practice of putting mind and body into an equilibrium. However, the benefits it produces are what’s bringing many athletes, business professionals, and men from all vocations and backgrounds to gradually embrace yoga.
Yoga for men is nothing but a gain. The mind and body benefits are not just reserved for meditative, quiet personalities either. Every type of man can benefit from the practice. Apart from apparent physical advantages of exercising, your psychological health and social relations will notice an uptick as well. Yoga increases flexibility and range of motion. It also elongates muscles and thereby aids in preventing injuries. Unexpectedly to some, it also builds lean muscle mass. Further, your digestive and cardiovascular systems will be working better if you commit a couple of hours a week to the practice. Oh, did I mention? Your sex drive will also increase.
Yoga can help you perform better at work, interact with your family more kindly, and have greater mental clarity and emotional stability for whatever you set your mind to.
Some of these transformations are direct and some happen over a period of time. You see, once you practice regularly, you’ll have greater emotional balance. After some consistent time feeling this enhanced emotional balance, the results can be remarkable. Yoga is associated with something we would describe as a clear and tranquil mind, a sort of a cognitive clarity, which helps us react free from the noise of our everyday tension.
There is a strong link between lower stress levels among men who practice yoga compared to those who don’t.
If you belong to the corporate world, the sharpness of thought that comes with yoga (and this is empirically validated claim) will help you joggle all those pressures that come with the profession. But regardless of what you do and who you are, yoga for men comes with invaluable advantages that you just cannot keep ignoring if you wish yourself well. So, pick an instructor and talk to your psychotherapist about how to overcome social and psychological barriers to practicing yoga, and start making the most of this precious tradition.
We humans are hardwired to search for problems, for potential dangers. Such cognitive and behavioral arrangement came as an adaptation to the prehistoric times in which a man and his family were under frequent threat of being killed by carnivores, for example. And this ancient heritage still comes handy when our lives, or lives of those close to us, are endangered. Fortunately, a modern man is rarely, if ever, under such jeopardy. Nonetheless, we often react to minor stressors as if we were attacked by saber-toothed tigers, and such mindset can cause harm to our mind in general and hinder our productivity.
Focusing on negatives and what it does to us
When we think about it, humans have an astonishing ability to adapt to most diverse situations, to thrive and to succeed, to overcome what sounds impossible to even survive. Yet, we tend to constantly think about our shortcomings, feel pressured by what we believe are our weaknesses, and struggle with feelings of inadequacy and discouragement. Even if we apparently do well in life and have success in our careers, relationships and social life, our mindset might be holding us back from living a “good life” to its fullest, a life filled with what is truly meaningful to us.
Many of us spend a lot of time in negative self-talk, active self-discouragement, and ruminations about our perceived inadequacies. Life cannot be lived without occasional failures. But if we constantly focus on our failure to succeed, we can easily slip into what is known as learned helplessness. We give up control over what is happening to us, believing that we are incapable of fighting the problems we face.
If we succumb to our evolutionary heredity and search for potential problems wherever we look (even if it meant trying to compensate for our weaknesses) both our mental and our physical health can be jeopardized. Such attitude opens door to depression, anxiety, and other emotional problems. Negative emotions, especially when chronic, put strain on our ability to experience happiness and wellbeing. Our vitality, enthusiasm and energy levels are closely related to stress and to the kind of emotions we usually feel. If we mostly experience negative emotional states (that result from focusing on what didn’t work out and on our perceived flaws), our health, wellbeing and productivity will diminish. On the other hand, positive emotions, optimism and confidence seem to have the power to bring back one’s vitality and lessen the effects of chronic stress.
How positive psychology can help us lead a life worth living
One might think that this is a lost cause then, if we’re so predisposed to think in a negative way. But, regardless of our natural inclination to focus on what doesn’t work, and our learned belief that we have a fixed set of characteristics that limit our development, we can actually challenge this habit of mind. That is, in the same way in which we learned our pessimism, we can also learn optimism. And, as Martin Seligman, the leading authority in the field of positive psychology proclaims, such mindset will lead us to experience more meaning and engagement in everything we do.
Positive psychology and its concepts are not just theoretical considerations. Many studies have been conducted and they concur that psychotherapists’ work should be enriched with positive psychology interventions. Therefore, in order for a person to fulfill their potentials and a productive and rewarding, meaningful life, a guidance from a psychotherapist can be enormously helpful. A professional in the field of self-development can lead you to realize the difference between your top strengths and something you could be good at but might not be worth your time. Your strengths are the activities you are excellent at, enjoy performing them, find them easy, and feel even more rested afterwards than before you started. A psychotherapist can also lead you through a change in your self-perception and thinking habits, so that you can shift your attention away from incapacitating attempts to fix your shortcomings towards self-growth.
When you apply this new mindset to your work, relationships and your self-image, you will reap all the benefits – be happier, less stressed, healthier and more energized, more satisfied and confident, more creative and agile, thus more productive and fulfilled.
Brain power is needed constantly to maintain our careers, family, relationships, and health. Exercise comes in so crucial to optimize cognitive function and decision making. And, we could use that pretty much every day we have to do something difficult, which is usually every day, so read on.
What are White and Grey Matter?
Both white and grey matter are housed in the human brain. Grey matter contains all of the brain’s synapses and cell bodies. White matter contains the axons that connect grey matter to each other. You can think of white matter as the glue that binds the grey matter, the real powerhouses of the brain.
And Why Do They Matter?
When white and grey matter communicate effectively, everything in the body works more optimally. According to a recent study, physical activity “improves the microstructures of white matter in the brain.” They also concluded that “white matter integrity is linked to faster neural conduction between brain regions and thus superior cognitive performance.”
How Does Exercise Affect the Brain?
It helps you make quicker, yet more grounded decisions. It helps with “cognitive flexibility” or the ability to switch between different areas of focus rapidly. And, it keeps your brain young by steadily supplying it with replenishing oxygen. It’s best to maintain a regular schedule than a grueling one. Try to sweat a few times a week and switch it up. Get social and call some friends for a pick-up game. Have fun.
Physically, the body craves activity. And, exercising helps facilitate brain cell communication, helping you think more clearly. Think about how much that would help you at work, in your relationships and with your energy level. There’s no good or bad time to start. It can always be today or tomorrow. Just make sure to get out there.
Sexual abuse is a topic pretty much no one wants to think about, let alone talk about, though it happens every single day. How many times on the news do you see a formerly respected individual hiding behind their hands, being led to a police car with a headline about suspected child pornography or molestation charges? Often.
That’s because it is a widespread issue that affects more people in your life than you may know. And, sexual abuse can take many different forms, some that don’t even involve physical contact. Here, we’ll discuss the different types of sexual violence, how abusers manipulate their victims and what to do if it’s happened to you or someone you love.
Sexual abusers can look like your next door neighbor, your grandfather, your sister, or your best friend. There is no rhyme or reason as to what a sex abuser looks like. And, even trickier is that in many cases, the victim knows the abuser, making the situation extremely difficult to deal with and get out of.
The term “grooming” is used often to describe how a familiar face can turn into that of a sexual abuser. The process involves being overly nice, generous and kind. Perhaps the abuser makes you feel that you are special, talented or one of a kind. This is all to gain trust into believing what they tell you to do later. For parents, it’s hard to tell when this is happening. Should you simply trust no one? Not necessarily, but do watch out for extra-ordinary admiration for your child and extensive time spent alone. If you suspect something, check in with your child or limit their interactions until you can figure out more.
Touch & Non-Touch
Not all sexual abuse involves touching. In fact, even simply denying that a women be able to use birth control is a form a sexual abuse. Further, filming unclothed children or exposing yourself to a child may not involve touching, but it certainly child sexual assault.
Here are some more examples that happen every day that are considered by mental health professionals to be forms of sexual abuse:
- Exposing oneself
- Asking a child to expose themselves
- Inappropriate and unwanted sexual language
- Showing a child innapropriate sexual images
- Using technology to send or show inappropriate sexual images to someone
- Using drugs to subdue someone for sexual activity
- Underage sexual activity by an adult and a minor
- Sexual exploitation by professionals or using sexual requests to manipulate another
- Sex trafficking
What to Do at the Time
If you are able to find out about the abuse while it is happening, you are clearly in a sensitive situation. First, you certainly want to separate the victim and abuser immediately or keep them away from each other. Next, find out more. Find out what happened and try to get dates and times. After that, you can contact a sexual abuse organization about steps to take, contact the police or both. You will probably want to also schedule a therapy session for your child and yourself to have a place to safely and confidentially talk to someone who knows how to help you process these specific emotions.
Each situation is different and you’ll want to be sure you are not creating more danger by taking certain steps. Make sure you have also taken any pictures of physical signs of abuse for use later. Certainly, there is no right or wrong way to go about this and it will be a chaotic and confusing time for all. Depending what exactly happened and by whom will determine your course. Here are some immediate resources:
National Sexual Assault Hotline
Call 800.656.HOPE (4763) to be connected with a local trained professional
Click to chat with a trained RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) professional
What to Do Later
If the abuse happened a long time ago and you’ve either just remembered it, just found out about it, or experienced it yourself and are past the crisis stage, you may want to consider a few options when it comes to healing.
One can be cognitive therapy which in regular human language is talk therapy. Typically, your therapist will ask you to discuss the event and talk about your feelings, helping you develop coping methods as well as providing a safe place to release your emotions from the event(s). Another very effective method is EMDR or “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.” It’s a method where you use your physical body to remove painful and traumatic memories. Literally, your therapist will ask you to follow a light with your eyes and use other techniques to help your brain attempt to “re-wire” the trauma.
It’s an interesting method and one we’ve written a lot about. If you want to learn more details about EMDR, check out our article: “EMDR and How it Can Help You Cope With Traumatic Experiences.” Finally, and this is really the foundation of it all, just take care of yourself. Breathe. Eat good food. Get outside. Take a walk. Call a friend. Drink water. Laugh. Pet a dog. Draw a picture. Lift some weights. Do whatever it is that you like to do that helps you relax. In time, you’ll get better and better at taking care of yourself. The pain won’t ever go away completely, but you can learn to live a happy life despite of it.
Sexual abuse and assault should never happen. But, it does and it’s common. You can learn to live a life of joy by taking care of your physical and emotional needs. If you’re a young or adult man reading this, I know that it can be especially hard to go through this kind of pain. Don’t feel like any less of a man because someone hurt you in a shameful way. You are an incredibly strong person for getting this far. Keep breathing, keep your head up and if you need support, reach out. I’ve included some resources below and if you have a personal question, you can always contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling 720-295-4233, or by scheduling a session.
Men in the Media and Body Image
The media is often charged for its portrayal of women and high standards of “perfection.” Same goes for men. If you’re not a smooth, witty talker with muscles and a touch of gray (or a casually messy ‘do, take your pick), well then, you just don’t measure up to what society’s looking for.
The resulting message is confusing and unrealistic. Men deal with these issues just as much as women do, yet you rarely hear anyone actually speak about it. Celebrities like Daniel Radcliffe, Ryan Reynolds, Sam Smith, Matt McGorry, Chris Pratt, and Zac Efron are just a few of the many male celebrities who have expressed issues with their body image or how they treat their bodies. Yet why don’t you know that? Until we just told you? Well, body image is a “thing” with men too. It’s just not openly discussed like it is constantly for women.
For decades, men have been expected to be “macho,” strong and seemingly devoid of any sensitive emotions. So although some men are speaking up, many still hold back. For them to admit to body image insecurities would, in turn, potentially reveal to others that they are not as strong as they wish to be perceived. It’s a double-edged sword and an extremely unfair position for anyone to find themselves in.
Recently, the media has marginally begun to celebrate full-figured women and that’s fantastic. Stores are more exclusive, curvier women are dancing across magazine ads, and the appreciation of all female bodies is awesome! However, what few seem to notice is the extreme lacking in those areas for the male counterparts. We have never opened GQ to find a model with a rounder belly or a receding hairline. As a result, men notice that women seem drawn to the infinite images of oiled up, toned six-packs and wind up feeling inadequate in comparison. Unfortunately once again, because so few are speaking up against these unfair standards, little to nothing is being done to change them.
Aging, Weight Gain and Other “Imperfections”
Body image issues can range from weight (whether that be over or under the ideal), to balding or excess body hair, to their skin quality (dryness, acne, etc.) and the list could continue on and on. As a society, we seem to excuse ourselves from doing anything with rationals like “if men had body image issues, you’d hear about it more,” and “men’s beauty standards are radically lower than that of women,” and only seeing the media’s critique of females and not males. Both genders have been cornered by the media into tiny boxes that determine how we should look and the results are catastrophic and will only get worse if we don’t fight to stop them now. Men suffering from body image issues, regardless if they seem small, should seek treatment and speak up to help others. As a society, we should make it clear that men of all body types and styles are loved just the same.
Have you been feeling down on yourself for the way you look? Aging and weight ups and downs are part of everyone’s lives. Yet, that doesn’t mean that you need to wallow in self-despair about it. We’re all in this together. Something that helps take focus off the mirror is therapy. Sitting down man to man and getting everything off your chest does wonders for the soul. In turn, feeling good about the way you look can do wonders for the way you feel. Let’s talk. Click to pick your own day and time to pick my brain and see if we’re a good fit. I look forward to hearing from you.