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”
You might be saying, “duh” right now that pets can help you with mindfulness and loneliness. Or, maybe the connection isn’t as clear to you yet. Have you owned a pet before? How did your pet make you feel? If you have had one, you probably remember the times you were doing something and then had to completely shift your focus because your pet did x, y or z. Or, the times when you were running around the house, then stopped to hang out with your pet because it just felt good for a minute (or… a mindful moment). See what we did there?
Pets help us shift our focus, sometimes for the good, and sometimes for the “not so good” like when you have to clean up a mess. Yet, either way, they can take our attention from our heads to our hearts and that unconditional love they give (except for a few swarmy cats perhaps!) is a trait humans should be aiming for each day. Read more “Pets Can Help You With Mindfulness (And Loneliness)”
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.
You might as well stop reading this right now. Seriously. Go outside! Read a book! Anything’s better than scrolling, scrolling… well, you get the picture. Ah, well, since you’re here though, let me explain why you should get out there and experience the world rather than sit here and listen to me. Maybe you can take a walk when we’re done and see how you feel afterwards.
Basically, it’s just all an illusion.
Truly. It’s been proven time and time again how easily someone can manipulate pictures just by the angle or lighting. Here is one of my favorite collections of how we know that everything on Facebook and Instagram could be a lie.
There are powerful companies and influential bloggers behind so many social media profiles that you have to remember that not every picture is reality. Then, advertisers pay them to keep up their profiles. “Real life” is how marketers operate now. In some ways, it is transparent, showing you what people are eating, doing, seeing. Yet, the other side of the camera is someone carefully crafting the photo and set up. Then, many times, adding after effects.
Everybody lies a little bit on social media.
Disagree? Okay fine. How about exaggeration at the least? The fact is, we don’t take pictures of the mundane activities in our lives. Everyone is sharing their “amazing” parts in life. Have you heard the quote about not comparing your behind the scenes with another person’s on-stage performance? It applies to social media too. It’s important to remember that they too have regular lives behind the scenes.
And, here’s some more evidence that we found from a New York Times article recently. Basically, the stats add up to show that things are disproportionately attributed on social media. For example, “Americans spend about six times as much of their time cleaning dishes as they do golfing. But there are roughly twice as many tweets reporting golfing as there are reporting doing the dishes.”
Further, people also keep some guilty pleasures to themselves and thus represent an incomplete picture of who they really are. (Who’s that busting some Taylor Swift back there?) They might never admit it, but there are activities and interests that many people have that they also keep to themselves. Thus, once again, social media only represents a curated section of our lives.
In my practice, it usually comes back to balance every time. I can’t say to not use social media whatsoever, for to do so, you might limit yourself to only knowing about certain events or miss out on staying in touch with an old friend. However, limiting your own access to social media or even deleting the app from your phone from time to time can really help you break the semi-addictive “scroll cycle” that many of us are victims to.
Checking in with social media is fun sometimes and helps you stay connected by sharing news or something you’re proud of. A little too much and you start to know a few too many details about each other’s lives! (Totally not weird? Weird? Yeah.) Either way, looking at social media and getting affected by its contents is where it starts to affect your day.
How does it go down? How about this. You call a friend to hang out, get lunch, dinner, whatever. No response. Then, a few hours later, you see this epic group shot of a majority of your friends climbing a mountain together. What? No invite? Are we even friends? Am I someone people don’t want to be around or something? And, it can go downhill from there. Remember Rule #1 though, it’s all an illusion. Once you find out the reason behind the lack of an invite (i.e. “We knew you had to work at 3pm and this was a 10 hour thing,” etc.), it all makes sense. Yet, the emotional response to the picture is what affects us so much and causes us to draw false conclusions at times (leading to potential arguments and meltdowns!).
Social media is a place where people’s ego’s can shine. It is also a place for connection and beautiful moments. In a digital “world” like social media, any number of real life feelings are going on. It can be a “Wild Wild West” of content and jibber jabber. And, when you open up your device, you never know what you’ll see first to set your mood off for the day. Remember this and try to set your own boundaries so social media doesn’t sweep you up and steal your precious time and energy. Okay, bye now!!!
Modern Man. We’re an interesting breed at this point. Living somewhere half in the future with remnants of the past (we use computers for everything except for the main machine we use each day, our cars).
And, some of us have decided that the sky’s still the limit. And, we work on ourselves. Each day, we strive to be better than the day before. We’re list makers. We’re doers. We’re organized. We fix things. We work out and we eat healthy. Some people call us Super Man. We call ourselves still “improvable.”
Therapy is a way to break through any perceived inadequacies or see a previously unseen angle on a situation. It can be the last puzzle piece to your already well thought-out plans.
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
If you’re still reading, you’re the type of guy who seeks to always better himself. It’s noble. It shows you care about yourself and others. There are times though, when you feel less sure of yourself than others, just like all of us humans do. And when you have an objective confidant meeting on the calendar (you’ll know the feeling when you get to this point), it’s so much easier to let the small things be small things and get through your week. Without arguments from those small things, you’ll also notice your time free up. Maybe you’ll even get to squeeze in a hobby you enjoy. Pick up game anyone? Jog through your neighborhood? Actually got the dog on a walk every day?
Having a mental break where you can just let it all go is such a relief too. If you’re the go-getter type, you’re always moving and thinking. Why not take a break. When you take a moment to meditate as well, it’s easier to approach your problems. Meditation is just one part though (you should add it in anyway). The other part is working through sometimes complex details with someone who is trained and interested in the human mind and behavior. A therapist can help you identify the stem of an issue or a pattern you might be creating so that you can attempt to purge negativity from your life in order to take you to the next level.
Broken Records and Brick Walls
In a lot of relationships, talking to the other is either like listening to a broken record or talking to a brick wall. I get it. Communication between loved ones of all types of relationships (family, friends, co-workers, bosses) sometimes breaks down. Your communication with your therapist on the other hand, has a much harder time of breaking down. That’s because I am experienced and trained to listen. I am here to listen to you. And, I’m here to help you breakthrough by being a sounding board to what’s going on in your life.
What types of situations cause a communication breakdown? It can be misunderstandings, dashed expectations, or a loved one just not even thinking about your needs. It can be delicate family situations, an ex-partner, custody or dealing with the aging of a parent. Other times, your career might be the issue. Perhaps you’ve communicated to HR about an issue you’ve been having or your boss just won’t agree with your proposals on a raise. Therapy can help with ideas on how to approach communication issues, by using communication itself within a session. The therapist has no connection with the people who are bringing stress into your life and therefore can help you work on the different options available to you to communicate with them. It’s excellent practice before talking about a loaded subject, a nagging issue, or to ask a request.
99 Problems and Stress is One
Cortisol. It builds up in your body and causes…. stress. Lots of it at times. Sometimes so much that you’re overwhelmed to the point where you’re not even functioning properly. You snap at people you normally wouldn’t. Everything seems to take longer than normal. You dread your day the moment you wake up. These times happen! Regularly. Sometimes in a cycle, sometimes not for a while, sometimes all at once. You know. Anyway, having an appointment to look forward to to simply organize your mind? It’s awesome. And, the goal is that it will make the rest of your life stress easier to deal with, putting you at an even more optimal place of health than you were before regular therapy.
As a counselor specializing in men’s issues, I meet with a lot of individuals who just want to be better. They are into self-improvement, they read books about it, go on adventure courses, are leaders in their careers, etc. These kind of high-powered men often charge through life, and are recognized by their success. I know that too, it can be lonely at the top and having someone to let off some steam and work through issues with can be a crucial component to a holistic health plan. If you relate, try booking an appointment and see if this is something you want to add to your wellness routine. My door’s open.
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.
You might refer to your pet as your “fur kid,” but have you ever thought about the relationship between your pet and your actual kids? New research from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge suggests that the relationships between children and pets are far more important than previously thought.
The study was conducted by surveying twelve-year-olds in 77 households with multiple children and at least one pet. The results suggest that these kids prefer Fido to fighting with a sibling.
FIGHTING LIKE CATS AND DOGS
We’re all familiar with sibling rivalry. If a child feels they aren’t getting as much attention or recognition as their sibling, they will sometimes pick fights with a sibling or act out to satisfy their emotional needs. Childhood can be tough for kids with siblings to navigate; each child is struggling to find their own individual identity while competing for validation from adults.
A pet satisfies a child’s need for emotional connection, and according to the University of Cambridge, can have an important impact on his or her development. According to the study, participants reported more satisfaction and less conflict with a pet versus a sibling.
Matt Cassels, a Gates Cambridge Scholar, led the study. ”Even though pets may not fully understand or respond verbally, the level of disclosure to pets was no less than to siblings,” he explains. “The fact that pets cannot understand or talk back may even be a benefit as it means they are completely non-judgmental.”
PETS AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
A child can divulge his or her deepest, darkest secrets to the family pet without fear of judgement or retaliation. This is an important element in child development, as it allows children to discuss their fears and thoughts in a safe environment. It may seem silly to lament your problems to an animal, but researchers have a different opinion.
“The social support that adolescents receive from pets may well support psychological well-being later in life,” says Nancy Gee, Human-Animal Interaction Research Manager at WALTHAM and a co-author of the study. “But there is still more to learn about the long term impact of pets on children’s development.”
There is still more research to be done, but so far the science points to pets having a positive impact on a child’s mental health and development.
LOSING YOUR BEST FRIEND
Owning a pet that you hold near and dear to your family can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, the animal provides emotional and social support to your kids; on the other hand, sometimes Fluffy doesn’t live as long as we’d like him to.
One study by Joshua Russell, an assistant professor of animal behavior, ecology and conservation at Canisius College, in Buffalo, N.Y. suggests that children react to the loss of a pet much differently than adults do. “They often see themselves as the center of their pets’ affections,” Russell said in a college news release. “They describe their pets as siblings or best friends with whom they have strong connections.”
Children see pets as best friends to share secrets and memories with. These pets are important members of the household, and it is important to remember this when discussing the loss of a pet with your child. Allow them to grieve, and explain to them that their pet did everything he was put on this earth to do. Encourage your child to open up with their feelings about the pet, and help them feel as supported and encouraged as Bowser did.
We all know about the “winter blues.” We’re happier during the summer because we’re soaking up all of that vitamin D, but when winter comes around and vitamin D is diminished, many people feel a dip in their moods. Each season, subtle variations in weather actually have an effect on our mood and emotions, both in positive and negative ways. The more aware you are of these effects, the more control you have over your own situation giving you more opportunities for changes to help yourself.
Moods Change with the Seasons
Starting with the positive attributes of weather, sunlight does way more for you than just helping your tan, your moods are enhanced too! Vitamin D and sunlight actually increase your production of serotonin which, as most of you probably know, is the hormone responsible for your happiness. As a result, the way you interact with the world tends to be more positive. Studies have shown that during sunny days, people are more open to romantic endeavors, they tend to be more helpful and (businesses will be glad to hear) they tend to spend more money. Unfortunately, even the sunlight has negative points as well. Primarily that warmer weather does tend to bring out peoples more aggressive nature, causing us to be, quite literally, hot headed.
On rainy days and during the winter months, depression tends to rear it’s ugly head. Along with that, physical activity tends to take a dive and not just because we don’t want to go outside as much. Colder weather affects our muscles by causing them to tighten and feel more sluggish as a result. Rain can cause actual pain in our bodies as our muscles and joints adjust to the colder temperatures and the pressure changes in the atmosphere. On top of all of this, colder days lead us to eat more than we would during the warmer days. Maybe it’s our evolutionary way of surviving the wintry months, but the result can lead to negative feelings about your body image which, in turn, only increases your chance of depression and lower mood swings.
Blasé days and moments of depression may not stand out at first, but as the weeks go on and those days increase, they can become a serious issue for many. Luckily, there are ways to combat the weather’s effects and try to stay happy and positive. For some, buying a solar simulator may do the trick. Basically it acts as your source of sunlight during the darker seasons and tricks your body into producing higher levels of serotonin. Countries like those in the Netherlands that experience drastically shorter daylight hours during winter use these all the time to keep their mood up!
Gloomy Skies Can Spell Gloomy Moods, Don’t Let Depression Win
Pushing past the tendency towards sluggish days and getting yourself to the gym is another great way to keep your energy levels high. Even if it’s below zero and snowing outside, the gym will (hopefully) be heated and full of active bodies encouraging you to get moving too. If you’re into winter sports, skiing and snowboarding are always wonderful, but only if you’re lucky enough to have easy access to the mountains. (Thank you Colorado!) One family trip during the season may help temporarily, but won’t be enough to carry you through the season.
Choosing the right foods during the winter can also do wonders for your mood. Focusing on fruits and vegetables and not depending on carbs is actually the best way to keep your body and mind healthy during the winter. Yes, fruits and veggies are always great but during the colder days they have even more benefits and can be the tipping point between a great and less great day. In addition, chocolate is also a recommended treat to help boost your serotonin. Like sunlight, chocolate triggers a part in our brains that releases more of the happy hormone and can help keep a smile on your face.
Mental health is still something many psychologists are fighting to understand better. We are constantly discovering new facts and details about the mind that help us to comprehend ourselves better. Sometimes you may suffer from chronic depression but other times it may just be Mother Nature playing with your emotions. Understanding the difference between the two can be incredibly helpful and assist you in ways to manage yourself on a more day-to-day basis and finding a healthy balance for your mind and body.
Seeing a therapist can balance out all of the physical and mental well being activities that you pursue. I welcome anyone to see if we’re a fit for each other. I promise it’s not awkward, and you can schedule online. It’s easy to start. Just click here to pick your own day and time based on your schedule. I look forward to hearing from you. If you liked this article, please share or feel free to contact me here.
“My life is over now…!” A father-to-be said this. His wife was accepting of that fact that he might feel scared and ambivalent, even though they planned the pregnancy, and despite the fact she was actually hurt by these words. She tried to help him realize that it’s quite the opposite – the life will get a true meaning now, they will live for their child and have a purpose far greater than their careers, themselves, or any other thing in the world. That’s how she felt at least. But the man replied with even greater despair: “Yes, but MY life is over!”
The Great Unknown of Pregnancy
The man in question was actually really joyful and happy because they were expecting a child. He loved his wife, and he already loved his unborn child. He couldn’t wait for them to bring the baby home, even though it was just the beginning of the pregnancy. Nonetheless, he was also feeling that his life as he knows it was finished. He realized that there will never be a moment in which no one was dependent on him again, and that he will never have the same freedom to do whatever he pleases and whenever he chooses to, as he has now.
For many women, this may sound borderline cruel. Nonetheless, women and men experience pregnancy fairly different, and this often causes numerous frictions in their relationship. It would be unfair to try to weight who experiences greater anxiety during pregnancy, as both genders live through it from a different perspective.
Women go through changes on numerous levels, both physically and psychologically. Their identities change dramatically, as their values, priorities, and self-image transform. They also feel immeasurable fear with all the aspects of the pregnancy – fearing a miscarriage or numerous complications, feeling guilty and insecure as to whether they’re doing everything they can to ensure a healthy pregnancy, wondering if everything is going well in-between doctor’s appointments, etc. And they are also anxious about everything that will come later on – will their relationship change, will their partner still be attracted to her, will they be good mothers, will they be able to continue with their career or education…?
Nonetheless, men have an enormous disadvantage. Women feel the connection with their unborn child from the very beginnings of the pregnancy, as their bodies and brain chemistry change. These changes can be so profound that many women say that they “just knew” that they were pregnant as soon as they conceived, well before any pregnancy symptoms. It is not difficult for them to be in touch with all the changes that will ensue. And for men, no matter how sensitive they are, and how much they try, this is often just a great unknown.
What Do We Fear and Think About When We are Expecting a Child?
When a man faces the imminent reality of becoming a father, it is entirely normal that the most unexpected and surprising fears emerge, even if the pregnancy was wished for.
Some men often have an irrational unconscious fear that they might not actually be the child’s father, even though they don’t think their partner was unfaithful. This may seem illogical, but a deeper exploration of this fear reveals that men sometimes feel the creation of life was so godlike that it’s hard for them to believe they are deserving of it, and search for other, but logical, explanations.
A man, especially a young father-to-be might begin to be more conscious of his mortality, as beginning of a life inevitably evokes the thoughts about its end. These thoughts might be combined with a sense of responsibility and, therefore, the necessity to stay alive and well in order to be able to take care of the young child for as long as possible.
Of course, same as women do, men also fear for the baby’s health, and for their partner’s wellbeing. They might feel helpless at times, as it is a miraculous process and most of it seems to develop without any possibility for a father to influence it. Mothers-to-be might feel constant anxiety about what they eat, how much they rest or exercise, do they do everything right… But fathers just feel helpless, and men usually don’t stand this feeling very well.
Many men, as the man from the beginning of this post, fear loss of their independence and freedom. They sometimes feel that they won’t be able to do whatever came to their minds anymore, and they will lose their independent identities. Some men describe this as getting a job they could never quit anymore, and they can never get a holiday out of. And this may be true to some extent – many new fathers feel as if they don’t have enough time for their friends, hobbies, and interests anymore. However, there is also another fact, and that is that the love a man will feel for his child will trump all these issues in a heartbeat. And with time, as child grows, every man will begin to find and reestablish his independence again, but with an invaluable gift of being a proud father.
Finally, among the most prominent fears are the ones that revolve around a question: “Will I be a good father and able to take care of my family?” Many men feel as if they will “mess up” in many different ways, starting from “breaking the baby” to making serious parenting mistakes. However, with practice, some patience, and when needed – with some expert advice on proper child rearing, every man can be a good father. So, don’t hesitate to discuss your fears and doubts with a psychotherapist, because pregnancy and fatherhood are times of naturally high stress, fear, doubt, and insecurity. But, a psychotherapist will be able to go over all those fears with you, answer your questions on child development, your relationship, and your own personal wellbeing, teach you how to cope with stress, and help you find your inner potential to be a wonderful father you wish to be.
Are you and your partner expecting? Or have you recently had a child? Your “new” life can feel daunting. There are many resources for women out there, but for us men, its hard to find a support system that works and addresses the feelings we try so hard to keep private. Counseling can be a good and discreet alternative. Ready to start? Click here to pick your own time and day for a session and find out if it could work for you. I look forward to hearing from you.