Who says “Men don’t cry”? And why given the astonishing figures around stress, men’s mental health, addictions and depression would they not cry?
- 34% of men agreed or strongly agreed that they “constantly felt stressed or under pressure at work.
- 12.5% of men in the UK suffer from one of the most common mental health disorders.
- Men are nearly 50% more likely than women to be detained and treated compulsorily as psychiatric inpatients.
- They are also nearly 3 times more likely than women to become alcohol and drug dependent. Men’s Health Forum, June 2016.
This is compounded by social changes, such as relationship breakdowns. The research found that marriage breakdowns are more likely to lead men to commit suicide, rather than women.(Samaritans 2012 report).
- 76% of suicides are committed by men and this is the biggest cause of death for men under 35.
- The suicide rate was highest in middle-aged men (40 to 44-year old age groups) and those in elementary occupations.
So who says “Men don’t cry”? They need to cry and we need to understand why.
How stress can affect these tears.
From an early age society instilled on boys that they are tough “cavemen”, ” hunters” and “fighters”. This may cause an ingrained sense of masculinity that can induce fear to show emotion, particularly in public.
Research in Holland showed that women shed tears 30 to 64 times per year, whereas men only cry 6 to 17 times. They also found that men possess less of the hormones that enable a human to cry. This may be the natural reason for not crying but the nurtured side and upbringing may dictate the biggest cause.
In today’s society admitting fault, showing emotion or seeking help may still seem to be a taboo for some men. However, there is so much more public interest around mental health and wellbeing, that it is time to change.
Holding in those tears when stressed at work and not seeking help, can lead to an increase in medical conditions. When you suppress tears it can also increase stress levels. A leading doctor states it contributes to diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and peptic ulcers. (Dr Jerry Bergman)
Dr Bergman also writes how tears heal us in several ways. He writes that they remove toxins from our body that build up from stress. Some of these like the endorphin leucine-enkephalin and prolactin, the hormone cause aggression. They can also lower manganese levels, which triggers anxiety, nervousness, and aggression.
Stress and depression solutions: Time to change to “Men should cry”
Whatever challenges you find yourself in, it is important to understand how to manage them. Some of the clients that work with me as a resilience coach find that they need to get to the route of the problem. Remember tears reveal the truth about a situation and there is nothing wrong with releasing this.
If you feel like you are under a lot of pressure or confused about how you are feeling, find someone to talk to. Whoever it is, let them know how you are feeling and what they can do to help.
You will find that by looking after yourself, there are ways to manage your situation.
- Take some physical activity, even if it is just going for a walk. Health conditions are a major factor here.
- Spend time with friends and family that understand you. This is an important part of the “jigsaw that helps you manage stress and deal with stress.
- Keep a sense of humour. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- Practice relaxing, breathing exercises and meditation whenever you start to feel anxious.
If you are not sure how to control your situation, then seek professional help. You could see a doctor or health professional.
Stress and depression are serious conditions. The symptoms of depression are not always obvious. So it’s important to find the right route for you.