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Men’s Health – No Woman Says, “I wish he would talk less…..”
Today, I want to talk about a topic that might not get enough attention but is a major problem affecting men across Australia: loneliness. It's time to break the silence and shed some light on how this quiet struggle impacts men's health in our country.
Australia has been struggling with a loneliness epidemic, and men are particularly affected. Not just during Covid when we were all stuck at home, but now….
The Aussie Bloke image is a tough, self-reliant man who is unaffected by emotions and doesn’t share his feelings. Which woman says, “I wish he would talk less??”
While some of these Aussie man qualities are worthwhile, they also create a culture where men feel forced to keep their struggles to themselves. It's like we've built a wall around their emotions, leaving them feeling lonely even in the company of others.
Needing to see a psychologist or counsellor seems to still have a stigma for many men.
They will often get referred to our practice and tell us “I don’t know why I’m here – my doctor (wife, girlfriend, mother etc) sent me.” But if they remain open to therapy, they will often say “I wish I had come earlier!”
Let me tell you, there's nothing weak about acknowledging your emotions and reaching out for support. How else can you improve your health if loneliness is a major factor as it affects all areas of your health?
Loneliness can significantly affect our physical health as well. Research shows that men who feel lonely are more likely to suffer from various health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression. The lack of social connections can even increase the risk of premature death. Yep, you read that right. Loneliness can be deadly. So go and join a gym, riding group, walking group etc. Get the benefits of exercise with the benefits of connecting with other people. One of our Mentors, Nathan, has joined an ocean swimming group where he drives over 1 hr every week to get to. But he has met some great people and made lifelong friends. And yes…. he is still going even though the water is freezing – it’s more about the people than the swimming.
Aussie blokes seem more comfortable making social connections when they are doing something else, hence the popularity of “men’s sheds”. Women have things like “sip and paint” and men need a “beer and cheer” where they can participate in some bonding activities. Have a think about what you can do.