My fellow men and my friends, pay attention. We need to confront the elephant in the room—our mental health. We’ve built fortresses around our emotions, impenetrable even to those who want to help us the most, each brick laid with cultural expectations and age-old myths about what a “real man” should be. It’s high time we had this conversation.
The Emotional Straitjacket
Men are often bound by what I call an “emotional straitjacket,” a restrictive social construct that silences emotional expression. Picture this—you’re at a pub, or at a golf course, surrounded by your friends, but would you dare bring up that you’re struggling with anxiety? I thought not. We keep it light, maybe even share some ‘locker room talk’; we’ll talk sports, technology, business, women, or politics, but emotions? Rarely do we dig deep into our emotions. Ask yourself: why does that feel awkward? Look, this emotional straitjacket does more than just keep us from seeking help when we need it most; In the long run, it also clips our wings, preventing us from soaring to new heights of success.
So, next time you’re with your friends, consider sharing one thing that has been bothering you recently. Test the waters of emotional openness.
The ‘Man-Up’ Syndrome
You’re likely familiar with the phrase ‘Man up.’ This well-intended but often harmful message suggests that showing vulnerability is a sign of weakness. However, the reality is that asking for help when you’re struggling emotionally isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s an act of courage and maturity. If the idea of professional therapy seems daunting, remember that these are experts trained to help you navigate emotional complexities. While it’s true that there can be wait times in the healthcare system, you don’t have to navigate this period alone. Your circle of trusted friends, mentors, or support groups can offer interim emotional support. If you can find a ‘match’ 100 miles away by swiping right, surely you can find help when it comes to mental health. Seeking help is not an admission of defeat, but a step towards a fuller, healthier life.
Do this today, Identify a trusted person in your life, whether it’s a friend or family member, and practice showing vulnerability. You can start small—discuss a recent challenge and how it made you feel
Physical Strength vs. Emotional Resilience
I get it, the gym is the modern man’s sanctuary. And who wouldn’t want a ripped physique and washboard abs? Every time you see a bad breakup story on social media, the guy’s friend’s first comment is “See you in the gym in the morning, King”. But consider this—can you benchpress your anxieties and insecurities away? It’s a short-term relief and yes it has its value. Physical strength, though empowering, is only one facet of being a man. It doesn’t automatically bestow emotional resilience. Trust me; I’ve seen men who can deadlift twice their body weight but are paralyzed by the weight of their unspoken fears. The latest stats are startling:
- More than 4 times as many men as women die of suicide in the US
- 40% of men have never spoken to anyone about their mental health
- 20 to 25% of men develop substance abuse in their lifetime.
- At home in Canada, on average, approximately 3,000 men take their own lives each year.
I reject this delusion. Don’t let the societal molds inhibit you, my brothers —luxury cars, ripped abs, glorification of guns and violence, substance-fueled escapades, body count tally—are merely fake facades. True Kingship-true leadership strikes a balance between staying physically fit, emotionally strong, and spiritually fulfilled. Achieving this balance can positively impact all other dimensions of your life—financial stability, fulfilling relationships, career satisfaction, and a harmonious home life.
Mindfulness: A Route to Healing
Mindfulness is not just a buzzword, nor is it a new-age gimmick (although it may seem so because of the commercial wave of advertisements and apps), it’s a scientifically proven age-old way of living. In today’s day and age, it’s a lifesaver. Meditating every morning has turned my life around. In my journey, I have taught this to many and I’ve seen it do wonders for other men too. It teaches you to watch your thoughts without judgment and to face your emotions without letting them overwhelm you. And hey, if you’re unsure how to start, give me a shout. I offer a solid beginner’s guide to mindfulness that could be your gateway to a healthier mind and life.
Try dedicating just 10 minutes today to sit quietly and focus on your breath. Notice how it feels and consider making it a daily habit. If you want to start, you can read here.
Can you benchpress your anxieties and insecurities away?
The company you keep can make or break your mental health. In my life, I’ve realized that true strength often comes from meaningful relationships. The idea that men should be lone wolves is outdated. Honestly, if you read history deeply, you will know, right from the kings of the past and army generals of the last century, it never was really true. Engage with friends and family, and create a circle where it’s okay to talk about how you’re really doing. Maintain relationships that contribute positively to your mental well-being. There’s power in unity; remember that.
Build trust by caring for those in your circles—work, school, sports clubs, friends, and family. As you show care, others will gradually open up to you, making it easier for you to share as well
Break the Mold, Break the Silence
It’s time to tear down these paralyzing stereotypes that shackle us to outdated notions of masculinity. Let’s embrace a balanced, realistic form of masculinity that includes emotional openness, compassion, and the willingness to seek help. If you’re like me, struggling at times but willing to change, make that decision now. Reach out, break the silence, and let’s initiate change from within. Just as we are influenced by societal norms, we can be the influencers of new, healthier norms. By creating spaces where emotional openness is the rule, not the exception, we can inspire others in our community to join us on this important journey.
One last thing
Before I let you go, I will ask you to write down, what is the one thing that you will do from tomorrow onwards to improve your mental health. Just one thing. Write down in your notebook, phone reminder, or your bathroom mirror. And start doing it. if there is anything I can help with, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I wish you all the best in this journey we call life, my friends.
Blooms: Milestones and Memories
Your Wisdom to the World
A Heartfelt Ode to Every Mother
They say a mother’s stature is next only to divinity. A mother’s blessings, they believe, surpass the boons of all the Gods combined. Even the ancient Sages have bowed down to Mothers. With every step you take, and every choice you make, understand that you’re not merely living; you’re sculpting a life and legacy and in this journey, the strength of all the sages, and angels is right in you.
Guidance on your Lotus Journey:
While the lotus symbolizes the magnificent journey of every mother, sometimes the muddy waters can get overwhelming. It’s in these times that an understanding voice can make a world of difference.
As someone raised by three generations of women, myself deeply immersed in this dance of life and its myriad roles, I’ve woven my personal experiences with ancient wisdom, creating a sanctuary of understanding and support. If you ever feel the need for a touchstone amidst the chaos, or simply someone to reflect with, know that I’m here.
My commitment as a modern-day sage is to serve as a bridge, helping you connect more deeply with your inner lotus, balancing boardrooms and lullabies with grace. Together, we can navigate the streams of life, ensuring you bloom radiantly and inspire others in the process.
Feel free to reach out, “Book a Call” and navigate this journey with guidance.
In one of my previous companies, one day, all the employees received an email from HR. This was regarding the Journey of one of the Senior Executives, who has just been promoted to C-Suite. In the email, the other executives’ verbatims were mentioned. One clear theme that emerged was how this person is able to work almost 24 hours a day. I very vividly remember someone had said, “he was out with us till 4 in the morning; I barely made it to the 8 am meeting but he was already ready with the presentation ready and good to go”. Although at the time Sleep hadn’t become such a big issue as it is now, I felt there was something off with the example and pitch, and tone. I grew up learning your body is a temple, a balanced diet, and a well-rested mind is much more productive.
We live in a world that glamorizes the “hustle” culture, the value of quality sleep is often undervalued, if not entirely overlooked. However, sleep’s undeniable influence on leadership abilities has begun to break through research papers and practical examples. Sleep, as it turns out, is not just a biological necessity but a significant ingredient in the recipe for successful leadership.
When we think of successful leaders, we often picture individuals with relentless energy, boundless creativity, and unshakeable resilience. While these qualities are indeed cornerstones of effective leadership, they are intrinsically linked to one often underestimated, yet crucial, factor— Good Quality Sleep. Sleep has the power to shape successful leaders, from the bedroom to the boardroom.
The Sleep-Leadership Connection
The first step towards understanding the connection between sleep and leadership is recognizing that sleep isn’t merely a passive state of rest. It’s an active period of rejuvenation for our bodies and minds. to A good night’s sleep is integral to Cognitive functioning, Memory consolidation, Emotional Regulation, and Creativity—elements that are crucial to leadership.
In a 2017 McKinsey survey, 43% of leaders reported not getting enough sleep at least four nights a week. McKinsey also concluded that leaders who get adequate sleep tend to be significantly more effective in their roles, meaning taking the right decisions, progressing in their careers, and setting leadership examples for the team and organization. This isn’t surprising when you consider that sleep deprivation negatively impacts cognitive functions such as decision-making, emotional intelligence, and problem-solving, key competencies in leadership.
Sleep and Decision Making
One of the biggest elements in Leadership is making the decision. The higher up you go, the more complex the situations get. And more often than not, these are not technical problems; these require probability, logic, people skills, navigating uncertainty, and time crunch. Numerous studies have demonstrated that sleep deprivation significantly slows the area of the brain that helps in the above dimensions. It impairs our ability to assess situations accurately, calculate risks, consider the long-term implications of our actions, and deal with uncertainty.
On the other hand, a good night’s sleep not only helps replenish our mental stamina but also provides a clearer perspective on the challenges at hand. It gives us the mental clarity to weigh our options, foresee the consequences of our actions, and make decisions that drive our teams and organizations forward.
Sleep and Creativity
Creativity is another important quality that leaders need to navigate the complexities of the modern business world. It’s what drives innovation, helps solve complex problems, and fosters a culture of continuous improvement. Research suggests that REM sleep—the deep, dream-filled phase of our sleep cycle—plays a significant role in boosting creativity.
During REM sleep, our brains are highly active, processing information from the day, making sense, forming neural connections, and consolidating memories. This period of rest allows our minds to make unusual and abstract connections that might not be possible in our waking hours, thereby nurturing our creative capacities.
Sleep and Emotional Intelligence
Effective leadership isn’t just about making good decisions and coming up with creative solutions. If you are the top leader in your company, community, or what have you, people management is 80% of the task. People management means understanding their emotions, priorities, skill sets, and dynamics among them and navigating appropriately. Studies show that lack of sleep can make us more susceptible to negative emotions like stress, anxiety, and frustration, hindering our ability to connect with others on an emotional level.
Conversely, quality sleep equips us with greater emotional resilience. Well-rested leaders are more likely to exhibit empathy, maintain composure in stressful situations, and build stronger relationships—traits that inspire trust and respect among their teams.
In conclusion, one certain path to successful leadership starts in the unlikeliest of places—your bedroom. A good night’s sleep is more than a biological necessity; it’s a strategic tool for becoming a better leader. So, the question arises how to sleep better? If you are a student or a young professional I will highly recommend you read “How to sleep better”, an article I wrote some time back. If you are a leader, I have developed a set of unique techniques, which I will be happy to share. In the end, remember, every moment of Good Sleep is a step toward becoming a more effective leader, from the Bedroom to the Boardroom.