Does anybody really like the phrase “Man up!”?
I know it’s used as a throw-away comment, but it’s potentially undermining for both genders, implying that gender alone dictates your levels of resilience.
Men make up approximately 40% of my client base. Yes, 4 in 10 of the people that currently see me for 1-2-1 sessions, are men, ranging in age from 17-76. People are often surprised to hear this fact, and in truth, I guess we’re all aware of legacy stereotypes and gender bias. BUT, I’m a huge advocate of making mental wellness and psychological strength available to ALL, and therefore I’m delighted to welcome everybody into my clinic.
Whilst there’s no evidence that men experience any less stress than women, they are less likely to “report it” and are also more likely to experience associated chronic illness. There are a number of factors at play here.
Studies have shown that for men, the areas of the brain associated with vigilance and negative emotions fire up more than in women doing the same task. At the same time the regions associated with positive emotions and pleasure were suppressed in response to the stressful task.
There‘s a good deal of evidence that men are actually more disposed to the fight or flight response when under stress. Once an essential response to protect our ancient ancestors very survival, that heart stopping, stomach dropping feeling is a much less helpful response to modern day stressors. Women on the other hand are known to produce higher levels of oxytocin, when stressed, which dampens the effects of cortisol and epinephrine (stress related hormones), driving a more nurturing response to resolving difficult situations.
In addition to all of this, we continue to navigate the many well-worn and unhelpful implications that men should simply be able to fix problems, suck it up, maintain a stiff upper lip and “brave it out“.
MEN...you don’t need to “suck it up”. Your wellbeing is important.
You are worth taking care of.
Don‘t hesitate to seek help or support if you feel you need it.