Why Men Are So Unhappy (and What They Can Do About It)
Jun 15, 2013 - 10:17:12 AM
In my book, Finding Happiness: One Man's Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and-Finally-Let the Sunshine In, I explain that accepting these feelings as "part of life" is a mistake. Not only is happiness life changing and worth fighting for, but consistently lacking it can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Here are seven common reasons why men are so unhappy and what they can do about it:
Problem 1: Men are unsatisfied at work.
Most men feel that a decades-long devotion to a job they don't particularly like is unfair and outdated. We feel pigeonholed and "stuck."
What you can do: Stop wallowing and take action already! If you know your job doesn't utilize your strengths, don't wallow in I-hate-what-I-do misery-take action.
Problem 2: The honeymoon phase is (way) over.
Often, when "romance" turns to "routine," both men and women feel a sense of loss. This is a double blow: Not only are you, the husband, feeling less satisfied; you have an unhappy wife!
What you can do: End your pity party and make your wife feel special. Regardless of whether or not your wife projects her unhappiness onto you, you're most likely to solve the faded-honeymoon problem by being a good husband.
Problem 3: Men are too ambitious.
Many men chase the buzz that comes with success, most often in their careers. For others, financial success and the ability to live a certain lifestyle is seen as a "necessity." But despite fulfilling many of their ambitions, it's common for men to consistently feel unsatisfied.
What you can do: Define happiness for yourself. There's no way around it-you simply must be firm about creating and maintaining a healthy work/life balance.
Problem 4: Men don't take care of themselves.
If they're really honest with themselves, they may acknowledge that they choose to prioritize things other than health and fitness-and all too often that choice leads to a poor body image and sometimes even health problems.
What you can do: Start small, but get moving! If you want to feel better about what you see in the mirror, you have no choice but to take better care of yourself. If you don't exercise already, commit to walking, biking, or swimming for just twenty minutes every other day.
Problem 5: Men don't have strong support systems.
Women tend to be more collaborative, empathetic, and just plain willing to share what they're thinking and feeling. Men, on the other hand, tend not to be as emotionally intertwined with others.
What you can do: Fill up your social calendar with the right people. Make it a priority to spend more time with friends and acquaintances who are positive, who refresh you, and who have things in common with you.
Problem 6: Men are losing their identities.
In many households, guys are no longer the sole breadwinners, and we're definitely not autocratic "heads of families" anymore. No wonder many men are confused about and somewhat dissatisfied with how they fit into twenty-first-century life.
What you can do: Stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Instead, find a square hole! Whenever you're feeling insecure, it's normal to try to compensate by focusing on the areas in which you feel you're lacking. But this strategy only increases your feelings of inadequacy. Don't cling to an identity that's unhealthy for you and your family.
Problem 7: Depression is taboo for men.
There's a prevailing opinion in our society that depression isn't something that should happen to men. That type of thinking is wrong-and very dangerous.
What you can do: Get the facts and don't be afraid to ask for help! I believe that men in particular are hit hard by depression because they are less likely than women to admit that they're struggling. It helped me immensely to learn the facts about depression.
Take it from me-a "successful" life that you don't enjoy isn't really successful at all. So, get serious about identifying the choices, actions, and attitudes that will improve your quality of life.
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About the Author:
Todd Patkin, author of Finding Happiness: One Man's Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and-Finally-Let the Sunshine In and Twelve Weeks to Finding Happiness: Boot Camp for Building Happier People, grew up in Needham, Massachusetts. His new book, The Sunny Days Secret: A Guide for Finding Happiness, is coming in summer 2013. Learn more at www.ToddPatkin.com.
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