This week, since it’s Men’s Health Week, our topic is men’s health. Why is it that men have such difficulty discussing health conditions they might be having? Why don’t they act like women and share their feelings? The clue is in the question.
Unsurprisingly men are different to women. Whereas women are used to monitoring their bodies, listening to the messages they get from every transient emotion, muscle and hormone, and monitoring the health of their family too, men are experts at stoically ignoring every single message of pain, discomfort and mood. Ask a man how he’s feeling and he will almost always say he feels fine. A lot of the time, statistically speaking, he must be lying.
Men have a unique gender specific psychology which served them well when humans first lived on this Earth. The hunter gatherers needed to keep going in harsh conditions, even if injured, or the tribe would die. In the modern age, however, stoic ignoring of pain and internal suffering is less useful; on the contrary – sometimes it can kill you.
Also the modern world of work, unless you are blessed with an outdoor job, is fraught with stress and immobility. We work in close quarters with many other people, only some of whom we actually like, and are forced to stay still in a chair and work most of the day. Add to this the masculine tendency to see any sign of illness as weakness, and to admit to needing help as a sign of failure, and you have a recipe for very poor health.
Men don’t want to be ill, they want to provide, they want to protect. Illness is a distraction. However the healthy approach is to be more aware of yourself, admit to problems and confront them. Treat them as a challenge and not a problem at all.
Join us this week as we look at some of the main health problems men ignore which they really shouldn’t.