During the November’s round table of 2020, many issues regarding psychological stresses were discussed. Some were relating to gender expectations and others were about the stresses relating to work and school.
When discussing about stigmas relating to today’s mental health, some youths have pointed out that men’s emotional needs were being culturally disregarded. One of the male youth has mentioned that he does not remember the last time that he cried. Another male youth spoke about the cultural expectations for men has increased the risks for developing mood disorders as men were expected to be the ones that are “tough and strong”, and they are being looked down upon when expressing certain emotions. As a result, many men in today’s society are not regulating their emotions in a very healthy manner.
A student mentioned that many members of our society believes that “men are tough, therefore don’t require treatment”. The truth is, every human will experience emotions regardless of gender, everyone has social and emotional needs that should be taken care of. Neglecting those needs will often times lead to psychological problems down the line, such as sadness and depression, which can give rise to anger and aggression (Berkowitz, 1990).
The proclivities of toxic masculinity creates resistance to psychotherapy (Kupers, 2005). Which is a huge problem for those men in need of treatment, as their own behaviors are a barrier to receiving the treatment that they need. The resistance to needed treatment will likely result in more problems down the line, because the psychological problem may worsen as time goes by. Therefore, it is important to seek/accept treatment when needed for your own mental health and well being.
Social media/ social network use combined with toxic masculinity fosters psychological issues among men. The ubiquitous use of SM/SN does not integrate well with psychological theory or practice (Parent et al., 2019). Therefore, has great potential to exploit human psychology for cooperate use while worsening the individual’s mental conditions. Research measured the SM/SN interactions and depression among a sample of 402 men. The results of the study’s structural equation modeling analysis has proven that SM/SN use and toxic masculinity have correlations with depression (Parent et al., 2019).
Study/ Work Stress
Another issue mentioned was the school/work stress some individuals may have experienced. One of which is the toxicity of an overly competitive environment, where students may feel incompetent due to a slightly less than perfect grade, or a “glorification of suffering”, where people romanticize about sleeping less, and working for a overly extended period of time, to the point which they have little to no time for a good rest.
Among today’s population, it appears that there is a trend for romanticizing working over hours, and/ or excess studying as it displays diligence. However, there are many cases at which the individual is working over the healthy capacity and are not regulating the stress from healthy rest. The relationship between stress and human’s autonomic nervous system, and the immune system can be bidirectional( Kemeny, 2003 ). If those patterns continues on for a long duration, both the mental and physical health of the individual will likely suffer due to a high amount of cortisol (a type of stress hormones ) within the individual’s system over an extended period of time. Even though individuals can adapt to the physiological alterations in the short term, chronic or repeated provocation can damage the individual’s health as the result (Kemeny, 2003). Therefore, it is very important to ensure that you are working towards your goals, while taking the necessary rest to make sure that you remain healthy.
One strategy mentioned by one of the students during November’s round table was instead of focusing on the amount of hours spent on the work, focus on the amount of work completed. This increases the efficiency of working while decreasing the amount of time spent on those work, leaving more time for the individual to rest. Another important issue mentioned by a student is that even though a student may be already achieving good grades, they still do not feel they are competent enough due to comparing themselves with other students that scored higher than them, or setting very high expectations that can only be achieved by the top 1%. In the student’s case, he mentioned that in his IB class a student felt like they were not smart enough when they receive a grade below their expectations. This way of thinking can repeatedly induce stress for the individuals, and can lead to both mental, and physiological health problems down the way.
In the end, it is important to regulate one’s stress, get enough rest, and to develop a healthy way of thinking to maintain/improve one’s physical, and mental health.
Berkowitz, L. (1990). On the formation and regulation of anger and aggression: A cognitive-neoassociationistic analysis. American Psychologist, 45(4), 494-503. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.45.4.494
Kupers TA, 2005, Journal of Clinical Psychology, Volume 61; Issue 6.
Kemeny ME, 2003, The Psychology of Stress, Association for Psychological Science. Volume 12, Issue 4
Parent MC, Gobble TD, Aaron R, Psychology of Men & Masculinities – Toxic masculinity and depression, American Psychological Association, Volume 20(3); 277 – 287