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7 Effective Strategies for Managing Male Depression

Depression is affecting men in greater numbers each year — and it often goes ignored, undiagnosed, or untreated.

The overall rate of depression is increasing. A 2023 Gallup poll found that 29% of US adults report having been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives. That’s nearly 10 points higher than in 2015.

Men, in general, are more likely to ignore the symptoms of depression and less likely to seek support or report having been diagnosed with depression.

Unfortunately, that’s not surprising.

For a long time, the cultural standards of masculinity discourage men from expressing emotions or showing emotional weakness, especially sadness and vulnerability. Men are often encouraged to “be strong” and suppress their emotions. This is another reason why mental illness in men often goes unresolved until it’s too late.

Men tend to focus more on physical symptoms, often dismissing what may be clinical depression as simple fatigue, which leaves the actual cause undiagnosed and untreated.

If you think you might be struggling with depression, the best option is always to seek assessment and treatment from a mental health professional. This could include psychotherapy, psychiatry for depression, or a combination of both.

But if you’re waiting for your initial assessment or looking for ways to manage depression symptoms between appointments better, we offer seven effective strategies below. You’ll probably find that some of these work better for you than others. But it’s worth your time to try them all – you might find something you really enjoy.

Could you benefit from therapy or psychiatry for depression? Find your nearest Elite DNA location and speak with an expert today!

7 Ways to Manage Male Depression

1. Find Time for Exercise and Physical Activity

Many men enjoy doing something physical – working out, hiking, playing sports, climbing, running, playing with a pet, etc. And, as it turns out, physical activity is a powerful strategy for managing depression.

Physical activity increases the production of depression-reducing neurotransmitters like Endorphins, Serotonin, and Dopamine. These natural mood-lifters also help create an increased feeling of well-being. If you take your physical activity outside during daylight hours, you get an extra boost of serotonin from sunlight.

If you have a physical activity or exercise routine you already enjoy, try increasing how frequently you do it or its duration. Or get started with an easy 10-minute walk. Listen to some of your favorite music or a podcast.

The most effective benefit usually comes from 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, three to five times per week.

2. Choose Healthier Lifestyle Options

There’s a lot of truth in the saying “You are what you eat.” What we put in our bodies can have a big effect on our mental health.

So does the way we sleep, relax, and manage stress. In fact, stress management, proper nutrition, and living a healthy lifestyle often contribute to mitigating instances of sexual dysfunction – including erectile dysfunction in men.

Processed foods are low in essential nutrients and can disrupt the neurotransmitters that regulate mood. They’re high in unhealthy fats and added sugars. These contribute to chronic inflammation which has been linked to depression.

Sugary foods cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar. The effect on our energy levels and mood can worsen depression symptoms.

Take a moment to think about your daily diet. Can you increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins? Or can you reduce highly processed foods, sugary drinks, and snacks?

Stress is a major contributor to depression in men because it often goes unmanaged. Explore different stress management and relaxation techniques. Mindfulness, meditation, and yoga are increasingly popular ways to manage stress.

As for sleep, try to get seven to eight hours each night. Try turning off your phone and TV screens for an hour before going to sleep. And reduce the amount of light in your bedroom to improve the quality of your sleep. Lack of sleep and poor-quality sleep can intensify depression symptoms.

3. Build Social Connections & Support

Men commonly self-isolate when experiencing depression. It can reduce stressors, but it exacerbates the loneliness that often comes with depression.

Social support and connection can reduce these symptoms. Sharing feelings with friends, trusted family members or a therapist can help you feel understood. It also reduces the feelings of loneliness that come with depression.

You might look into joining a team sports league or running group in your area. You’ll get the benefits of both physical activity and social connection.

You can also look for men’s depression support groups in your area. Many men find these extremely helpful. Connecting with others who understand what you’re going through reduces the feeling of being alone in your struggle.

4. Increase your Self-Esteem

Depression often comes with increased negative self-talk, which can impact your self-esteem.

The first step is just paying attention to this self-talk. When you notice negativity, challenge it. Remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments. Recall specific times when you overcame a challenge or when you achieved something you’re proud of.

Realize that depression can make even common activities difficult. It can deplete your energy and motivation. Give yourself credit for doing simple things that felt difficult. Getting out of bed and showering can be a big accomplishment when you’re experiencing depression. 

Recognize your daily successes, no matter how small.

5. Focus on Problem-Solving

Many men find taking a solution-oriented approach very appealing and helpful.

But don’t focus on ridding yourself of depression altogether, especially at first.

Instead, focus on addressing issues that underly your symptoms.

If pressures from work are triggers, try to identify the specific issues, and consider different ways to manage depression and address triggers.

If tight deadlines are triggers, consider how you could change them. Or learn some new time management techniques. If social situations are a trigger, could you bring a friend or loved one to make them more enjoyable? Could you plan on leaving earlier, or scheduling something more enjoyable immediately after?

Finding solutions to address specific triggers can reduce risk factors — and be gratifying as they also help to mitigate the all-encompassing feelings of helplessness that often come with depression.

6. Explore Mindfulness and Other Relaxation Techniques

Depression therapy for men often involves mindfulness techniques. Mindfulness is a collection of simple practices that help connect us to the present. They calm the mind and reduce the negative thoughts created by depression.

You can try a simple breathing exercise by sitting on the floor or a chair, closing your eyes, and paying attention to the physical sensation of breathing. Notice your breathing pattern without judging it or trying to change it. Are the breaths short or long? Do they vary from breath to breath? Notice your chest and abdomen rising as you inhale and falling as you exhale.

You could also try a simple body scan exercise. Begin the same way, by sitting comfortably on the floor or in a chair. Close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Then start scanning down your body, starting at the top of your head and working slowly downward. Notice where you feel tension in your body. Don’t try to correct it. Just notice it; then continue scanning.

Try both exercises and see if you prefer one or the other. Set a timer for five to 20 minutes to start.

You can also try more physical techniques, such as yoga or progressive relaxation.

There are several mobile apps available for mindfulness, yoga, progressive relaxation, and visualization. You can practice them anywhere you have space and time.

7. Engage in Activities You Enjoy

Engaging in monotonous activities or those that you may just find yourself going through the motions with can trigger depression over time. This is why it’s imperative to find time to engage in hobbies, interests, and things you enjoy. They can bring relaxation, boost your mood, distract you from negative thoughts, and create a sense of accomplishment.

Do you play music, build things, garden, or explore nature? Try to make more time for whatever it is you enjoy. It’s a simple, but effective aid in managing depression symptoms.

Trust the Experts at Elite DNA for Depression Treatment and Symptoms Management

We hope you’ve found this exploration of depression management techniques for men helpful. And we hope you’ll try a few and find what works best for you.

If you’d like to explore professional treatment, don’t hesitate to contact us. As we mentioned earlier, too many men avoid treatment and suffer needlessly, and you could be dealing with severe depression without even realizing it.

Elite DNA offers many different treatment modalities for severe or underlying depression in men. Many are available via telehealth. Psychiatry for depression, TMS therapy, psychoanalysis, mindfulness, and medication management – our comprehensive services can help bring back your love for life. Remember, early diagnosis is key to optimal wellness.

Looking for the best male depression treatment? Find your nearest Elite DNA location and schedule an appointment today!

*The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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