While weight-training is recommended for optimal health - providing it is safe for you to do so - lifting dumb bells is not what we had in mind when we listed the 8th Habit of Mentally Healthy Men: Be Strong.
This attribute is about acknowledging what you are good at and putting your inherent talents to good use.
According to Health Direct, finding out what you are really good at and using those talents can increase wellbeing. Using your strengths to help others or contribute to the community also creates a sense of meaning and purpose, which is good for our mental health.
Health Direct says you probably have good mental health if:
- You are confident when faced with new situations
- you feel optimistic
- you don’t always blame yourself
- you set goals
- you feel good about yourself
- you have good self esteem
When we asked men to evaluate the importance of knowing what their strengths were and doings things they were good at as a way of staying mentally healthy, 40% strongly agreed and 45% agreed with the statement.
Here are some of the responses.
“There is an inherent feeling of reward in knowing that I have the strengths and capacity to help others.”
“It helps me to remain both confident and proud I myself.”
“My volunteer roles are based on my strengths and give me a sense of satisfaction.”
“Better than trashing myself against a forlorn hope.”
“I enjoy doing things I am good at and make sure I do them for my enjoyment not for recognition. It encouraged me, it gives me a sense of okayness, brings a smile to my face. If others get a benefit from it, their enjoyment is heartwarming.”
“Pushing myself beyond what I feel strong at, within reason, is also vital here – showing myself I can do things I don’t feel strong in is, I’d argue, greater for my mental health than the things I’m strong in, which are more like nice ‘up keep things.’'
Listen to compliments
Marcus Buckingham, author of Now, Discover Your Strengths (and also First, Break All The Rules), advises readers to take note of when they feel invigorated, inquisitive, and successful. “These moments are clues to what your strengths are.”
What compliments do you tend to ignore? Keep an ear out for positive things people say about you, or about something you have been involved in. Don’t deflect or dismiss. Listen to what is being said and take these compliments on board.
Skills can be learned. If there is something you want to learn or improve on, the sky’s the limit. Talent is what comes naturally. It’s what you were born with and everyone came with something special.
Business Insider recommends listing ALL your skills on cards and looking for patterns, or grouping them into “skills I love doing,” “skills I get paid the most for,” “skills I want to improve” or “skills I haven’t used in a long time.”
The next step is to put these cards somewhere visible, keep them in a few locations, including your pocket, and reviewing regularly.
“If you ended up with two note cards and a pattern of “I have no skills, I hate you Jon Acuff,” it might be time to phone a friend. Grab coffee with someone and ask them flat out, “What do you think my skills are?”
“Seeing what skills you currently have on note cards often helps increase the awareness of what’s missing and gives you a jumpstart to identifying the new skills you might need for a new job or to break out of a career rut.”