Don’t Man Up, Reach out!

Today men often face a unique set of pressures and expectations, many of which are rooted in outdated notions of masculinity. One of the most pervasive and harmful of these expectations is the idea that men should “man up” and handle stress and emotional challenges on their own. This mindset not only undermines men’s mental health but also hinders their ability to form meaningful connections and receive the support they need. In this blog, we’ll explore why reaching out when you’re stressed is crucial, debunk the myth of “manning up,” and provide practical steps for seeking help.

The Myth of Manning Up

The phrase “man up” is deeply embedded in our culture, often used to imply that showing vulnerability or seeking help is a sign of weakness. This toxic notion of masculinity suggests that men should be stoic, self-reliant, and emotionally resilient, no matter the circumstances. However, this mindset is not only unrealistic but also detrimental to men’s overall well-being.

Research has shown that societal expectations for men to man up contribute to a range of negative outcomes, including increased rates of depression, anxiety, and even suicide. Men are often socialized to internalize their emotions and avoid seeking help, which can lead to a buildup of stress and unresolved emotional issues. This internalization can manifest in harmful behaviors, such as substance abuse or aggression, as a way to cope with the unaddressed stress.

The Importance of Reaching Out

Contrary to the outdated notion of manning up, reaching out for help is a sign of strength and self-awareness. Acknowledging that you are experiencing stress and seeking support is a proactive step toward maintaining your mental health and overall well-being.

  1. Improved Mental Health: Talking about your feelings and experiences can help alleviate the burden of stress and prevent the development of more severe mental health issues. Sharing your thoughts with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist can provide a sense of relief and help you gain new perspectives on your challenges.
  2. Strengthened Relationships: Reaching out when you’re stressed can strengthen your relationships by fostering open communication and mutual support. When you share your struggles, you create opportunities for deeper connections and understanding with others. This mutual vulnerability can build trust and solidarity, making your relationships more resilient.
  3. Reduced Stigma: By openly discussing your mental health and seeking help, you contribute to reducing the stigma associated with men’s mental health issues. This can encourage other men to do the same, creating a ripple effect that promotes a culture of openness and support.

Practical Steps for Reaching Out

Recognizing the need to reach out is the first step; the next is taking action.

Here are some practical steps you can take to seek support when you’re feeling stressed.

Identify Trusted Individuals: Think about the people in your life whom you trust and feel comfortable talking to. This could be a friend, family member, coworker, or mentor. Choose someone who has shown empathy and understanding in the past.

Start the Conversation: It can be challenging to start a conversation about your feelings, especially if you’re not used to discussing them. Begin by sharing a small aspect of what you’re experiencing. For example, you could say, “I’ve been feeling really stressed lately and could use someone to talk to.” This opens the door for further discussion without overwhelming either party.

Seek Professional Help: If your stress feels unmanageable or persists over time, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. Therapists and counselors are trained to provide support and strategies for managing stress and emotional challenges. Remember, seeking professional help is a sign of strength and self-care.

Join Support Groups: Support groups provide a safe space for individuals to share their experiences and offer mutual support. Many communities and organizations offer support groups specifically for men, addressing topics such as stress, mental health, and emotional well-being.

Practice Self-Care: Incorporate self-care practices into your daily routine to help manage stress. This could include physical activities like exercise, mindfulness techniques like meditation, or hobbies that bring you joy and relaxation. Self-care is an essential component of maintaining mental health and resilience.

Real-Life Examples

Understanding the benefits of reaching out can be further reinforced through real-life examples.

Here are a few stories of men who have successfully navigated their stress by seeking support.

Terry Crews: The actor and former NFL player Terry Crews has been vocal about his struggles with mental health and the importance of seeking help. He has shared his experiences with therapy and how it helped him manage stress and trauma, emphasizing that reaching out for support is a powerful step toward healing.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock, has opened up about his battles with depression and the importance of asking for help. His candid discussions about mental health have inspired many men to seek support and challenge the stigma surrounding men’s emotional well-being.

Kevin Love: NBA player Kevin Love has been an advocate for mental health awareness, sharing his experiences with anxiety and panic attacks. By speaking out and seeking therapy, he has highlighted the importance of addressing mental health issues and the benefits of reaching out for support.

The notion of manning up and handling stress alone is an outdated and harmful expectation that continues to affect men’s mental health and relationships. By reaching out for help, men can improve their mental well-being, strengthen their relationships, and contribute to a culture that values openness and support. It’s time to redefine what it means to be strong and embrace the power of vulnerability and connection.

Reaching out when you’re stressed is not a sign of weakness; it’s a testament to your strength and self-awareness. By taking proactive steps to seek support, you can navigate life’s challenges more effectively and build a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Let’s challenge the myth of “manning up” and encourage a future where men feel empowered to reach out and thrive.


NAPS – Men’s Mental Health: Reaching Out is a Sign of Strength

WTCSB – “Man-Up:” Barriers to Men’s Mental Health

BHMA – Men’s mental health: why are we are trying to change masculinity

Spring Health – How to Support Men’s Mental Health at Work

NCBI – Masculinity, Social Connectedness, and Mental Health

All information, content, and material are for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. The information supplied through or on this page, or by any representative or agent of The Wellness Universe, is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice. Health-related information provided through this website is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat health problems or to prescribe any medical devices or other remedies. The Wellness Universe reserves the right to remove, edit, move, or close any content item for any reason, including, but not limited to, comments that are in violation of the laws and regulations formed pursuant to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. None of the posts and articles on The Wellness Universe page may be reprinted without express written permission.

David McLeod Class Promo

Grateful at Last! A Guided Tour to Life’s Greatest Gift

A journey of awakening, healing, and growth based on the compelling book A Life to Die For.

Catch the replay –

WU 4 Book ADs

see how our self-care books are helping thousands of people around the world. Digital and paperback books are available now.

Connect to the people that help you live your best life: The Wellness Universe

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *