Live More Happily And Empathically After #Internationalmenshealthweek

Happiness And Empathy Build A More Caring World

Happiness And Empathy Help Build Well Being

You might know that we are most of the way through International Men’s Health Week (13 to 19 June).

The 2016 theme is setting goals and taking action to reduce the stresses in your life. Being a happier man is one of the positive results.

A week ago, when I started planning what to post here about IMHW I was creating the sort of ‘How To’ information which could lead to less stressful living. It helps that  7 days ago I was also creating visuals, like the one above, as part of a Carers Week workshop on Experiencing Greater Happiness..

The workshop highlighted the close relationship between happiness and empathy, well-being Mindfulness and other healthier living ideas.

As I say that was the content I had planned.

Something changed over the weekend though.

What Can Happen When Empathy Is Missing?

Over the weekend a mentally troubled man decided to drive for an hour across Florida from his home to his destination and commit mass murder. This wasn’t a spur of the moment thing. He had armed himself with an assault rifle and a handgun.

His crime scene was the Pulse Bar (a venue which serves Orlando’s ethnically  diverse Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and progressive straight communities). On the weekend it was full of people living life, enjoying liberty and pursuing happiness. Free to do so during Pride Month or any other time.

The shooter took advantage of that freedom.

He shot his way in, stalking the people he didn’t cut down immediately and holding some hostage. Ultimately he killed 49 people. His spree also led to 53 more clubbers being hospitalised.

Now every partner, sibling, parent and friend of the dead and injured will spend the rest of their lives living with the pain he inflicted.

How Men Can Use Empathy

A few days has made a big difference to my sense of what ‘men’s health’ means.

From wanting to talk about the simple goal of happiness for men I end up talking about big ideas like empathy, well-being, connection and care.

We need to work on solutions for men – straight, bi, gay, queer, questioning men – so that we are better able to manage our inner state and our relationships with the world.

In the days ahead it is important we do what we can to connect to and care for each other a bit more than usual.

We can all use empathy to better understand what is happening in other people’s lives and how they might be feeling.

In particular, if you feel there is someone close to you who seems overwhelmed take time to check in with him. That’s really important since (Breaking News) men don’t always volunteer information about ‘feelings’.

So fellas, try empathy. Simply asking your mate, your brother, your partner ‘How Are You’, then listening to the tone of the answer and supporting them through tough times can make all the difference.

How Will You Make A Difference?

Thanks for reading this post on the challenges facing men. How will you act differently now? As I finalised these words the discussion over the murder of British Parliamentarian Jo Cox – and the disconnected background of the suspect – is ringing in my ears.

Something has to change.

Feel free to share this post with anyone who would find it useful. I am on Twitter @RogerD_Said if you want to comment on the themes I mentioned.

 

Goals 2014: One Step You Can Take To Be A More Confident & Resilient Carer

Are you feeling the strain of being a carer for an elderly parent or relative?  If the answer is “Yes” and you are in the UK then chances are you are a woman, rather than a man.  The current caring statistics and facts from Carers UK indicate that of the 3 million people in the country caring for relatives, 58% are women.

What does caring save?

Carers save the economy £119 billion per year (an average of £18,473 per carer).  However, 1 in 5 of those people who act as carers, whilst also working, are forced to give up work altogether.  The reason for this: the significant demands of combining caring and work.

What does caring cost you, the carer?

Caring obviously takes its toll on the woman, or man, making the effort to support their relative.  It can be emotionally demanding to support an elderly parent.  The carer’s well-being can take a knock.  It can also place a strain on the network of other important relationships in your life.  The emotional journey can affect your confidence too.

What questions could you ask yourself to establish how you feel about being a carer?

What is your goal regarding combining caring responsibilities with your working life? Where does your support come from while you are bearing the stress of supporting someone else?  What is the impact on your wider life and relationships of being a carer?

How do the key issues impact other people’s lives?

This question was aired in a moving edition of BBC radio 4’s Woman’s Hour today.  There are seemingly as many answers as there are carers.  For some carers unresolved family conflicts can be exposed by one person shouldering the responsibility of looking after a parent.  For others caring is an act of love, reflecting life long closeness and affection.

If you are UK Based you can find the recent editions of Woman’s Hour on iPlayer by searching for Radio 4 programming here  You can follow the programme on Twitter @BBCWomansHour

The Woman’s Hour discussion reminded me of a tweet  late last year, concerning how to manage challenging family relationships.  Do follow the link to read into the topic.

What action will you take this week to improve your confidence & resilience as a carer?

Developing an ever more secure adult identity helps: you are entitled to seek help and effective support.

How would you feel about making one inspired change, following International Women’s Day, this Saturday?  Could you share more information about the impact of your caring duties with your employer, partner, and friends?  How much better could your situation become if these important people truly understood what you were experiencing and provide you with more effective support this year?

Good luck to you as you take action to help improve your capacity to care for others and yourself.

Feel free to check out my Archive section for more thoughts on well-being and pursuing life goals.  There are further ideas relating to these areas on Facebook and Google+ too

Women Hold Up Half The Sky

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, Internat...

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

8 March is International Women’s Day.  The BBC News site has been subtle when integrating women-centred stories in each of its sections.  I spotted consideration of women’s issues in terms of:

Business

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21704161

Education

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21698522

Sport

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/21667560

and, sadly,  the cost of gender-based strife women face daily

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21696469

 

Usually the focus of stories would be focused on individuals like

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde

– former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

– or world beating Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling

How often are the individual stories put into the larger context of women’s lives?  What could be achieved if more people thought about the inter-connectedness of people’s lives?  Thinking about this topic, alongside other ‘What Ifs’, could make a difference for each of us http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-21069026