By Darci L. Graves, MA, MA, MPP
We Ask a Lot of Our Men.
We ask them to be strong, to provide, protect and endure. These qualities can become liabilities when it comes to their health. To be sick is to be perceived as weak. To be fragile is to be unable to protect. To ask for help is to succumb and not endure. Physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing can all be compromised when men try to remain stalwart in the face of illness, adversity or trauma. Society asks them to power through, when it may be most appropriate for them to power down. Their thread of spirituality has become frayed and ragged. There is evidence to show that men experience lower levels of religious, existential and spiritual well-being. Spirituality is known to have a positive influence on one’s overall health.
Spiritual Well-being Connections
Clearly defined, spiritual well-being is a sense of connection with others, a way of finding meaning in one’s life, and figuring out how to nurture oneself in order to attain wellness. That same society, which encourages them to power through, also prescribes nature, art and creative expression as ways to improve one’s spiritual wellness. But what if you or the man in your life is one that scoffs at the sunsets, balks at a trip to the art museum and declines to pick up a paint brush.
How the Formerly Rugged, Now Ragged Man Finds His Spiritual Thread?
Maybe he goes for a long solitary drive. Maybe he joins the men’s group at church and participates in outings, barbeques or sports games. Maybe it is hitting a bucket of balls at the driving range or spending time in a batting cage. Maybe it is watching that Western that he loves, because he and his father used to watch it together. Or maybe it is grilling meat over an open flame, invoking the fundamental typecast while embracing a healthier way to prepare dinner. Any and all of these are approaches can allow men to achieve a sense of religious, or spiritual, wellbeing.
Resources and References:
Hammermeister, J., Flint, M., El-Alayli, A., Ridnour, H., and Peterson, M. (2005). Gender differences in spiritual well-being: are females more spiritually-well than males? American Journal of Health Studies http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CTG/is_1-2_20/ai_n27869283/?tag=content;col1
Hawks, S. R., Hull, M., Thalman, R. L., & Richins, P. M. (1995). Review of spiritual health: definition, role, and intervention strategies in health promotion. American Journal of Health Promotion, 9, 371-378.
Insel, P., and Roth, W. (2012). Wellness Worksheets Twelfth Edition.The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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