Navigating Mental Health in Modern Manhood

Emotional expression plays a crucial role in maintaining mental health and fostering deep, meaningful relationships. However, men often find it challenging to express their feelings as openly as women do. This article delves into the scientific reasons behind this occurrence and offers alternative ways for men to express themselves, supported by insights from Mindsome’s male specialists: Dany Charbel, Bernard Sousse and Doctor Abbas Khadra.


Biological Differences


Research has shown that men and women process emotions differently due to variations in brain structure and hormonal influences. The male brain has a more developed right hemisphere, which is associated with logical reasoning, while the female brain has a more developed left hemisphere, associated with emotional expression and communication. Additionally, testosterone, prevalent in men, is linked to reduced emotional expression, while estrogen, prevalent in women, enhances it.


In terms of mental health


Boys are often discouraged from showing vulnerability from a young age. This social conditioning can lead to difficulties in expressing emotions later in life.

“In the Middle East, Patriarchal concepts still dominate and affect men’s ability to reach psychotherapy in order to improve their mental health. These are misconceptions and fixed ideas about masculinity”, says clinical, existential and integrative psychotherapist Dany Charbel. “For example: ‘a man should not show weakness’, ‘expressing emotions is a lack of masculinity’, or ‘crying is a sign of fragility for men’”.

Bernard Sousse, licensed psychotherapist specialized in existential and psychodynamic therapy, expands on this idea, stating: “A high number of men say they don’t believe in therapy. This is not surprising, given the fact that they were raised according to the social expectations that men, unlike women, should manage any emotional difficulty on their own. I believe, however, that this mentality is slowly changing”.

Additionally, Dany Charbel warns us about the long term consequences of keeping to oneself: “This phenomenon leads to suppressing emotions and turning them towards the body, so they appear in the form of physical symptoms”.


In terms of sexual health


Sexologist, urologist and andrologist, Doctor Abbas Khadra, states: “When a boy is brought up in a very strict environment filled with taboo and shame, he learns to keep quiet and avoid addressing his issues. This neglect can have long-term consequences on their mental and emotional well-being, as unresolved issues related to sexual health can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders”.

Consequently, in order to reduce ignorance and promote healthier attitudes towards sexual and mental health, Doctor Khadra highlights the importance of sex education: “As a sexologist, I believe it’s important for the parents as well as the schools to teach sex education so that young boys can acquire the necessary knowledge about sexual health. There is a lot of ignorance about it, especially in the Arab world, and this need to be changed”.


Alternative Solutions


While putting emotions into words is favorable, there are other effective ways for men to express their feelings:

  • Physical activity: Engaging in physical activities such as sports, exercise, or martial arts can provide an outlet for emotional expression. Physical exertion releases endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce stress.
  • Creative outlets: Art, music, and writing can be alternatives for emotional expression. These activities can help men externalize their emotions without having to verbalize them.
  • Building strong social connections: Developing close friendships and participating in group activities can help men feel supported and understood, making it easier for them to share their feelings when they are ready. According to Bernard Sousse, “a strong support system is one that should primarily be healthy and promote self-care. It’s important for them to know that engaging in therapy when needed is part of self-care. Vulnerability and self-expression in men can be established by offering them non-judgmental active listening and confidentiality, which are key factors. This can also be done by people from their close circle, or anyone else they trust”.


Understanding the challenges men face in expressing their emotions is the first step toward fostering better mental health. By recognizing both the biological and social factors at play, and by exploring alternative methods of emotional expression, men can find healthier ways to navigate their feelings.

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