Hope For The Journey

5 Everyday
Exercises to Help
Men Open Up

Do you feel alone? Like you can’t show people how you really feel? Are you struggling with thoughts like, “being emotional is a weakness”, “I have to be strong for my loved ones”, or “will this person judge me if I tell them how I really feel?”. Learning how to express ourselves emotionally can be a challenge. It is even more challenging for men in American masculinity culture.

As a therapist working with men, I hear those statements often. But you don’t have to continue living this way. This is a universal experience for men, and we can help you learn how to move out of the state of uncertainty and into a place of wellbeing.

Exercise #1: Practicing Acceptance


Guess what? You are human. And as humans, we experience an array of emotions daily. Gender provides no exemption. Practicing acceptance helps us become more in tune with our mind and bodies. The less resistance you have towards it the easier it is to move through it. Have you ever felt depressed and told yourself to stop being depressed? Does it work? I usually hear a resounding NOPE. The answer is not to avoid, deter, numb out, and suppress the fact that you feel depressed. It’s to acknowledge it and be willing to accept that is where you are at in this moment. 

As you are reading this blog now, you are probably in a place knowing that what you are doing is no longer serving you. The first step is recognizing that emotions are natural. And you have every right to feel whatever it is you are feeling. There is no right or wrong emotion. What counts is allowing yourself to sit in the good, the bad, and the ugly as you are learning to tread the ebbs and flows of emotions.

Exercise #2: Create Space


When you have been taught most of your life not to feel your emotions. It can be difficult to know how to fit this into your lifestyle. The next step is to give yourself moments throughout your day where you can sit down and focus on how you are feeling. Look at this as a daily activity that is just as important as brushing your teeth. Brushing your teeth helps prevent cavities much like checking in with your mind, body, and spirit helps prevent unhealthy ways of coping.


Now if you don’t want cavities of the mind, you can take 5 minutes morning and night to give yourself a moment to sit with your emotions. Is it uncomfortable initially? Absolutely! But much like anything in life the more you practice, the easier it gets. Allow yourself to have moments where you can focus on you.



Exercise #3: Identifying The Emotion

An emotion is a state of feeling. Men are conditioned at a young age to disengage with them through avoidance. Now that we know that no longer serves you, we must get in tune with labeling the feeling. It can be challenging to come up with the words because we may be accustomed to saying, “I’m good” or “I’m fine”. But those are not emotions. Check out google, Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, and more to find an ‘emotion wheel’ to get curious about ways of labeling what you are experiencing. Maybe you are feeling sad. Dig deep and identify more words like abandoned, isolated, empty, or disappointed to give your emotion a voice.

Exercise #4: Practice Compassion


Everyone usually has someone they love in their life. It could be your partner, family, friends, or even your pet. If they are experiencing emotional discomfort, it is easier for us to find compassion for others verses ourselves. I’m going to challenge you to tap into that compassion for yourself for a moment. We have all heard that saying, “treat people the way you want to be treated”. It’s time to start treating yourself with some compassion and understanding. 

The human experience is challenging. To not have any outlet to feel within this life is bound to leave you in a state of igniting a fire you can’t control. Giving yourself moments of understanding that you are not okay or you don’t feel great allows that fire to subside. It is okay to show yourself this same level of understanding. If you are saying things to yourself that you would never say to a friend, it’s time to shift. Being cruel to yourself will provide no relief. 

Exercise 5: Celebrate The Small Wins


This might take time to learn and integrate into your daily lifestyle. And that is okay! There is no expectation to become an expert in this overnight. Much like a baby needs to crawl before they walk, and walk before they run, this applies to emotions as well. No one is born into this world as a master of emotions. Remove the pressure to “be a man” and just be YOU.

You have survived this life to this present moment. And learning to cope with your emotions brings a whole new world of growing. If you can show up for yourself the way you have shown up in this life thus far, you are capable. Getting curious about what is beneath the surface can be scary, but the truth lies beneath. I believe in you, and you are worthy of being able to be as you are emotionally. 


Are You Ready To Take The Next Step?


If you are ready to break the cycle of masking your emotions, reach out to us today. We have online or in person therapists available to help you develop skills and tools to overcome these pesky habits and find real ways of coping. Our care coordinator, Diana, can speak with you directly to help find the best fit to meet you where you’re at.

To start online or in-person therapy with Hope for the Journey, please follow these simple steps:

1. Contact Hope for the Journey

2. Meet with a caring therapist

3. Start receiving the support you deserve.

Other Services Offered At Hope For The Journey

Our team is happy to offer a number of services from our Round Rock and Austin therapy offices. Mental health services include therapy for anxiety and depressiondomestic violencesexual assaultPTSD, and EMDR. Our team also provides support for family members of all ages with counseling for teens and young adultschildren and tweenscouplesmen, and parents/partners. Contact us today to learn more about our team and community involvement.

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