Here at Ocean Generation, we believe that for the next generation to protect Earth's most precious ecosystem, they must first understand its importance. Our Wavemaker Programme and Deep Currents workshops are designed to empower young people to use their voice and discover how they can make an impact that feels right for them. Zayna took our Deep Currents workshop and is now part of our Wavemaker movement, creating content that speaks to her. 

Rewriting the narrative for Men’s Mental Health is carrying momentum this year and we all have a responsibility to continue this progress. Using our voices, our words, standing up for the unheard and suppressed is a duty we all have and one we should never take for granted.  

What is Men’s Mental Health Month?  

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson said, ‘’I know it’s much easier said than done, especially for us dudes. We’re wired (often to our detriment) to be tough, strong, and adverse to vulnerability. Asking for help is not our weakness, it’s actually our superpower.’’  

Listen to his views on Men’s Mental Health in People Magazine 2021.  

Dwayne Johnson talking about depression and mental health.

June and November recognise and bring awareness to the mental health issues men face as well as celebrating them for who they are. One of the main reasons for raising awareness is to bring light to the triggers behind mental health issues and, most importantly, normalise men speaking up about it.  

It is quite clearcut that society is attempting to be more open about Men’s Mental Health, especially over social media. 

things people need to know: it By @maisiesghost.

Normalising who men are  

History has taught us to characterise men as the ‘stronger’ sex – both physically and mentally – take a look at Mr. Incredible for a second.  

When The Incredibles (2004) came out, he was portrayed as The Man, The Living Legend; beloved by most; great wife and kids.  

The Incredibles (2004) - Cinema Cats

He wanted to return to his superhero days – the missions, the praise, the glory - but little did he know that his fear of failing himself and his family would get the better of him and force him to tread further and further away from everyone who loved him, just because he felt the need to prove himself to the world.  

Come 14 years later to The Incredibles 2 (2018), and Mr. Incredible has become your everyday dad, taking care of his baby, helping with his son’s homework, dropping off his daughter at her date (with curfew), while his wife is out in the world fighting crime.  

Although his new role as stay-at-home dad brought him a new wave of anxiety, frustration, confusion, and loss of sleep, this movie portrays Mr. Incredible confiding in friends for help and resting when needed. 

Men and their mental health need to be more than just statistics and infographics. Their narratives need to be woven into stories, films, articles, documentaries, paintings, sports, jobs, and the list only lengthens.  

So, let’s dive right into that (pun unintended). 

Check out Zach Wood’s (from The Office USA) interview on how he used improv comedy – a form of art and expression – to battle his anxiety. 

How is Men’s Mental Health linked to the Ocean?  

When in proximity with the natural world, human beings feel more at home as it grounds us closer to the Earth.  

Immersion in the Ocean has been known to reduce anxiety and stress and allows us to process things occurring in our lives without any distractions. Like Wallace J. Nichols said,

’Water is medicine for those who need it most...and everyone else.’

Read more of Nichols’ book Blue Mind to learn more on how our emotional health can be affected by water.  

The Ocean and Emotional Health  

Quick Chemistry 101: Nature is filled with ions. Somewhat ironically, negative ions are good for us.  

Because the Ocean is filled with negative ions, it induces a calming effect on the human mind. This is what triggers that instant pleasure when swimming, dipping or even walking through water.  

The Ocean helps relieve symptoms of depression far deeper within us than what meets the eye. Think about it – the waves crashing along the shoreline, fresh saltiness in the air, clear sky that your eyes rest upon – a perfect recipe to put you into a trance-like state which clears your mind of worries and troubles. The Ocean provides us with these simple ingredients and helps us disconnect from the world naturally. 

The negative ions released by the Ocean are immensely beneficial for Men’s Mental Health and wellness. These ions increase the body’s serotonin production (the happy hormone!). This, in particular, represents a great way in which the Ocean is linked with the mental health of humans.  

When negative ions increase the oxygen to the brain, it not only improves your mood, but relieves symptoms of depression and other stress or anxiety-induced feelings.  

To sleep or not to sleep? That is the question.  

Mental health is deep-rooted with not only our physical and emotional health, but also psychological health – this affects sleep.  

One of the most crucial factors which helps us go through life is sleep. But allowing our mind to rest is not always the easiest, and this can offset troubling sleeping patterns.  

Photo by Kimson Doan on Unsplash

How the Ocean helps fight insomnia  

Sea air helps with insomnia because the Oxygen is fresher and cleaner than air we’d find in cities; the sound of crashing waves helps clear our minds and strengthens our immune system.  

On a spiritual note, the Ocean is our escape. Into zen. Into nothingness. Where your thoughts are safe to roam around freely. The vastness of the Ocean and its power can encourage you to put things in a different perspective.  

It may not be able to fix your battles, but it can definitely help you feel lighter.  

Why should there be a greater awareness of the Ocean’s role across Men’s Mental Health?  

Society is increasingly recognising the importance of addressing Men’s Mental Health and how nature has many services to offer them. 

The Ocean allows men to set themselves free under water and even on land  

Men’s Mental Health is more than just a ’... and how does that make you feel?’ question asked ocasionally. It’s about allowing men to feel how they feel freely; all the time. The Ocean makes space for that freeness.  

It allows men to exercise at golden hour, look out into the never-ending water and reminisce their favourite childhood songs, or swim under the waves and use their energy.  

The Ocean has always taken care of us. Now it’s time to be aware.  


About Zayna

Zayna, from Sri Lanka, is a self-declared super smiler, Wavemaker and freelancer in the film and entertainment industry. She believes raising her voice on the topics she cares about is important because no one carries the same views and perspectives, which means we can inspire one another. Connect with Zayna and read more of her work on our blog.

Sources  

How the Ocean is used for Mental Health Therapy
How the Ocean affects human mental health
Men share their experiences with mental health