5 February, 2023
Previous Outside & Active Podcast guest, Men & Mountains founder, and 'Rethinking Masculinity' author, Dan Stanley, has made the first chapter of his book freely available for Outside & Active readers.
In 2017, I was a husband and a father, a retired, award-winning senior army commando, a former national sporting champion and a key stake holder in a 7 figure business. I was also living a lie, feeling lost in my own life.
Beneath the façade of fake smiles, being outwardly energetic, confident and happy, I had spiralled into a midlife identity crisis; it nearly cost me my marriage and my sanity.
I need to act. I broke free from the stigma’s of poor mental health and feelings of shame and decided take time out from the noise of life. Doing so, I realised that many other ‘successful on paper’ men were actually feeling the way I was. This sparked fundamental questions for me – is how we’re living our lives the right way to live? Is our view of masculinity serving its purpose? I came to a sobering conclusion: no.
From the moment men are born, they are exposed to trifecta of conditioning: parental, societal and educational. These hand us a one dimensional blueprint of masculinity; men work, they provide and protect. They are strong, silent, decisive decision makers.
The problem is, we still, unconsciously, follow this blueprint today and what the men of our fathers’ and grandfathers’ generation passed down to us, the men of today, is no longer fit for purpose.
Did you know that the least happy and most anxious men in the population are those aged forty to fifty-nine?[i] Around this time, for many men, the pressure of work and careers collide with their wider life and parental responsibilities.
In my Amazon bestselling book, Rethinking Masculinity - you can access the first chapter for free my clicking the link below – I shine a light on what I believe, from professional experience and extensive research, to be the top 5 challenges affecting the men of today: Workaholism, Loneliness, Poor Mental Health, Midlife crisis, and Divorce.
I believe it time masculinity matures; that we pulled the plaster off not just a gender issue, but a societal one. My vision is that the men of today can redefine the standards of successful masculinity so that our sons and daughter, tomorrow’s men and women do not experience the same ‘life’ challenges we do today.
As part of my vision, I lead a men’s walking community, aptly named, Men & Mountains. We meet monthly, usually in the fans of the Brecon Beacons but we have explored other areas of the UK and French Alps. Our focus is creating connection through conversation, promoting positive wellbeing, and providing a space for likeminded men to walk, talk and share openly, their experiences. There’s around 350 of us now and there’s no cost or commitment to join.
For me, being outdoors is a tonic to the stresses and pressures of everyday life; I am often heard saying, ‘conversation is the cure and movement is medicine’ and when I am not leading Men & Mountains, I can be found running trials on the Gower peninsular or exploring other areas of Wales with my young family and Spaniel. This year, I’ll be joining a panel of speakers at the National Outdoor Expo, we will be discussed the positive impact of the outdoors on mental wellbeing.
Don’t forget, get the first chapter of my book now by clinking the link below.
Rethinking Masculinity | Dan Stanley (better-men.uk)
[i] Gayle, D, ‘People aged 40–59 are least happy and most anxious, report finds’ (The Guardian, 2 February 2016) www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/02/middle-aged-people-least-happy-most-anxious-ons-wellbeing-report, accessed 25 February 2022
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