There is a recurring theme in men’s health: stress is bad for you. Stress seems to be a four-letter word in this area. Stress goes unseen, unheard in the lives of men, but it is the first thing that the doctor will ask about during a checkup.
“Is there too much stress in your life?” The answer, at least for most men, is “yes.”
Women have this problem too, but it seems to be more prominent in men’s health. Stress affects men’s health more seriously than normal, especially in regards conditions involving the heart.
How do men typically cope with stress?
Men cope with stress differently than their female counterparts. The most common thing that a man does in response to stress is bottle up his feelings and avoid talking out their feelings with family, friends, and doctors. This increases the damage done by stress.
Traditional views on masculinity may play an important role in this response. In previous ways of thinking, any type of vulnerability was seen as feminine, which men were supposed to avoid unless they wanted to be seen as not manly enough. While it was more socially acceptable for a woman to admit she was stressed, it was socially taboo for a man to admit it.
Men are also known for not asking for help. Struggling through stress can be difficult for both men and women, but men do not want to admit to a struggle.
Are you stressed?
Before you can even think about getting better, you have to be able to recognize the symptoms of stress that you are experiencing.
Feeling tired is a common symptom of stress. However, the flip side of this is that the inability to sleep is also a symptom, so they feed into each other.
A loss of concentration is also frequently reported. It becomes hard to focus and harder still to complete tasks at hand. A lack of motivation is characteristic of stress, so not only are you unable to finish a task, you are unable to find the will to begin them in the first place.
Headaches are common, but also aches and pains in the body, frequently in the lower back and neck. This is where men typically carry the bulk of their stress, leading to strain.
Alcohol or drug use can increase in times of stress. Men often turn to substance as a coping mechanism, which can only worsen the underlying problem with stress.
Along with these symptoms, stress can also create more severe medical conditions, such as problems with digestion, chest pain, high blood pressure and/or heart rate, problems with sexual performance, and skin problems.
There are very few parts of the body and the life that are not affected by high levels of stress.
What causes stress in men?
Just about anything in life can cause stress, but usually in high stress situations, more than one source of stress is present.
Health can cause stress on the body. Men can face a large number of potential health problems throughout life, and surely that can stress you out.
Another frequent source of stress is the job and workplace. Deadlines, meetings, coworkers, and bosses are just some of the more stressful things in life.
Even family can be a source of stress. Maintaining positive relationships with your spouse, children, and other family members is a big task.
Finances are also a source of stress for many men. Men are typically seen to be the primary breadwinners of their family, so a lot rides on their ability to provide. This can place pressure on any man’s shoulders, leading to more stress.
Overall, Americans live at a face pace as well. Just when we think we have everything figured out, life is bound to throw us another curveball. We are expected to roll with the punches and quickly adapt to situations, and this can be particularly stressful.
Any number of the aforementioned stressors can affect you, and sometimes it is a combination of stressful things.
How do men cope with stress?
There are a limitless number of stressors in the world, but thankfully there are ways to cope with them all. Here are a few great pieces of advice that can help you the next time stress starts to take control of your life:
- Accept the things you cannot change. You cannot change other people in your life, just like you cannot change the weather. Find a way to enjoy the rain. Put a positive spin on things.
- Do not bite off more than you can chew. Do not over-schedule yourself. Learn how to say no when there is already too much on the table.
- Put positivity first. Looking on the bright side can make the little things easy to carry. Having a negative attitude can make the little things unbearable.
- Solve the root cause of your stress. In some cases, there is one specific thing that causes our problems with stress. Removing this from your life can make a world of difference.
- Avoid situations that you know will be stressful. If someone gets on your nerves, do your best to spend as little time with them as possible, for example.
- Do the hard stuff first. Whatever the most important task is, move that up on your to do list and do the more trivial things later. Try to avoid multitasking.
- Take time to celebrate victories. When you finish a project or accomplish a goal, celebrate with yourself. Treat yourself in a way that is special to you before you move to the next thing.
- Meditation works. Spending even 10 minutes a day on mindfulness can drastically reduce levels of stress. Clear the mind, be quiet, and breathe.
Along with all of these, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and sleeping well can also make stress less impactful on your life.
Overall, your outlook is the most important way to combat stress. You have to enjoy life as it comes, hard and easy, but a little meditating did not hurt anyone. Remember to breathe!