How Men Can Cope With Stress
Nobody can really say that they are immune to stress. We are living in a fast-paced and busy world where we encounter stressors almost every week. From fast approaching deadlines at work to end of semester exams that you have to pass. We face so many stressors that can affect the quality of our lives. It is worth noting that stress is not always bad for your health. In low levels, stress can motivate you to read for exams or work towards meeting a deadline. But if you find yourself always overwhelmed or anxious, your body and mind may pay a hefty price. You probably are reading this and going through something that is stressing you out. Whatever that thing is if you are a man you ought to know that we respond differently to stressors than women.
Mental health experts say that men do not share their stress the same way women do. That tells you that men coping strategies for stress are different from women. When women are stressed out, they usually reach out to friends for comfort. Women openly speak out their mind so that they can reduce their anxiety levels and find a solution to their problem. Men, on the other hand, are known to escape from stressors. In other words, this is what is commonly referred to as flight or fight response. For many centuries, men depended on their body mechanism to cope with physical stress. However, this has changed in the modern age where men are usually confronted with emotional stress.
It is practically impossible for men to try and fight or escape from stressful situations. However, that is what most men do when they are stressed out. For example, if a man is having problems with his spouse, he may choose to take some time alone to sip a few drinks in a club. They choose to hide their feelings without discussing them with anyone. Reality hits them hard when they arrive back home to the same stressor. So, the million dollar question is how can men cope with stress? You can deal with stress by learning to recognize the symptoms and signs of stress and using the right strategies to reduce their harmful effects. Before we look at the different strategies that men can use to cope with stress, let’s first understand the meaning of stress.
What is stress
Stress basically refers to the way your body responds to situations that are perceived to be stressful to one’s physical, emotional, mental or spiritual well-being. When you sense a threat, whether imagined or real, your body’s mechanism responds to the situation which leads to a flight or fight response. Your body responds to a stressful situation by releasing chemicals and hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. This response is a way of your body protecting you from the stressful situation by preparing it for a physical action. When you find your heart beating fast or your energy is high, it is because of the adrenaline hormone. Cortisol also boosts your energy by triggering glucose release into the bloodstream. This extra energy will help you run away when faced with physical threats.
Men and stress
It is not abnormal for men to be stressed sometimes. In fact, we all need a certain amount of stress so that we can function properly in our day to day lives. The problem comes in when you have too much stress. Excessive stress can cause your body to release stress hormones over an extended time period. This can cause you to experience signs and symptoms of stress like headaches, dizziness, high blood pressure, chest pains, fatigue or shortness of breath. In the worst case, stress can lead to increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Most of the time, stress can make men feel angry, experience fear, anxiety and distrust, which can destroy their relationship at work or home. That is why men need to learn how to cope with stress successfully.
How to cope with stress
Being able to cope with stress can reduce the symptoms of stress so that you can think clearly and solve the problems well. Relaxing techniques such as meditation, massage, warm shower or reading a book can help you cope with negative stress effects. Also, adopting a healthy lifestyle such as regular exercise, proper diet, good sleep, communication and sharing feelings can help men cope with stressful situations. Here are some useful strategies that can help men cope with stress.
Being active through exercise has been proven to not only improve your physical health but also reduce stress. When you engage in exercise such as cycling or strength training, your body releases endorphins which suppresses the stress hormone cortisol. Engaging in just half an hour of exercise every day can help reduce your anxiety levels. Exercise can also distract you from negative thoughts that are stressing you out.
Keep in touch with others
If your moods are down or you are feeling overwhelmed, connecting with other people can help reduce your stress symptoms. If you are feeling insecure or agitated, connecting face to face with loved ones or friends can improve your moods by triggering the feel-good hormones. Even if you are an introvert, it is important to connect with people who make you happy.
Get enough sleep
It is not a good thing for you to be stressed out and tired at the same time. If you don’t get enough sleep, you will feel tired which can make you think irrationally and increase your stress levels. According to a study conducted at the University of California Berklee not getting enough sleep because of working or studying late increases your risk of having a full-blown anxiety disorder.
Don’t forget to meditate
The benefits of meditation are well documented. Meditation can help increase your happiness, improve your concentration, and reduce stress. By bringing your thoughts to the present world, you are able to avoid negative thoughts that make you stressed. Try meditation today to soothe your spirit, relax your body and calm your brain.