Stress is one of the largest health problems in the modern world. It isn’t a direct cause of illness and death, but chronic stress causes notable damage to the body that contributes to those factors. Everyone deals with their stress differently though. This makes it hard to pick out those we’re close to that are stressed if they’re determined that no one else should know. Most of the time we can get a good idea of how stressed someone is if we’ve been friends with them long enough. There is an added problem to this situation though. Men and women also handle stress differently due to hormonal differences. Women, on average, turn outwards and try to make their surroundings and social support network better to ease their stress while men… tend to get quiet. You likely all know at least one man who has this unhealthy approach to stress. You can’t make him talk about it, but you can pass along a few tips to help him deal with the stress.
Fight Not Flight
The “I can take it” philosophy is one of the worst things done to men and boys. It leads them to not reach out when they need help. Stress, in particular, can make this devastating as they turn inwards to avoid talking about it and just gritting their teeth. It is connected to the brain’s fight or flight response. This inward turning behavior is most commonly linked to flight behavior as it means avoiding the issue and trying not to approach it in hopes that it will go away. Men are better served by taking a proactive approach to stress. The nervous energy should be turned towards finding, isolating, and solving the cause of the stress. Taking measured steps towards helping to control the problem can do wonders for reducing the amount of stress that they feel. This focused approach can quickly lead to removing the source of stress simply by realizing it can be solved.
Burn Off The Energy
There’s something to be said for exercise when it comes to helping men deal with stress. Exercise is actually particularly good as many forms of exercise require a degree of focus on the movements involved. This helps to crowd out and break obsessive thoughts regarding a source of stress. Breaking the cycles can lower men’s overall stress and make it less likely for the stress to reach overwhelming levels so that proactive problem solving can help remove them. However, you should also remember there is an extra benefit to exercise too. Exercise releases endorphins to help your body deal with any soreness after exercising. This helps with physical pain, yes, but it also can help dull stress and create a relaxed and slightly euphoric sensation after intense exercise. It makes it an ideal way for many men to help deal with stress.
Sometimes a good way for men to deal with stress is to reframe the problem. This is particularly true if it is something that can’t be solved. There is often a drive to “beat” a situation that can magnify stress for men. It is counterproductive in many situations as there isn’t a way to actually win. Learning to recognize situations where they need to simply accept how things are and move on can do wonders for helping men deal with stress. Similarly, it helps to learn not to take anything too seriously. Men prone to focusing on situations without being able to laugh at things somehow frequently succumb to excessively focusing on the problem instead of being able to let it go. This doesn’t mean giving up on enjoying when they can solve a problem, but it does mean picking their battles and enjoying the possible victories rather than getting caught up in ones that will never happen.
The mental “lockdown” that stress puts many men into leads to health problems and chronic difficulties in coping with negative situations. It is easy enough for any man to train themselves out of these habits. It simply requires being willing to watch one’s own behavior and admit when it isn’t helping. You only need to make a few minor changes to help decrease the effect of stress on your life. Sometimes changing how you think can be harder than remembering to exercise a bit more though.