Real men don’t get anxious, right? If you trusted fairy tales and pop culture, you might feel this way. In reality, anxiety is the most common mental health disorder. It does impact women more frequently but plenty of men are struggling with conditions like generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, panic attacks, and more.
Since we live in a culture in which men are encouraged to be stoic, recognizing anxiety can be tricky. But, left unaddressed, it can lead to serious disruptions in your life. With all this in mind, let’s take a deeper look at how anxiety manifests for men — and what can be done about it.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety gets a bad rap. Without anxiety hard-wired into us, humanity may have gone extinct a long time ago. It warns us of risks, threats, and dangers. However, it developed in a time when those risks, threats, and dangers were far more common and far more life-threatening. You see, your mind and body can’t tell the difference between a charging predator and a nerve-wracking first date.
When our anxiety response — the infamous fight-or-flight reaction — is triggered too often in non-risky situations, we can get stuck in the “on” phase. We feel chronically anxious and this is bad news for our mental and physical health.
3 Things To Know About Men and Anxiety
Men Can Have Different Symptoms
- Men often view anxiety as a sign of their failure
- They equate it with being out of control (read: being weak)
- Men report more physical symptoms than women do
- For men anxiety often manifests as anger
Men Cope in Their Own Way
Here’s the general trend: A woman experiences anxiety and looks around for support. A man, on the other hand, goes into problem-solving mode. This may sound productive but anxiety’s pervasive and unpredictable nature can defy practical approaches. When these approaches fail, men are more likely to resort to self-medication like alcohol abuse.
Men Are Way Less Likely to Ask For Help
As you should expect to hear by now, men more typically try to “push through” the discomfort. They believe they can handle things on their own and avoid requesting support. For that matter, they avoid even talking about their emotions and experiences.
How Men Can Deal With Anxiety
An excellent starting point involves the creation of a daily self-care regimen. This type of active response appeals to most men. It can also serve as the foundation for your efforts to manage anxiety. Such a regimen could include elements like:
- Regular sleep patterns: Sleep fortifies your mental and physical well-being. It builds resilience. When your sleep patterns are consistent, it creates a healthy rhythm to your day-to-day life.
- Exercise and physical activity: When you move, your body is happy. This translates into a happy mood when those endorphins kick in. Like sleep, exercise enhances your resilience.
- Healthy eating habits: Food influences mood. Take the time to learn some nutrition basics and put in into action.
- Relaxation techniques: Studies shows that anxiety’s impact is decreased when a man uses tactics like breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, and Tai Chi.
- Social interactions: Anxiety can make you want to be alone. Over time, this will serve to worsen the disorder. Create a trusted support system and spend quality, face-to-face time with these allies.
Get Yourself an Anxiety Coach
Yes, men can be quite hesitant when it comes to seeking help. But I’ve witnessed countless men shift this trend in an environment where they control the pace and direction in collaboration with the therapist. Therapy can empower men and give them that sense of agency they crave. I’ve helped countless men stand up to anxiety. I’d love to do the same for you. Please contact me to get started feeling in control of your life again.
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