Many modern men suffer from stress and the impact it can have on both their physical and mental health. When men become stressed, it awakens a fight or flight response in the body, which has been left over from the biology of the earliest men who were hunting wild animals and protecting their families from predators. Symptoms include increased heart rate and blood pressure, depression, fatigue, high blood sugar, and a weakened immune system. In addition, many men will try to cope with their stress through unhealthy habits like smoking, alcohol or other substance abuse. While some stresses and problems will be out of your control, you can take steps to ensure that stress does not take over your life.
If you find yourself feeling stressed and anxious on a regular basis, here are 5 ways you can take action to lower your stress levels and improve your health.
1. Take care of your body
For a healthy mind and body, it’s important to take care of your body. This includes eating a nutritionally balanced diet and ensuring you get a minimum of 6-8 hours of sleep each night. This enables your body to recover from damage and stress is has been through during the day so you can recharge and will be better equipped to handle stress, which comes your way tomorrow. Regular exercise has also been shown to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, relieve tension and excess energy, and improve your health in general. If you can, avoid caffeine, drugs or alcohol as they are likely to increase stress levels and could worsen symptoms of depression.
2. Take a holiday
While it may seem a simplistic approach, scientific studies have found evidence that men who take regular holidays are at reduced risk of stress as well as heart disease and heart attacks and are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. In fact, simply exposing yourself to more sunlight can have a positive impact on your health, which is one of the reasons why sunny Spain holidays are so popular. Take a look at careinthesun.org for ways to enjoy the sun safely.
Scientific studies have found evidence that men who take regular holidays are at reduced risk of stress as well as heart disease and heart attacks and are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
3. Try to meditate every day
Meditation can help you to clear your mind of unnecessary worries and to focus on what is really important. Try to take 15 minutes out of your day to relax and engage in some breathing exercises, do some stretches, or even yoga or tai chi.
4. Minimise your exposure to stress
While some stresses are unavoidable, you can take steps to minimise your stress. If you have a problem which is bothering you at work, talk to your manager about how you can improve the situation. If you have debts, get advice on how you can get them under control. If you have a long commute which is making you stressed, could you work from home more? If certain people irritate you, try to minimise how often you see them.
When you have a long list of tasks and responsibilities, put them into an order of priority, and tackle one at a time. You don’t have to say yes to every request and should only take on what you can achieve realistically.
5. Accept what you can’t change
There will always be circumstances in your life which you can’t change, but the key is learning to accept and live with them without letting negativity get you down. It’s a cliché, but life is all about learning to dance in the rain, not about waiting for the rainbow. Think positively and try to make the best of a bad situation as often as you can.