A man's health can be negatively affected by high levels of stress. Protect yourself by practicing some simple rules to limit your stress.
By Dennis Thompson Jr.
Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH
Stress has become a major modern-day factor affecting men's health. The tension and emotional strain of day-to-day living has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, back pain, diabetes, cancer, and a weakened immune response to disease.
Men experiencing high levels of stress can experience anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, and depression, and may turn to unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, overeating, or drug abuse to help deal with their stress.
Men’s Health: The Dangers of Stress
Stress is harmful because it presses biological buttons inside men that have long outlived their usefulness. When a man had to battle wild animals to save his family, that stress prompted certain fight-or-flight responses within his body:
- The heart rate soared to send more blood to the brain, improving quick decision-making.
- Blood shunted into the large muscles of the arms and legs to provide more strength and speed, and away from the gut.
- Blood sugar rose to provide more fuel for quick energy.
- Blood began to clot more quickly, to prevent blood loss from wounds or internal damage.
It's not hard to draw lines from those natural responses to the diseases now associated with stress.
Men’s Health: 10 Ways to Deal With Stress
So what should modern man do to short-circuit his ingrained tendencies? Here are 10 ways to reduce stress and its toxic effects on the body:
Read more at EverydayHealth.com.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise has been proven to reduce stress levels, helping you burn off pent-up energy and tension. It also improves overall health.
- Eat and sleep well. Good nutrition and 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night can help your body recover from past stress and be better prepared to deal with new stress. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants that might promote stress and sleeplessness. Avoid alcohol, which might deepen any depression you may be feeling.
- Meditate. Spend at least 15 to 20 minutes a day in quiet contemplation. Depending on your preference, you might like to devote the time to meditation or prayer, or practicing yoga or tai chi if you want more of a physical component. Breathe deeply and clear your mind.
- Solve the cause of your stress. Dealing with the problems that cause tension can relieve you of that stress. Inaction just allows it to build. If your neighbor's dog barks constantly, talk with him about it. Talk to your boss to figure out solutions for problems at work. Ask for help if you can’t meet all the demands placed on you.