Anxiety can happen to anyone. While women are often cast as the stereotypical worrier, men can suffer from anxiety, too. In fact, anxiety in men can sometimes be more problematic because they are less likely than women to seek help. While a small amount of anxiety and stress is normal from time to time, you might have a problem if your worries start negatively impacting your daily life.
Symptoms of anxiety include:
- restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
- being easily fatigued
- difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
- muscle tension
- sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep)
There are things you can do to lessen your anxiety, but there are also common mistakes to avoid. Many times, if struggling with anxiety, men will try to tough it out on their own. The idea that men are too strong to experience anxiety can leave some feeling embarrassed and isolated. With anxiety, too much time alone can often exacerbate emotions and make things worse. Pride can also get in the way of asking for help.
Another mistake commonly made is to attempt to cope with anxiety with alcohol or drugs. While substances like these may temporarily reduce symptoms, over time they can actually make anxiety worse. Further, men can become addicted to these substances, further complicating recovery.
What should men do to fight an anxiety disorder?
In an anxious moment or panic attack, take a deep breath. Know that your anxiety can play tricks on you and what you are experiencing will pass. Focus on a calming image and have a positive mantra you can repeat to yourself. Try challenging your thoughts and ask yourself if your worry is realistic. Is your worry actually justified or does it just seem that way in the moment? Having these “conversations” with yourself can help lessen moments of panic.
Never underestimate the power of regular exercise and a healthy diet. Exercise is a proven way to reduce anxiety as it releases hormones that help improve mood. Schedule regular exercise as often as you can to ward off stress and keep your anxiety in check. Nutrition is also key to keep you energized and your mood stable.
Be ready to talk about your anxiety. Share how you are feeling with a trusted family member or friend. Talking out loud about your issues can help you work through them and explore options that could make your mood improve. Let your friends know what they can do to help you. Outside of friends and family, also consider talking to a mental health professional. Everyone experiences anxiety differently and a professional can put together a treatment plan that is right for you.
With help, anxiety disorders can improve. It is important to accept your anxiety and ask for help. Men can and do struggle with anxiety but they can also recover.
MassMen.org strives to provide helpful information that empowers men to take action to feel happier and healthier.