How do you handle stress and anxiety? Did you know that there’s actually a difference in the way people express and experience anxiety that seems to run along gender lines?
Many studies have looked at anxiety in men and women and discovered that there is indeed a difference. Women tend to suffer more from anxiety disorders and have a wider variety of anxiety-related disorders. But this doesn’t mean that men don’t have anxiety.
So, while both genders have anxiety, it appears that they experience and express their feelings differently. And while men have different ways they experience anxiety, there does seem to be some similarities in the way they express their anxiety, and those expressions can often be mistaken for something else.
How Men Express Anxiety
This is not a black and white topic that’s clearly divided down gender lines, but the following are ways that men are more likely to express their feelings of anxiety than women.
Alcohol and Drug Use/Abuse
Substance abuse and mental health disorders have gone hand-in-hand for a long time, and this seems to be more a trait for men than women. It’s the need to find “medication” that can dull or numb the pain without actually having to go to a doctor or admit there might be something wrong.
It can also be very effective–at least momentarily. Obviously, prolonged use and misuse come with its own set of problems.
Anger or Rage
Some men are known to be “hot-tempered” or to fly off the handle very quickly and become enraged. For men, anger is an acceptable emotion. It’s seen as powerful and a way to take charge of a situation.
Culturally, fear and sadness are not acceptable for men, so those feelings are quashed from a very early age and replaced by inappropriate emotional responses that have more acceptable regard in society.
Avoiding Social Situations or Relationships
Whether it’s dating or it’s a large group of people, men with anxiety disorders tend to deal with these stressful situations by avoiding them entirely. This not only stunts their relationships, but it can also cause them to miss out on work advances and life experiences.
While the social situations and dating often get talked about, it’s clear that anxiety can arise at other times, and men are more apt to avoid those situations whenever possible rather than trying to tackle their anxiety or admit that that’s why those occasions feel so difficult.
Making Status a Priority
While some men find their anxiety holds them back from achieving their goals, others put their goals and position in society at a premium and make that their focus.
It appears that many men measure themselves by their status and being ahead of their peers. When they fail to meet their own arbitrary goals, they develop anxiety that only fuels them to work harder. It’s a vicious cycle that has them constantly pushing to do better, despite their successes, to a point where they’ll never be satisfied.
Healthy Approaches to Dealing With Anxiety
One of the first steps in overcoming anxiety and leading a healthier life is accepting that anxiety is very common, and it’s not a weakness. It’s natural to feel anxiety, but feeling it to the point of having an anxiety disorder is a medical condition and needs to be treated as such.
If you want to break free of the male mentality when it comes to anxiety, the following tips can help.
Act quickly. It’s best to seek professional help early on. Don’t assume anxiety will go away or that it’s something you can deal with on your own. Your best chance for success is to get it diagnosed early and correctly so you can find a treatment that works.
Lifestyle changes. Making some healthy changes can limit the amount of anxiety you experience. Spending quality time with family and friends and not obsessing over your status, your body, and your diet can be a big shift that has huge benefits. Cutting back on alcohol and drug usage also makes a difference.
Become more self-aware. Learn to recognize anxiety and then begin to recognize the situations that make you feel anxious. If you know it’s coming, then you’re better able to appropriately manage. Creating your own action plan for these moments can help you sail through them.
Find a release. Whether it’s going for a run, taking up a hobby, or doing yoga, whatever it is that helps you feel at peace and comforted is a good thing to nurture and make a regular part of your life. Having time each day or weekly where you don’t have to think about anything but that thing that gives you joy, can relieve a lot of stress and anxiety in your life.
Stay informed. Read up on mental health, anxiety, and ways to feel more peace in your life. While professional help will do a lot to make your anxiety tolerable, staying informed on your own is useful, too. Follow LiveWell on Facebook @livewelllabsnutrition and Instagram @livewelllabs for more self-care and mental health tips to help you on your journey to a life in balance.
Zenwell to Support Stress-Reduction
Adding a supplement to your diet, like LiveWell’s ZenWell, can give you a little extra edge by supporting stress reduction and neural protection.
Patented alphawave L-theanine amino acids and ashwagandha root extract work together to provide adrenal support, improve the quality of your sleep, boost energy, heighten brain health, and reduce stress. This gives you the additional support you need to master your anxieties in a healthy way.
While it’s true that women are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders than men, it doesn’t mean that men do not have these concerns. In fact, anxiety is often a confusing emotion for men because expressing the emotions caused by anxiety are frowned upon in society. So, instead, men latch on to more acceptable emotions and are not necessarily even aware that they have anxiety.
Many men are not comfortable expressing or even acknowledging that they have anxiety. Some instead turn to drugs and alcohol, obsess over status, are quick to anger, and have trouble with professional and personal relationships.
If you think that you’re suffering from anxiety or even an anxiety disorder, it’s best to seek professional advice immediately so you can begin your path to wellness. Taking ZenWell can also be a great way to bolster your body and brain to help you be the best person you can be.
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