Shame and guilt are two feelings that aren’t uncommon if you’re going through anxiety. If you’re a guy, you know very well that letting go of your feelings and expressing extremely negative emotions sometimes isn’t the best action to take. Anxiety in men is no different from anxiety in women, as it takes a dark toll on the mental state, emotions, and overall sense of motivation in both genders. As a stressed out college student, I’ve had my fair share of these types of feelings as I’m always trying to keep up with school, sleep, and still having somewhat of a social life. Some people can easily succumb to the effect that anxiety can bring, and who can blame them? When you’re trapped in that kind of mindset, it’s really hard to break that cycle of not feeling like you can conquer your goals and get on with day.
What I’ve found to best help my anxiety is practicing meditation and yoga in the morning. Yoga for men is actually pretty popular these days as it can release pent up tension, stress, and stiff muscles from all the work coming at them throughout the day. Let’s break down how it can help with the shame anxiety can cause and the best ways to recognize when an anxiety attack could strike.
Anxiety Symptoms in Men
Symptoms of anxiety in men can be both subtle and obvious to someone who’s not experiencing the stomach churning feelings they are going through. For lots of men I know, the upset of anxiety can be highly unsettling, but usually it’s not enough to make them take action to get rid of it. This is a damaging mistake, as chronic anxiety won’t just disappear if it’s set on the back burner of your mind.
If any symptoms of anxiety are starting to creep on your life, be sure to look for your urge to initially tough it out in an effort to avoid being seen as “weak”. You will want to make sure that if you need help, you seek it. Anxiety is a natural emotion, and everyone goes through it from time to time when something negative happens. The worst thing to do when you feel it is to subdue it or hide it from your family and friends. Having a strong social support system is key to communicating your struggles and just having a shoulder lean on. Anxiety disorders are also treatable if you seek the resources to deal with it effectively, so if you’re suffering from intense symptoms I would advise you to find a professional to talk to as soon as possible.
Besides ignoring the initial signs of anxiety, men can also be prone to turning to drugs and alcohol to cover the shame and guilt they are feeling. Anxiety disorders and substance abuse go hand in hand as they create synergy in a highly negative cycle. In fact, approximately one-fifth of all people who suffer from an anxiety disorder also have a co-occurring drug or alcohol addiction to deal with. Men make up a large portion of this group and can find it tempting to turn it its effects to escape from their dark reality.
Confronting Your Anxiety
My first tip for dealing with your stress, especially for helping anxiety in men, is to first adopt a healthy and wholesome diet. Most people don’t realize that eating the wrong foods on a daily basis plays a huge role in your mental and physical health. Foods high in fat, sugar, and simple carbs are not the best way to decrease anxiety and boost energy levels. What you do want to do though is eat fresh fruits, veggies, and a diet high in protein to keep your mind clear throughout the day. Make sure to take your vitamins as well and drink plenty of water during the morning and night as well to keep yourself nourished!
Another way to combat anxiety is to develop a regular habit in the exercise you enjoy the most. This doesn’t mean you have to blast through five miles of running every day or lift two hundred pounds. As long as you get your heart rate up for at least half an hour to an hour a day, you’ll reap the benefits and positive hormones that exercise can release. Studies show that patients who struggled with symptoms of depression and anxiety showed significant
improvement when they paired a healthy diet with ample and consistent exercise. Exercise effectively shifts your focus away from your sessions of anxiety and helps you literally sweat out your sweat. My go-to exercise is doing yoga, especially during the morning and evening. Yoga for men includes lots of movements to build strength and widen flexibility over time. If you supplement your regular exercise routine with yoga classes, you’ll also be able to activate sections of muscle that are sometimes neglected. Most yoga classes also begin with a basic reminder to treat your body right and acknowledge its limits. Being in touch with your body helps you practice reducing anxiety overall and the risk of injury when you’re doing other exercises. Additionally, muscles that are well stretched recover faster and keep you strong!
Don’t let anxiety and stress take over your life. Take action and confront your fears. If any of your anxiety symptoms have dimmed your sense of happiness and life, certainly don’t give up. Take proactive measures to get the type of treatment you need from a professional before waiting too long. I know that I definitely regretted waiting weeks on end by trying to solve issues with my own anxiety alone. Trust me, it’s much harder to find the answers and do things right when no one else is holding you accountable. You’ll see that acting sooner and later will reap all the great benefits!