In the U.S., an estimated 40 million people over the age of 18 suffer from stress and panic attacks, that’s approximately 18% of the population.
Men face a many stressors in their lives, which can lead to mental and emotional problems and serious medical conditions. Healthy lifestyle and dietary practices can help men relieve stress, including taking supplements of natural nutrients.
Let’s look at the biological basis of stress
Stress is the biological response to conditions in the environment. When men are under acute, sudden stress, the pituitary, adrenal, and hypothalamus glands produce higher levels of hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, that stimulate the nervous system for the fight or flight response. As a result, rates of breathing and heartbeat increase automatically.
Stress can also deplete the body and brain of key nutrients and feel-good chemicals, such as serotonin. As a neurotransmitter, serotonin’s role is to balance your emotions, mood, appetite, and sleep patterns. Stress diminishes serotonin.
What are normal causes of stress in men?
Men today are frequently under considerable stress for many reasons. At different times in their lives men may be seen as the sole provider for his family and this in itself causes a high amount of stress on a man.
Work-related issues, such as too much work, short deadlines or unemployment also trigger unnecessarily high levels of stress in men. Other issues that also contribute to high stress might be relationship issues, worries about health or financial problems, which a lot of the time the male in the household takes on as his own, sole issue.
Why do men, in particular, suffer from more stress?
Men may be especially prone to more stress, due to them typically being responsible for a large part of financial support of a marriage, relationship or children. Men often don’t talk about their emotional problems as much as women, rather they bundle it up and try to deal with everything themselves.
What are short-term effects of stress on men’s minds and bodies?
When levels of stress hormones and serotonin change due to acute stress, it can lead to many short-term emotional and mental problems for men. Some of these include:
- Irritability and anger
- Nervousness, anxiety, and worrying
- Being overwhelmed and needing to be in control
- Lack of good judgements
- Unwanted thoughts
- Fear and panic attacks
- Mind fog and Inability to concentrate
- Forgetting things and being disorganised
- Pessimism and depression
- Diminished sexual desire
- Cigarette smoking, overindulging in alcohol, and substance abuse
What are long-term effects of stress in men?
When stressful situations persist for a long time, chronic stress occurs. Long-term mental and emotional effects of stress in men include:
- Major clinical depression, which can involve lack of pleasure in previously enjoyable activities, inactivity, and social isolation
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can include nightmares. Men returning from combat situations during war often develop PTSD.
- Panic attacks
- Lack of proper management of anger
- Impotency and loss of libido
- Alcoholism and addiction to illegal drugs
According to a study in Canada, men under stress from demanding work situations, low control in the workplace, or job insecurity were more likely to have depression than women in similar occupational situations.
Long-term physical and medical effects of stress in men, which may be serious, include:
- Psoriasis and acne
- Pain in the lower back
- Weight gain from overeating or weight loss from under-eating
- Abdominal fat caused by high cortisol levels
- Loss of muscle mass, because stress inhibits protein uptake by muscles
- High blood pressure
- High levels of cholesterol in blood and more plaque formation in blood vessels
- Blood clots
- Chest pain and heart disease, such as irregular heartbeat, heart attack, and heart failure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Decreased function of immune system, resulting in more infections
- Higher risk of cancer
Based on research, men who experience stress had a higher rate of diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and heart attacks than did women under stress.
How can a healthy lifestyle manage different levels of stress in men?
Obviously, you don’t want to experience short-term symptoms of stress or become vulnerable to serious medical, mental, and social consequences of long-term stress. But you also don’t want to take prescription medications for anxiety, depression, and insomnia, because of some of their side effects.
A healthy lifestyle can help you manage different levels of stress and be calmer and happier. Engaging in regular physical exercise and eating a healthy diet are important ways for men to relieve stress.
Men need to also give themselves some time just to relax and enjoy the simple everyday things available to them. Whether it be spending time with children, talking to friends, sleeping, reading or just relaxing with loved ones, it is all just as important as the time you spend earning and trying to provide for your family.
Regular physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise, helps manage stress by producing and releasing serotonin and endorphins (other feel-good molecules) in the body.
Staying fit also contributes to your overall health. Choose exercise that you enjoy and can do regularly, such as working out at home or in the gym, jogging, running, biking, or playing tennis or golf with friends.
Healthy diets can help alleviate stress by providing nutrients, which help stimulate synthesis of serotonin in the brain. Such nutrients include oatmeal and other breakfast cereals, whole grains, bread, and pasta.
Foods that reduce stress hormones include oranges (due to their high level of vitamin C); fish (such as tuna and salmon), because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids; nuts (such as walnuts, pistachios, and almonds), because they are rich in healthy fatty acids and black tea.
You can select beverages to drink that relieve anxiety, such as warm, skim or low fat milk. Chamomile tea has a calming effect, reduces irritable feelings, relaxes muscles, and treats insomnia. Avoid caffeine in coffee, cola soda, and chocolate and try to reduce your consumption of alcohol.
The timing of meals can diminish anxiety. Don’t skip meals. Avoid eating when you are on the go. Instead, arrange times and locations of meals, so they can be relaxing events.
Taking dietary supplements can help reduce stress in men by:
- Encouraging the brain to produce and release more serotonin
- Combining nutrients that act in different ways to relieve stress
- Achieving higher levels of nutrients than can be derived from diet alone
Examples of herbs that help reduce stress in men are St. John’s wort, because it relieves anxiety and depression; valerian root, because it provides a sense of calm; and hops, because it diminishes anxiety, reduces restlessness, and treats \insomnia.
Xtend-Life offers our breakthrough supplement, Serene Saffron.
As Serene Saffron nutrients provide fuel for a healthy nervous system and mood, taking the product daily gives the following benefits:
- May relieve feeling of stress
- May relieve feeling of frustration
- Helps prevent depressed moods
- Helps prevent nervousness and anxiety
- May replace a low mood with a sense of calmness and wellbeing
- Improves quality of sleep
- Supports healthy brain function
You can be calm, conquer stress, and have a healthy and happier life!
- Meyers W. 6 ways stress affects men’s health. 2/12/2015. Retrieved from http://www.everydayhealth.com/mens-health/ways-stress-affects-mens-health.aspx
- Korb A. Boosting your serotonin activity. Psychology Today. 11/17/2011. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/prefrontal-nudity/201111/boosting-your-serotonin-activity
- Foods that help tame stress. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-diet-for-stress-management
- Healthy eating to decrease stress - topic overview. WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/healthy-eating-to-decrease-stress-topic-overview