Everyone has stress: Man, woman and even child—nobody is immune. Men have been shouldering a great deal of stress since the dawn of time. But even in today’s society where men aren’t expected to carry the weight, sacrifice and responsibility of every decision, men are still stress leaders. Some of us have been conditioned to think we perform best under the pressure and strain it brings and, inexplicably, some of us even carry stress like a badge of honor.
Stress, however, isn’t something to be proud of, nor is it something to ignore. Among a host of other negative side effects associated with stress, sufferers frequently experience high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, decreased immune defences, fatigue, depression, headaches and ulcers according to Mental Health America.
But this article isn’t about what stress does to men, it’s about how to beat stress fast, as only a man could (or would). These simple and effective tricks will rapidly quell the symptoms brought on by stress and help you live your life better each day
1. Chew gum: Blowing bubbles may have been fun when you were a kid, but gum is a lot more than a sugary snack. Numerous studies reveal that chewing gum has been proven to aid in relieving tension. According to Dale Curd, a therapist and men’s specialist, “The repetitive motion works in conjunction with stimulation of the mouth’s salivary glands to both calm the brain as well as put it in a happier, more satiated perspective.” Furthermore, a recent study published in Stress and Health indicated that regular gum chewers reported fewer cases of anxiety and depression and also experienced lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
2. Hit something: For men, stress equates with anger more often than not. What do most guys want to do when they get upset? Hitting something is definitely on the list. While conventional wisdom would suggest calming down and suppressing the anger, research has proven that following through with that emotion can actually relieve stress. Research published in Psychology Today found that the act of taking out your anger in a physical capacity helps in the process of overcoming the anger and anxiety associated with stress and ultimately quells the stress quicker as a result.
Dale Curd told us: “Punching a bag, slamming your hand on a table or kicking a ball as hard as you can are all guttural, emotional expressions that help immediately ease the explosive charge of our more primal reactions associated with stressors—as long as you obey the cardinal rule to keep yourself safe, keep others around you safe and secure, and to not damage your space, then letting out the charge is highly therapeutic.”
3. Workout: It should come as no surprise that hitting the gym, the court, the pool or the grid iron would help beat stress—especially for men. Since the dawn of time, men have always sought methods to burn off some steam when under a lot of pressure and stress is one of the biggest and most dangerous pressures you can carry. The Mayo Clinic reports that repetitive motions and bursts of physical fast-paced movement refocus the mind. As a result, the stressors are no longer in focus.
According to Michael Seril, MS, owner of MSFWhittier.com and 2006 NCSA personal trainer of the year, “Working out is the best stress-reliever in the world.” Seril went on to say: “It doesn’t matter if I’m training a soccer mom or a corporate CEO, they all come to me with stress, but when they finish their session in the gym they walk out feeling a lot better about their lives,” Seril adds. “It burns through their stress and gives them time to get out of their own head and just focus on their body.”
4. Scream and swear: Research published in the Leadership & Organizational Development Journal indicates that letting an F-bomb fly or simply screaming out in rage can alleviate stress. The reasons are obvious. According to Curd, “swearing or screaming are ways we initially react to some stresses. Letting that immediate emotional response out helps us get over the first stages of some bouts of anxiety and repressing these reactions only serve to prolong the tension.”
5. Eat ice cream: Did you think only depressed women could benefit from eating ice cream? Think again. Scientists at the University of San Francisco found that milk and cream help relieve stress because of the hefty amount of tryptophan they contain. How does that work? It improves your mood and the quality of your sleep. A happier, well-rested you is a stress-free you. Beyond the chemical response, the act of simply indulging in something you love that isn’t in your daily diet can have a profound impact. “Eating something like ice cream, a slice of birthday cake or a cookie can bring your mind back to simpler, happier memories, which will derail any stress or anxiety you might be experiencing,” says Curd.