Don't let the gender studies fool you. Men are absolutely prone to anxiety, and in some cases men may struggle with anxiety every day. Anxiety can affect anyone, and when it does it can be nearly impossible to fully control.
Anxiety is always a serious problem. But anxiety in men may be especially problematic because men are less likely to seek help, and far less likely to understand how important it is to combat their anxiety issues. This article explores anxiety as it relates to men, including treatment recommendations.
Men Don't Always Know Their Own Anxiety
While many men are aware that anxiety disorders exist, very few realize how often it affects them. Often men refuse to admit to themselves they can have a mental health issue, seeking other forms of treatment or drowning their anxiety out with poor coping behaviors rather than admit to the issue.
Learn more about your anxiety first by taking my free 7 minute anxiety test. It is important to realize that there is nothing "manly" about refusing to admit you have anxiety.
Types of Anxiety in Men
Men can suffer from every single type of anxiety disorder, as well as minor anxiety that is disruptive but doesn't otherwise qualify as an anxiety disorder. Not only are men prone to:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Common Male Anxiety Mistakes
Mistakes are a common problem with anxiety, and unfortunately men are extremely prone to making some very common anxiety mistakes. A small sample of these mistakes includes:
- Fighting It Trying to fight anxiety without a coping strategy simply doesn't work. Fighting anxiety is the act of "toughing it out" and trying to wish it away. Anxiety creates negative feelings and physical symptoms that can't be ignored, and trying to fight it away can actually create more stress that increases the risk of future anxiety.
- False Coping Strategies Men are also more likely to develop unhealthy coping strategies. For example, drinking alcohol, gambling, and various reckless behaviors can actually dull anxiety temporarily. But they also become a dependency, so that eventually the brain loses its ability to cope without those drugs and behaviors even more.
- Being Alone Men aren't likely to reach out to others when they're stressed, and many prefer to relax alone with their own thoughts. But anxiety isn't the type of condition where moping and trying to think things over is generally helpful. Ideally, you need to surround yourself with positive and fun people and use them to distract you from your thoughts and influence you in the right direction.
- Pride/Self-Worth Men also put a great deal of value into their ability to be "manly," their pride, and their success. Unfortunately, this creates a lot of unrealistic expectations, as anything that isn't a complete success causes a lot of negative self-talk that can increase anxiety in the future. Combine that with anxiety symptoms that may damage pride (like performance anxiety or confidence with the opposite sex) and it is easy to see why anxiety tends to be reinforced.
Tips to Overcome Anxiety in Men
Men that suffer from anxiety need to be willing to address their anxiety problem. Anxiety isn't the type of condition that is simply going to cure on its own, and that's why it is important that - man or woman - you make sure that you are doing whatever it takes to combat anxiety once and for all.
The way to treat anxiety is to first improve your coping ability, and then combine those strategies with a system that will reduce anxiety completely. Some example tips include:
- Regular Exercise This is a must do. All men suffering from anxiety need to start exercising right away. When your body is more relaxed, your brain is more relaxed, and since anxiety also releases endorphins that improve mood, burn away stress hormone, and improve confidence, regular exercise is not just for fitness anymore. Make sure you stay active to cure anxiety.
- Finding a Friend You also need to find positive influences in your life that you can talk to openly, without worrying about being judged. They need to be people that actually care about you - male, female, family, friends, etc. - and someone you can talk to about anything. With panic attacks, for example, the more you are "inside your own head" the more severe the panic attack often is. Talking to someone openly without shame reduces the likelihood of over-focusing on your anxiety.
- Reduce Unnecessary Anxiety From horror movies to dive bars to hanging out with friends that are negative influences, men are surprisingly prone to engaging in activities that cause stress. But when you have anxiety, all of these activities add up, even if they're unrelated to your anxiety disorder. Cut anything that causes stress out of your life to ensure that your anxiety is the only thing influencing you.
- Stay Busy Similarly, make sure that you are staying as busy as possible with things you enjoy. Set goals, play sports - do activities that keep your mind and body active. You don't need to stay so busy that you are stressed, but try not to mope around or let your mind wander. The more active you are, the more likely you are able to stop thinking about the issues causing stress.
Once you've accepted that anxiety is something you deal with and it is something you are going to treat, the next step is to commit to a treatment that works.
I've helped thousands of men with anxiety and panic attacks overcome their symptoms. You have to start with my free 7 minute anxiety test, which first compares your symptom severity to others and discusses how they affect you, before recommending a great treatment.