Dealing with Stress the Right Way
Can we just agree that men have a more difficult time handling stress? Unlike women, we don't have a support group that we can rely on all the time when we want to vent. You may have a posse of bros that'll always be there for you, but we often can't express that we're getting affected by stress for fear of being labelled as "weak".
Let's admit it: we want to maintain our alpha image even in the face of stress, but there's a thin line between ignoring stress and actually dealing with it, and more often than not, we take the path to the former.
Stress, Oh Stress
More often than not, the kind of stress we're dealing with constantly is emotional stress. You may assume that unlike physical stress, we aren't as prepared as women to deal with emotional distress. While this is partly true, our bodies don't usually differentiate between the two - it's just a matter of how we actually deal with it.
Most of the time, we bottle up our feelings and frustrations when stress hits us really hard; we're not exactly dealing with the stress, we're just keeping it inside like poison. We all have our limits, and when we go over our capacity to hide our feelings, boy, do they show.
It all starts with not being able to concentrate or focus on what you're supposed to do. The negative thoughts constantly interrupt your thinking process and you'll find that you have to constantly snap yourself back to reality. Eventually, you'll start being irritable and anxious, and this is a clear sign that stress is getting the best of you. It's a bit subtle, but you'll realize that in conversations, you'll start injecting your negative thoughts until eventually you start ranting about nearly anything.
Eventually, you'll start getting angry about even the simple things and you'll find yourself increasingly hostile to the people around you. This is different from irritability, which is just being cranky. At this stage, your emotions are now stronger and you'll start expressing them physically.
Dealing With Stress
Dealing with stress means getting to the bottom of the problem and solving it. You deal with it, plain and simple. But you have to ask yourself first - what's causing all this stress in my life? It could be work, family problems or your life; whatever the problem is, you first need to find out what's causing it.
"But, how do I deal with it?" That's a good question. In this paternal society, we usually want to feel in charge, and when it comes to stress, the first thing we usually think of is asserting our dominance over it. This is a trap and often makes things worse. After all, the thing that is causing us stress is something that we initially can't handle, so what good is it taking it head on?
You should play it smart if you want to cope with whatever is causing you stress. Find an outlet and use that as a way to express your inner frustrations. You can calm yourself by listening to some soulful music or reading a nice book, or you can safely express it by engaging in activities that will take your mind off the things that are stressing you out. Ping pong, basketball, and soccer are great stress beaters since you engage yourself physically and let off some steam. If video games are more your thing, play fighting games like Tekken or Street Fighther. After all, it's better if you beat the crap out of a virtual character than doing it to someone in real life.
Whatever method you use to deal with stress, it's important that you open yourself up to the fact that it's affecting you. Admitting to your friends or family and saying that you're stressed doesn't show you are weak; in fact, it takes a lot of guts to tell the world that something is bothering you but you are doing something about it. After all, bottling up your emotions is practically the same as running away from your problems. People respect a man who knows his limitations, and even more so if that person is willing to go out of his way to deal with it in a smart way.
So the next time you feel like stress is getting the best of you, don't suck it up. Be a real man, get to the root of the problem, and figure out the best way to deal with it in a smart way.