Anxiety is common in high-stress work environments. People easily become anxious when working to deadlines, preparing for exams, or public speaking. And some anxiety is normal – we call it worry, for example. Without a little anxiety, we might not meet the deadline or study for an important test. Anxiety can act as a motivator to do the best we can in a situation.
Anxiety in Men
Men who experience anxiety have all the problems that women have, such as GAD, Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), and all kinds of phobias. In fact, anxiety is more prevalent in men than depression is. Men are raised to be strong and are told things like, “Boys don’t cry,” “Hold it in,” “Don’t let people see you’re afraid,” etc. Our culture places a premium on not showing vulnerability or fear. If you are shy, you can be considered weak. This makes it difficult for men to express themselves in a healthy way and can lead to anxiety and depression.
Men also tend to not seek out support from others and are therefore more likely to make some mistakes that can worsen the anxiety.
Mistake #1: Trying to Fight the Anxiety
There is a perception that if anxiety isn’t acknowledged, it will go away. This is like telling someone to not think about a rhinoceros and, as a result, the rhino becomes the thing they think about. Fighting anxiety can result in increased negative physical and mental symptoms that can create more stress.
Mistake #2: Ignoring the Problem
Ignoring anxiety will only make it worse, resulting in problematic behaviors designed to cope with the anxiety. Alcohol, drugs, gambling, and sex dull anxiety in the moment, but can result in dependency or addiction. The person is then left with an even bigger problem.
Mistake #3: Not Asking for Help or Support from Others
Talking with others, asking for support, and problem-solving with another person can help to relieve the anxiety of a stressful situation.
Mistake #4: Setting Goals One Can’t Meet
Setting lofty goals and being unable to meet them feels like a blow to one’s pride. Men often view themselves as “manly” or successful on the basis of their ability to meet the expectations of others. Those expectations are sometimes unrealistic, but they result in a lot of negative self-talk and damaged pride.
So, how can you overcome anxiety? Is there something that can be done to reduce it? Definitely!
How to Overcome Anxiety
The first thing necessary is to acknowledge the problem and to seek help for it. Connecting with others, exercising, activities, and counseling all are beneficial. We know that regular exercise creates endorphins that help to relax the body, and improve mood. Getting exercise, either in a gym or at home, will help with anxiety. So, get moving!
Other People in Your Life
It is also important to have someone to talk with, such as a friend or relative – someone who won’t judge you, and with whom you can share anything. Take note of any people in your life who are creating extra stress for you. A difficult relative or trouble-making friend can add to the stress you are feeling and can cause more anxiety. By recognizing toxic people, you can decide whether you want them in your life or not. It may feel disloyal to stop seeing a friend who is constantly negative, but in the long run, it will make you feel better to not have that in your life.
If you don’t have any activities outside of work, look for something to do – such as exercising, joining a group of people who enjoy the same things that you do, or planning family activities. These things will keep your mind occupied so that it is too busy to dwell on the things that are making you anxious.
Christian Counseling for Anxiety
There is no shame in admitting that you need help, and seeking counseling and direction doesn’t make you weak. Instead, it provides you with an outlet in which to express your fears and worries. A good counselor will help a client to develop coping skills with which to deal with anxiety in healthy, non-destructive ways. If coping with it has already resulted in some addictive behaviors, counselors with experience in that type of addiction can be instrumental in helping you to understand the problem and in find help in overcoming it.
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