When you encounter a threat to your well-being, whether it’s running into a bear on a hike or losing your job, your body is naturally trained to respond by going into fight or flight mode. Adrenaline and cortisol course through your body, your heart rate increases, and your blood flows faster, all to position you to deal with the situation at hand.
In today’s world, there is an ever-widening number of triggers that can put you in “fight or flight,” including simply being stuck in morning traffic or trying to get your kid to put his shoes on in less than 30 minutes Men’s lives today are full of demanding activity, like holding a job, being an attentive parent, and tending to a dynamic range of family and personal relationships. Sometimes, the stresses in your might feel as if they will never end. How you manage your reaction to stress truly makes a difference in all aspects of your health.
Try one of these strategies when you feel yourself having a reaction to stress:
- Take a break – When the walls start to close in and your list of stuff to do seems impossible, simply get up, walk outside and take a lap around the block to get out of your own head. While you walk, focus on your breath by inhaling slowly through your nose and then exhaling through your mouth. This deliberate kind of breathing can also help you even if you aren’t on a walk: Just repeat focusing on your breath several times until you feel more relaxed.
- Put words to it – Sometimes a person can work and work to solve a problem, and keep at it past the point of frustration without ever thinking to ask for help. It’s what guys do. It can truly help simply to talk to friend or a co-worker about what’s causing your stress. Putting words to whatever is troubling you can relieve the pressure of stress that is bottled up inside of you. You’d be surprised how often a chat with a friend or loved one gives them a chance to talk about their experience with stress and how they’ve handled it, which can give you insights into your own situation.
- Treat Yourself – Whenever you get stressed, step away from it and do a little something for yourself. Escape to the break room and have a snack, or to the bathroom and splash your face with water. Find a quite place to sit down for awhile, where you can imagine a pleasant scene or think about plans to do something enjoyable. A few minutes of purposeful distraction focused on your needs can help you get your “second breath.”
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