Are you normally calm and collected or nervous and stressed out? Your answer could determine a lot about your physical health, career success, and success with women. Research shows that generally calm and collected men enjoy more success in life’s most significant areas. Today’s men must possess non-toxic strategies for coping with life’s inevitable demands and burdens.
A lot of scientific research has focused on stress’ negative impact on one’s body and social life. We know, for instance, that stress can increase blood pressure and can lead to malnutrition via decreased appetite or obesity caused by addictive eating. Food momentarily elevates the brain’s anxiety-and-depression-fighting seratonin levels.
We also know that being stressed out can increase a man’s cortisol levels and decrease his testosterone levels. Increased cortisol has been linked to weight gain, and studies have determined that women gravitate toward men with lower cortisol levels; a calm, collected and self-possessed man seems more likely to handle life’s challenges and remain a physically healthy and, therefore, sturdy provider and companion.
If you’ve watched Seinfeld, you’ve noticed that Jerry fairs a lot better than George when it comes to attracting the opposite sex. One could argue that George’s neurotic personality is his real problem. After all, the famous Marisa-Tomei episode revealed that some women like bald and stocky guys. Like the average woman, an employer will seek out and favor employees who can handle challenges without imploding or exploding.
Stress has always been a part of life, though modern men must deal with many stressors that they are not naturally equipped to receive. Such stressors are attributable to the complexity which now inhabits man’s role as a provider. At one time in our species’ history, a man only had to battle himself and nature in order to provide. He hunted and gathered.
Today, a man must battle society: that boss at work who’s got the personality of an alligator with diaper rash; ever changing professional responsibilities; the increasing costs of things; and the general challenges that life presents to any person. As a result, his mind is always multitasking, and he struggles to focus on the present and achieve peace. His occasional ability to do so too often depends on alcohol, drugs or some other damaging coping mechanism.
Society is not going away, and a capitalist society is not going to stop ruthlessly promoting the very materialism that overburdens men. So, what can you do to control the stress in your life?
Shift your perspective: How a person sees a situation determines his or her reaction to it. Given that stress is a reaction to circumstances, one can diminish one’s stress level by accurately interpreting them. Try to contemplate circumstances objectively. Unobscured by fears and other emotions, you will be able to clearly see the facts of the matter at hand. Once this is achieved, you can actively respond to the matter, thereby taking control of it. When one controls a situation, one manages it. Stress is often caused by anxiety. Anxiety is nervousness about something that might happen, the unknown. An objective examination of one’s circumstances can answer many of the often irrational questions that anxiety produces in a person, thereby alleviating the anxiety that contributes to stress.
Talk: Most guys are not inclined to open up and share their most heartfelt feelings with others. This reluctance probably stems from a man’s survival instincts which tell him not to reveal his vulnerabilities. On the other hand, no man’s an island, right? Talking things out with a significant other, a relative, or a close and trustworthy friend can be cathartic and can provide clarity about stressful situations. When helping you to understand them, other people have an advantage. They’re not as close to the problem. In boxing, one is told to listen to his corner, because his team is able to see and interpret the fight from a different and broader perspective.
Stay healthy: Stress can figuratively cripple a person. For a long time, he or she has been eating right, exercising, moderating his or her alcohol intake, and then stress hits and hits hard. Now, this heretofore health-conscious person wants to vegetate for hours in front of a TV or computer screen as a means of escape. He or she starts devouring comfort foods packed with unhealthy carbs, sugars and fats. Consumption of alcohol increases. Exercise is neglected. Now, the body loses its physical ability to respond well to stress. Good nutrition and exercise supports the nervous system and healthy seratonin levels.
When stress hits, stick to healthy routines, even if you really want to curl up into a fetal position and disappear. By remaining dedicated to the beneficial habits in your life, you will remain in control of it, and it’s hard for stress to completely overcome a person who is in control of his or her life.
About the Author:
Vincent Corvino’s writing has appeared in several literary journals, among them The Quarterly, New Letters, The Crescent Review and The Blue Moon Review. He is currently the lead singer of the New York City hard rock band, Urbansnake. He is a former student of Zen Buddhist Roshi, Rich Hart, and has trained as a boxer under former WBO Middleweight Champion, Doug Dewitt. He possesses an MA in Education from Columbia University and a Post-Graduate Certificate in School Leadership. He has been an English teacher since 1996.