Anxiety is a common issue for both men and women of all ages. In men, however, it’s less likely to be recognized. One reason for this is that men are typically raised to be strong and self-reliant. Feelings of insecurity, fear, or anxiety are often repressed. Thus, men may have trouble admitting to themselves as well as others that they’re experiencing anxiety. If you’re a man, you may be anxious about the very idea of anxiety. Here are some unexpected signs that often accompany anxiety in men.
Preoccupation With Work and Status
It’s great to be dedicated to your job and career. If, however, you’re completely obsessed with making money, improving your status, or measuring your accomplishments against those of your colleagues, it may be anxiety that’s motivating you. A man may also turn into a workaholic to avoid having to deal with other areas of his life, such as relationships.
Compulsive or Addictive Behavior
Alcohol and drugs are often used to prevent or mask anxiety. You may, for example, self-medicate with a few beers every night to take the edge off. If you find yourself reaching for a drink, pill, or substance to relax, socialize, or deal with the world, you should take a close look at what’s motivating you. Other types of behavior that may signal anxiety are overeating or playing computer games for hours on end.
Difficulty With Relationships
Relationships are not easy, even during the best of circumstances. Whether you’re single or in a committed relationship, it’s natural to experience feelings of insecurity and ups and downs. However, anxiety can make it even more difficult to start or remain in a successful long-term relationship. If you’ve been single for a long time and seldom date, you may have social anxiety. For men who do have partners, anxiety can lead to conflict or a lack of communication in the relationship.
Fixation on Personal or Society’s Problems
The world can be a scary place. It’s easy to get caught up worrying about your own future or that of the world. Anxiety can cause you to worry about losing your job, the latest news about wars, terrorism, or the environment. Of course, it’s natural to have concerns about serious issues, both personal and societal. Anxiety, however, doesn’t help you to deal effectively with problems. On the contrary, it makes you feel powerless.
How to Deal With Anxiety
There are some things you can do to help manage and prevent anxiety in your daily life.
• Stay physically active. Exercise is a great antidote to anxiety. Spending time in nature is another healthy way to relax and reset.
• Limit your exposure to news. It’s fine to keep up with what’s going on but it doesn’t help to immerse yourself in stressful news that you can’t do anything about.
• Cut back on screen time, including TV, social media, YouTube videos, or computer games.
• Cultivate and nurture relationships with friends and family. Isolation and anxiety often go together.
Men, just like women, can experience anxiety for any number of reasons. As with any challenge, the first step is to recognize it. While the above tips can help, severe or long-term anxiety is a serious and debilitating condition. If you find that it’s interfering with your life, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.