Stress is the root cause for 80 % of the visits to the doctor’s office. This is how to avoid that visit.
The key factor that affects most men’s health today is not smoking, alcoholism, diabetes, drug addiction, heart disease, etc. It is stress. Stress is the root cause for 80 % of the visits to the doctor’s office. Most men genuinely believe they are somehow “above” being affected by stress, because we put on such great efforts to pretend it does not affect them.
Since men do not have cultural permission to show fear, anxiety, or worry (only anger is culturally accepted) we learn to suppress any outward sign of these reactions into our body. We “clamp down” on the human body’s natural ways of expressing and dispensing these powerful and destructive emotions. We internalize these toxic emotions into our bodies. Then, after ten years of this as a pattern — we have the heart attack.
This is not a reasonable way to live. Did you know that the vast majority of humanity around the globe actually take a long lunch break? They eat with their family in an unhurried manner over a home cooked meal? That they actually take vacations for over one week (usually three). This is true in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and some countries in Asia. Not in the United States. If you are not constantly “producing” and working, you are classified as a lazy hippie bum who is advocating socialism and most likely a closet Communist. Ridiculous.
Slow down, or die. As an expert trainer in Qigong, Self-Care, and Conflict Management, I am convinced that most males work themselves to death. If they survive their work in the field or office, they work like crazy at home. Then, they “play hard.” Too hard, and end up overweight, or with an alcohol, or substance abuse problem. We as men can do better for ourselves and our families simply by making easy minor changes in our lifestyle. Minor changes integrated over time can add health enhancement and years onto our lives.
Here are 3 Quick and Easy Ways to Rise Above Your Stress:
- Unapologetically Set Solid Boundaries for “You Time.” Whether your de-stress activities are playing weekend softball, martial arts or boxing class, the chess club at the local pub, or your workout routine, hold that space as sacred ground. Let no other obligations (barring emergency room runs) interrupt that time. First rule of energy conservation is to maintain what resources you have. If you have an activity that you love and it de-stresses you, honor that time. In doing so, you honor yourself, your mental health, and your physical wellbeing.
- Explore Practices Specifically Designed to De-stress. I know, I know, if you read one more article telling you to do yoga, you are going to jump out a window. The yoga craze can be irritating, but yoga really is good for you. If you do not fancy sweating half-naked on the floor for an hour in front of strangers, try something easier and quicker, like Qigong or Tai Chi. You can keep your clothes on in what is sometimes called, “Chinese Yoga,” and you can do it just for a few minutes.
- Tune Down “The Noise.” We as modern human beings are bombarded every day with stimulation, information overload, advertisements, and general “noise-makers” trying to command our attention. Obviously, if you are a father and your baby is crying, you got to handle that. Yet, try to maintain some room, some space in between your ears. Cut the television, the radio, and Twitter. Do not look at Facebook for a few days a week, and grant yourself electronic-fast days (and hours in between those days). Take my word for it, your life will go on even without knowing how many scary, stupid things Trump did to upset global leaders. If you cannot do anything about it directly, let it go. Turn down the “noise” and listen — to the silence. That will feed your spirit.
I challenge the men who read this to pick just one of these three easy tools above and apply them for one week. Easy, right? Then if that worked for you, try another. If you already do these stress reduction solutions, stay tuned. In the weeks ahead, I will share more concrete solutions that can help reduce our stress, enhance our health, and move us toward the goal of dynamic longevity.
I plan on living healthy past 100-years-old. Find your unique reason to live and have the courage to take command of your health. Not only will we milk more pleasure out of life, our loved ones will appreciate you being here for them.
Note: This article was previously published on the author’s website, www.frankblaney.com, and The Good Men Project.