The top three most stressful jobs in America for men and women are enlisted military personnel, firefighter, and airline pilot. But women may have a better chance of managing the pressures of any job because they’re more likely to report symptoms and get help. Men, on the other hand, tend to miss the signs of stress and so end up suffering from its long-term effects.
Stress is an individual experience; what is stressful to one guy may be motivation for another. For example, a plant manager dealing with compliance with Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan may find his tasks challenging whereas a technician may get a headache from it.
Although how you react to pressure differs from other men, you can apply similar techniques in handling stress.
The Easy Steps
Do you like orange juice? If you’re feeling the weight of the world from work or at home, take a moment to grab some OJ. The vitamin C-loaded drink lowers cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Stick to two glasses every day, or make sure you don’t overload on the recommended consumption of vitamin C.
If you’re not a fan of OJ, try other stress-reducing beverages, like grapefruit juice (also has vitamin C) and warm milk (the protein lactium in it lowers blood pressure, relaxing your muscles).
Have a dog? Spend more time with your pet because the right canine can protect you from the ill effects of rushing to make deadlines, doing more than you can, and dealing with people who are trying your patience. A study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine reports people who spent time with dogs showed lower blood pressure and heart rates than people who spent time with spouses or friends in a room.
And when you have a dog, you’re more likely to get out and get some exercise. If going to the gym seems daunting, walking your dog or running with your canine around the neighborhood would be the perfect fitness routine. When you exercise more, you’re also less likely to feel overwhelmed by pressures at work or at home.
The More Demanding Tactics
Once you’ve warmed up to the easy ways in managing your stress, ramp up your techniques to ones that demand more out of you.
One example would be checking your emails less frequently. If you’re used to checking in and replying, this tactic may take some practice. So ease into it by cutting your frequency to half every day. Reduce that frequency further as the days go. Then, organize your list according to their importance; your boss or clients go into the VIP email list, so you’re sure you’ll see only the most important emails.
Another example would be to set boundaries. When you’re at work, focus only on work. When you’re at home, focus only on matters relevant to your personal life. You may think multi-tasking allows you to do more, but the split attention raises your cortisol levels.
Finally, the fun part of managing stress: have more sex. Good sex boosts endorphins and prevents a rise in your blood pressure, keeping you calm and in a good mood. Beyond stress relief, sex can also reduce your risk for prostate cancer and improve the health of your heart.
Stress is a part of life, and it’s inescapable. But that doesn’t mean you should just take it like a man. Protect yourself from its long-term ill effects, and take control of your stress.