As men when stressed, we tend to run away from our feelings, push them into our unconscious, or when pushed beyond our limits blow up in a rage. Men, in general, seek the company of other men in some activity like golf or watching a football game to escape their stress and get relief.
Growing up, the oldest of five, in a family with a raging alcoholic father, I withdrew into myself for protection. So I learned at an early age to bottle up my feelings. I lived with the stress of never knowing when my father would come home drunk and goad my mother into a verbal fight.
As a teenager, I never consciously thought about ways to relieve stress. I simply lived with it and the constant desire to find a way to escape the family as soon as possible. Living on a farm, however, gave me the chance to be outside and in nature a great deal of the time. Nature grants natural stress relief as well as being a mood elevator.
As a young man I gradually turned to alcohol, even though because of my father’s alcoholism I had sworn to myself to never drink. Drinking mead wine, sitting in a soft sofa chair, and listening to the latest popular music relaxed my body and loosened up my bottled in feelings. The next day I experienced an emotional high.
I eventually got initiated into meditation for the purpose of releasing daily stress. For a time I also jogged, which as well as releasing the tensions of the day activated endorphins so I felt better. Through out my life, when I had an opportunity I also loved bathing in hot springs for the physical body relief of tension.
Today my top five stress relief methods include playing fantasy computer video games for example Dragon Age: Origins, hiking in the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, hot baths with Epsom salts and essence oils, one short nap in the afternoon, and receiving a Oneness Blessing from my wife. In addition, Bowen Therapy, energy healing, massage, and Thai massage greatly help.
Next let’s look at what I see as the top stress management tips for men.
Top 5 Stress Management Tips for Men:
Exercising – As men we rid ourselves of stress through exercise. It increases our heart rate and blood flow, as well as adrenaline. Pumping iron at the gym, playing basketball, golfing, hiking, or jogging etc., whether with other men or by ourselves all help. Regular exercise remains the key to long term stress relief and better health.
Hanging Out With the Guys – Team sports, like football, hockey, softball, or volleyball or even just watching sporting events assists us to escape and unwind from our stress. Being outdoors and golfing also help.
Spending Time Alone– When we distress it can also be in solitude like hiking or hobbies like photography or fishing. Most of my stress relief methods involve solitude. I know a seminar leader who after spending three intense days involved with teaching groups of people just wants to go home and be by himself for a while to unwind. This creates a challenge as he has a wife and five children and his wife after spending all her time with the children wants to engage her husband in conversation. So this man has found a solution by using the hour drive home to unwind in the car.
Building Relationships – As men, like women, it is important to build positive friendships. Then we have people, whether they are men or women who we can turn in times of stress because we trust and feel safe with them. I always felt happier when I had a least one close male friend that I could talk to about anything and help me deal with challenges.
Learning to Nurture Ourselves – Even as men we need to learn how to nurture and re-energize ourselves just as women do, even though if may be more of a challenge. We probably would not take a hot bubble bath, yet we can find hobbies which interest, energize, and distress us. Nurturing can also come from hanging out with the guys or some solitary pursuit like reading or listening to or playing music.
When are you going to start stress management and setting regular times for stress relief?
Check out Michael’s softcover book The Secret for Freedom from Drama, Trauma, & Pain http://ow.ly/5dlS9 on Amazon for an owner’s manual describing practical methods to release your physical and emotional chronic pain, suffering, and emotional stress
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