Black Men: 7 Ways To Conquer Stress…

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( Stress is a serious modern-day factor in everyone’s health, including men. Daily tension and emotional strain has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, and many other chronic illnesses. Men experiencing high levels of stress can also experience anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, and depression, and are very likely to turn to unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, overeating, and/or drug abuse to help deal with that stress.

Why Is Stress So Dangerous?

Stress is harmful because it presses biological buttons inside men that have long outlived their usefulness. When a man had to battle wild animals to save his family, that stress prompted certain fight-or-flight responses within his body:

• The heart rate soared to send more blood to the brain, improving quick decision-making.
• Blood shunted into the large muscles of the arms and legs to provide more strength and speed, and away from the gut.
• Blood sugar rose to provide more fuel for quick energy.
• Blood began to clot more quickly, to prevent blood loss from wounds or internal damage.

All of these natural emergency responses were necessary – at that time. But  perpetually living in that same fight-or-flight response mode can be deadly, since it prevents the body from being able to take care of itself through normal and essential daily functions.

So, what’s a guy to do?

1. Sleep well. Good nutrition and 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night can help your body recover from past stress and be better prepared to deal with new stress. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants that might promote stress and sleeplessness. It’s hard, but try to limit your alcohol, which might deepen any depression you may be feeling.

2. Exercise regularly. Exercise has been proven to reduce stress levels, helping you burn off pent-up energy and tension. It also improves overall health.

3. Figure out the cause of your stress. Dealing with the problems that cause tension can relieve you of that stress. Inaction just allows it to build. Instead, talk to people and work on finding effective solutions. Also, ask for some assistance if you can’t meet all the demands placed on you.

4. Adjust your everyday behaviors. If possible, try to time your daily commute to avoid rush hour. Shop when you know the store won’t be packed with people. Cut down on the time you spend with people

who get on your nerves. Schedule your time well and determine the most important of the tasks you’re trying to handle, methodically completing those first, then moving on to less critical jobs. Resist trying to do multiple projects at once. Don’t overpromise, and give yourself time to finish the things you do agree to tackle.

5. Adopt a more positive attitude. Always looking on the sunny side sounds cliché, but it does work. Having a negative outlook can turn even the most minor annoyances into huge problems in your mind.

6. Accept the things you can’t change. There are going to be things in your life that you can’t control, no matter how hard you try. Instead, look for ways to enjoy uncontrollable circumstances (for example, if it’s snowing outside, have a snowball fight with your kids, or enjoy some hot chocolate and a good movie with your significant other).

7. Celebrate your victories. When you accomplish a personal goal or finish a major project, do something nice for yourself. It can be as simple as getting a massage or as extravagant as taking a weekend getaway. Celebrate your achievement before you jump into the next project.

Your outlook is such an important factor in how your body deals with stress. Following the above steps will help you put stress in perspective and start enjoying your life.

Written By Charlotte Evans

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