Stress and men have a longstanding connection, often stemming from the multitude of responsibilities they must juggle. These stressors can originate from their work commitments or personal lives, but regardless of the source, men frequently find themselves grappling with high levels of stress. This article delves into the dynamics of this relationship and its effects.
The Challenge of Maintaining Work-Life Balance
Maintaining a work-life balance has always been a formidable challenge for men, as they carry the weight of numerous responsibilities. From early-morning work meetings to school drop-offs for their children, men lead hectic lives. They sometimes even skip breakfast to ensure punctuality at the office, only to leave work promptly for an eagerly awaited date. In many ways, they are like real-life superheroes.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Brain and Behaviour revealed that women are twice as likely to experience severe stress and anxiety compared to men. Nevertheless, while striving to maintain a work-life balance for their partners and children while excelling in their careers, men also grapple with severe stress. Unfortunately, they often resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms like smoking or drinking.
According to a health survey in India, around 80% of men experience stress due to inadequate rest and heavy workloads, compared to 74% of women. Prolonged exposure to severe stress can take a toll on both mental and physical health. In light of this, it is essential to address this issue and its potential impact on men's well-being.
Stress is a common human experience that can occur when facing new situations or challenges. When stress occurs, the body responds both physically and mentally.
This reaction may manifest when adjusting to a new environment, meeting new people, going through a breakup, and more. In some cases, stress can be beneficial, keeping individuals alert and motivated, such as when preparing for a job interview or a challenging test. However, when stress lingers without a clear cause or relief, it becomes chronic stress.
Symptoms of Stress in Men
Chronic stress can result in restlessness, diminished self-confidence, and the emergence of physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms.
Physical symptoms of chronic stress in men may include:
Neck, back, or chest pain
Rapid heart rate
Trouble achieving or maintaining an erection
Psychological symptoms of chronic stress in men encompass:
Sadness or depression
Loss of interest in sex
Behavioral signs of long-term stress in men comprise:
Overeating or undereating
Drug or alcohol misuse
Social withdrawal or isolation
Jaw clenching or teeth grinding
Sleeping too much or too little
The Impact of Stress on Men
Research from the American Psychological Association in 2010 underscores that men and women react differently to stress, both physically and mentally. They manage stress differently and perceive their ability to cope in distinct ways. Consequently, stress levels in men tend to be higher than those in women. While men and women may face comparable stressors, men's reluctance to express their feelings and emotions can exacerbate the harm caused by stress.
Chronic stress in men has a range of detrimental effects. It can manifest as chronic pain in the neck, shoulders, and back, trigger headaches and migraines, and weaken the immune system, rendering men more susceptible to colds and infections.
Additionally, men grappling with chronic stress may be at risk for various diseases, including:
Chronic Gastrointestinal Problems
Men often grapple with unrealistic expectations and the belief that they can control every aspect of their lives. It's vital for them to accept that not everything can be managed, and some things must be let go. These unrealistic expectations can lead to chronic stress, which can have severe consequences if left unaddressed. Moreover, if a man faces adversity and hardship, seeking therapy without hesitation or shame is a prudent choice. Stress affects not only the individual but also their entire family, resulting in multiple issues at home.
Written by: Deepti Dogra
Edited by: Aniket Joshi