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Men and Job Stress

Fitness for mind and body.

One of the leading causes of death in men is stress that leads to heart disease or stroke. A key component of the stress many men face is their job. Work stress may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, not to mention the detrimental psychological effect, workplace injury and/or other health problems. Managing work stress is one way to avoid these deadly afflictions.

Men tend to underestimate the threat of job stress in that they find it a "necessary evil" and consequently, simply accept it as such. The higher a man is on the professional scale, the higher his risk.

Working men

To appear strong, we often try to hide our struggles. But keeping our problems locked within us only serves to isolate us from people who care about us and who want to help or comfort us. The less willing you are to share your problems with loved ones and friends, the more those problems will come to overwhelm you - and the greater effect those problems will have on your life and your health.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) describes work stress as being the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of a job do not match the capabilities, resources or needs of the worker. Early warning signs include headaches, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, job dissatisfaction and low morale.

When the body is under stress, the nervous system is aroused, hormones are released and as a result, we go into what is known as the "fight or flight" response. Since most men would rather not run out of the office when this occurs, men normally opt for the "fight" response. To many men, the word stress translates into the word "challenge" -- but there is a difference. Unlike stress, a challenge should energize and motivate and bring with it a sense of satisfaction.

What does a man do when anxiety and stress prevails?

Sadly, many men cope by turning to alcohol, drugs, food, sex, the remote control or prescription drugs for relief. However, there is another solution - a better one by far. You probably know what is coming next - yup, exercise. Increasingly it is becoming more common for men to use their lunch hour to hit the gym. Doing so can relieve much stress as well as boost self-esteem and self-sufficiency. Both characteristics carry over into the work place.

Instead of thinking of a work out as your exercise time, try to approach is as time you are taking for yourself to unwind; doing something for you. Let's face it, we live in a very stressful society. One would not be selfish or neglectful if they took 1/2-hour, three or four times a week for themselves.

There are two contrasts here - one is to use your exercise time to completely block out everything else in your daily grind while the other is to use the time to brainstorm. Many men say they think of their best ideas or problem-solvers while doing bicep curls! Others say that time is a great escape for them. Whichever way works best for you is great. Some men do not care for the gym approach. If this is you, take a walk instead. A simple 30-minute walk can do wonders for body and soul.

Did You Know?

Men who cope with stress by talking about their problems and frustrations and confiding in colleagues and friends rather than bottling things up have higher sperm counts than those who do not, according to research findings from a University of Missouri study.

Whether we realize it or not, we all suffer effects of stress. The next time you feel stressed out at work, do your best not to get angry. Give yourself the challenge of controlling your stress instead. Adopt a healthier lifestyle, even if only with a few minor changes such as a bit more activity and eating a bit healthier. It all adds up!

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