The economy, the war, the Jersey Shore…these are not easy times to live in. When you’ve got to keep an eye on your Twitter, an eye on your girlfriend, and an eye on your work, even your third eye is working overtime just to keep even keel. There are, of course, solutions. And we’ve handily included them in this article, so you don’t have to worry about ever going to another site…ever again.
Think manly thoughts
Men are much less likely to suffer from anxiety disorder for a variety of physiological and social reasons. Testosterone, for instance, has been shown to reduce anxiety significantly in house mice. Similarly, women’s hormone levels vary more than men’s which is one reason that they suffer anxiety disorders at a rate double that which men do.
You can’t control that, but one reason that men tend to deal with stress better (and this is potentially influenced by testosterone, but not entirely controlled by it), is that they are better at compartmentalizing. They’re better single-taskers. This allows them to eschew some of the mental shrapnel that otherwise would hinder them. When you “think manly thoughts,” try thinking of only completing the very next thing you have to do. This keeps you from being overwhelmed by a to-do list, falling prey to a self-destroying prophecy, or getting so bogged down by things that could go wrong, that you just do nothing. In fact, this last phenomenon echoes what happens when anxiety increases dramatically
“Researchers believe that some people react with anxiety to stressful life events, seeing danger lurking ahead everywhere—in applying for a job, asking for a favor, asking for a date. And some go beyond anxiety to become depressed, a kind of shutdown in response to anticipated danger.”
Think about your lady
You know what’s relaxing? Unbridled sexual conduct with a consenting adult. That’s what’s relaxing. However, this isn’t just anecdotal (and totally awesome) observation on our part. It turns out, it’s actually science, too.
Dr. Laura Berman (sounds hot), a sex therapist in one of the most scantily-clad cities in America, West Palm Beach, Fla., suggests that sex is something you can do to relieve stress and combat anxiety you’re having about, well, anything, really.
And, it’s not just afterglow, in her talk with CBS, she suggests that, “Among the interesting findings of the study is the suggestion that the benefits of sexual intercourse can be long-lasting, lingering not just for a few hours, but for days.”
When people hear “meditation,” they think that they could never participate in such an activity because they don’t have the time, the chapel, or the comfortable-looking, rouge robe. Surely they’d look ridiculous with a shaved head. But meditation is a much broader term than many people realize, and the reverential monk image respresents only a minute fraction of what the world of meditation actually consists of.
Dr. Darlene McCord, in her book, “Living Well at One Hundred,” suggests that it’s better to think of meditation as, simply put, relaxation. She says:
“The idea is to get rid of all the ‘chatter’ in our heads that constantly takes us away from a peaceful state. Focusing on your breathing is one way of letting go of those busy internal voices. Just closing your eyes and listening to music can actually be a form of meditation.”
Sleep is more important than work
Sleep’s beneficial effects have been well-documented. One instance that stuck with us is an anecdote related by Lance Armstrong in which his personal physician, Dr. Michael Ferrari (awesome name), described the effects of sleep as a foreign substance. It is so beneficial for you to sleep (and for athletes to sleep in particular), that he said if the effects of sleep could be created with a pill, that pill would absolutely be banned by the governing body of cycling.
But it’s not just Italian race doctors with cool names that recognize sleep’s benefits. Dr. Edward T. Creagan writes the following over at Mayo Clinic.
One lesson that I have learned: When I anticipate some challenging times ahead or an increase in demands and expectations, I try to be fanatical about “sleep hygiene.” So, what does this mean? To me it means:
- Getting enough sleep. For me that means 7 to 8 hours.
- Having a bedtime routine. This does not include watching the news or some crime show, which are not conducive to a good night’s sleep for me.
- Clearing my mind. Finding a way to put the worries and concerns of the day aside.
- Feeling thankful. Thinking back on events of the day for which I am thankful. Regardless of our circumstances, each of us can find circumstances and especially people in our lives for whom we should be grateful.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy and or the use of drugs are sometimes resorted to in more severe cases of stress when it progresses to one of many anxiety disorders. CBT is the “top down” method in which patients speak to therapists about the problems they’re having and, after a typical period of 12 to 15 weeks with results typically being recognizable in 6 weeks. Drugs, on the other hand, work from the “bottom up” as they directly affect the neurotransmitters involved in a patients stress response. Before undergoing either therapy, it’s best to consult your family physician.