Have you been stuck in traffic, late to an important appointment? Getting there, your breath quickens. Your heart races. Your muscles tense. As your anxiety builds, you might even feel like you’re on the verge of having a heart attack.
What happens when you are stressed?
According to Harvard Health Publishing, what you’re experiencing is a phenomenon Harvard physiologist, Walter Cannon termed as “fight-or-flight” response. In a stressful condition, your body releases a flood of chemicals such as cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline), which prepare your body for action. If the car in front of you suddenly blows up, you would be ready to get out of your car and flee. However, the reaction is wasted away if you’re just waiting in traffic.
Stress in Malaysia
According to Health Works, in a recent report by Regus, researchers found that Malaysians have a higher stress level at 63%. This is 10% higher than the global average stress level of 53%. That’s pretty high and most of the stress comes from troublesome traffic, inefficient IT infrastructure and long meetings. Relationships, financial issues and social media problems also add to the stress.
Below are 5 negative ways stress can affect men’s health as described by Everyday Health
- Stress can affect men’s decision-making skills
Men who are in high stressed conditions see heavier women as more attractive than those who are in low stressed conditions, a British study of 81 men found. Dr. Kevin B. Jones, MD, finds these results highly believable. “You don’t need a doctor to tell you that stress can change a man’s decisions,” he says.
“Some men decide to treat stress or poor mental health on their own which could further mess with their judgment, such as taking drugs or consuming too much alcohol or dangerous sexual entanglements. Even without mind-altering substances or habits, they will make different decisions when too heavily stressed.”
- Men take stress harder than women
Men are supposed to be “rocks,” resistant to stress. But recent research indicates that women cope better when faced with stress. In one study of more than 24,000 Canadian adults, men who had high demand and low control in their jobs or had job insecurity were more likely to have had major depression. Women in the study, although face anxiety and depression, were not as likely as men to experience major depression.
- High anxiety levels can be life-threatening
Major life events, including job loss, can be deadly, researchers at McGill University in Montreal found after analyzing data on more than 20 million people who had lost their jobs. Researchers found that men, particularly those in the early or middle portion of their careers, had a higher risk for death due to job loss than both women and men later in their careers.
- Stress makes men eat their feelings
Like women, high stress levels can negatively affect a man’s lifestyle and behavior choices, too. For example, a U.S. Department of Agriculture study found that people with high-stress jobs who eat at irregular hours end up eating more when they finally eat.
“Stress could lead to numerous behavioral issues such as skipping meals, getting less sleep, and eating unhealthy foods,” Rego says. “These can often interact with and contribute to the medical impact of stress, which can include increased blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, and increased vulnerability to infections.”
- Stress is bad for your heart
A recent review of studies on stress and heart health published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that high stress can raise the risk for coronary heart disease. Dr. Alan Christianson, a naturopathic physician in Scottsdale, Ariz, says that the effects of stress can actually effect individuals’ body physically.
“Stress creates the inflammation that causes small cholesterol particles to stick to the blood vessels,” he says.
To ensure a balanced physical, emotional and mental health, there are some means that can be taken to reduce the impact of stress. Some steps that can be taken are, avoiding drinks and chemicals such as alcohol, nicotine and caffeine, getting enough sleep, managing time well and carrying out some relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation.