The Essential Man’s Scientific Guide to Beating Anxiety

If you’re like me, then you want to be successful in every aspect of your life. I constantly wonder if I am achieving my highest potential or if I am wasting some amount of my days.

This thought can easily turn into a nagging worry if you don’t have the proper tools to combat it.

This worry that I am talking about is anxiety, and this is not the only form it comes in. In fact, anxiety has six main shapes that it takes; generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, specific anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and panic disorders.

Since you’re a man (or woman) who takes action to command your life the way you want, and you don’t let your emotions determine the outcome of your life, we have organized a neat outline of what these anxieties look like, a list of things you can do to lower the anxiety and stress that comes along with it, and lastly some science behind it all to back it up.

(The funny thing is, you need stress in your life if you’re going to achieve an optimal outcome. However, too much stress is when it starts to have negative effects and long-term consequences.)

ANXIETY: What is it? (Besides the most common mental illness in the world)

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): person feels anxious about most things on most days, usually for a period of over 6 months.
  • Social Anxiety: Fear of social situation; talking in public.
  • Specific Anxiety: A fear of something specifically
  • Obsessive / Compulsive Disorder (OCD): possessing one or more phobias and going to great lengths to avoid them.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): difficulty relaxing, flashbacks to events
  • Panic Disorder: Having a panic attack at least once a month

What does it look like?

  • Mentally, you are on the edge of snapping constantly
  • Shortness of breath, hard to catch.
  • Insomnia; can’t sleep, and if you do you can’t stay asleep.
  • Pounding heart
  • Sweat a lot and from weird places
  • The fear is very real even though you know the danger is impossible.
  • Specifically avoid normal activities from fear of fear 

Who’s had it?

  • Abraham Lincoln: GAD
  • Charles Darwin: OCD tendencies
  • Nikola Tesla: OCD
  • Jennifer Lawrence: Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Sigmund Freud: GAD
  • 11% of the veterans from the war on Afghanistan: PSTD

This list is an example that even though you may currently be battling some form of anxiety, there is hope to become successful. What’s more, the list below will help you get your anxiety under control and be the successful person you desire to be.

Courage is not the absence of fear, it is the mastery of it. Victor Hugo

Activities to lower anxiety:

  • Free:
    • Laugh / smile more!!
    • Meditate / breathe
    • Listen to songs that you love
    • Have sex
    • Go outside
    • Go on a walk
    • Turn off your phones / disconnect
    • Social support
    • Time management
    • Volunteer
    • Practice gratitude / appreciate what you have
    • Get enough sleep
    • Wear pastel or easy colors (light blue, purple or green)
    • Walk on the beach
    • Play with a dog
    • Pet a kitty
  • Worth the money:
    • Get a massage
    • Buy potted plants
    • Aromatherapy
    • Spa treatment
    • Eat foods high in Omega-3’s and Vitamin B. (Here are some suggestions)
    • Drink orange juice
  • How to one up your anxiety:
    • Minimize caffeine and alcohol consumption (we’ve written about this before)
    • Quit smoking
    • Build social relationships
    • Develop skills to build confidence in the situations that provoke anxiety (here’s 100 ways to start a conversation with a stranger)
    • Seek to live a meaningful life instead of focusing on how the anxiety makes you feel
    • Reframe your perspective, “you can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them.”
    • Remember the big picture.
    • Rely on routines
    • Be compassionate with yourself
    • Don’t take yourself to seriously
    • Remind yourself the anxious feelings are temporary
    • Do some research on the brain to understand what is actually happening when you feel anxious (keywords: ‘amygdala’ and ‘flight or fight response’)
    • Find ways to be optimistic about your situation! What is going right and what can you hope for?
    • Put a time and place next to the items on your to-do list.
    • See your work in terms of progress, not perfection.

Even if you don’t have anxiety yet, you will want to incorporate these activities into your life to take on a preventative approach.

Chronic stress can affect your:

  • Heart
  • Sleep
  • Digestion
  • Weight
  • Memory
  • Skin

The science:

  • de Wit, L., van Straten, A., Lamers, F., Cuijpers, P., & Penninx, B. (2011). Are sedentary television watching and computer use behaviors associated with anxiety and depressive disorders?Psychiatry Research, 186(2-3), 239-243.
    • Anxiety can lead to increased sedentary behavior.
  • O’Loughlin, E. K., Low, N. C. P., Sabiston, C. M., Brunet, J., Dugas, E. N., Chaiton, M. O., & O’Loughlin, J. L. (2013). Symptoms of specific anxiety disorders may relate differentially to different physical activity modalities in young adults.
    • People who have generalized anxiety disorder are less likely to engage in physical activity, lowering every aspect of their health.
  • Roy-Byrne, P., Davidson, K. W., Kessler, R. C., Asmundson, G. J. G., Goodwin, R. D., Kubzansky, L. D., . . . Stein, M. B. (2008). Anxiety disorders and comorbid medical illness.General Hospital Psychiatry, 30(3), 208-225.
    • Anxiety disorders are starting to rival depression in terms of their comorbidity with other illnesses.
      • Anxiety is correlated with Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), asthma, cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, and chronic pain.
    • Depression and anxiety increase risk of fatal stroke in middle-aged men. (2002, Jan 17).
      • Middle aged men who suffer from anxiety are more than three times as likely to have a fatal stroke than middle aged men who do not. 

Statistics to take with you:

  • 1 in 5 people over the age of 18 have experienced an anxiety disorder in the past year
  • Middle aged men who suffer from anxiety are more than three times as likely to have a fatal stroke than middle aged men who do not.
  • 36% of people with an anxiety disorder experience symptoms for 10 years before seeking help

More Literature on Overcoming Anxiety:

If these don’t work:

  • Seek professional help from a psychologist and ask to talk about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, or mindfulness practices. Here’s the American Psychological Association’s Psychologist Locator.

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2 Comments The Essential Man’s Scientific Guide to Beating Anxiety

  1. Maddie

    I suffer from OCD and panic disorder and while I take medication, I am far from dealt with. These tips are sure to be helpful to one extent or another, thank you! Anxiety is an awful things and can leave you feeling hopeless and afraid of everything, but it can be handled.

    Reply
    1. Drew

      Hey Maddie, I’d definitely encourage you to try out meditation and other modalities that we mention often. Medication can be a great start but ultimately, who wants to take a pill for the rest of their lives? As a guy who suffered from anxiety growing up I can attest to how horrible it can be. I consider it the disease of modernity. Thanks for your comment and hope you see improvement soon!

      Reply

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