Stress. Burnout. Mental Fatigue. Whatever you call it, its real, and it affects all men. Though if we knew just how profoundly it could impact us, we might be more prone to talking about. High levels of stress have previously been linked with mood swings, verbal aggression, general irritability and frequent states of anger. No surprises, a high prevalence of stress can often lead to significant relationship problems. The same goes for the workplace, where before you know it your productivity has hit a slump and the rate at which your coworkers agitate you has reached unprecedented heights.
The signs of a mental burnout can often be hard to see. That’s why it’s important to consider the types of things that might be influencing your mood. In the most recent Australian Stress and Wellbeing Survey, the 3 most common causes of mental pressure were: Financial, Family and Health issues. With up to a quarter of Australians reportedly feeling moderate-to-severe levels of stress on a yearly basis, it’s worthwhile to work out how you best cope with feelings of distress and anxiety.
Being 2017, the resources available on strategies for stress reduction are countless. But information gained should always be taken with a grain of salt. From a quick search, one article from an unnamed publication presented over 50 different individual activities for alleviating stress, some as obscure as: ‘watering plants’ or ‘buying a Christmas tree’. Most suggestions tend to follow a simple enough line of thought – removing oneself from the factors that are causing you stress; whether it be through quiet meditation, a favourite hobby, reading or smashing obscene amounts of alcohol and recreational drugs. It’s important to consider, however, that not all coping mechanisms are created equal.
At WPN. we know one thing, and that’s exercise. Engaging in a physical activity was ranked amongst the top five most effective means of reducing stress in the Australian Stress and Wellbeing Survey with 8 out of 10 respondents having said it worked for them. Interestingly, in the same survey 72% of people reported stress to have a negative impact on their physical health while only 64% said the same for their mental health. Clearly there is something to be said about the link between good physical and psychological health. Healthy mind, healthy body – something we subscribe to here at WPN.
Physical activity is a scientifically proven stress killer, no matter what level you’re at. Exercise floods your brain with sweet, sweet endorphins, which are responsible for a huge number of mental health benefits not limited to stress relief. Implementing an active routine for yourself will likely improve your general mood and self-esteem as well as anxiety levels. Even if you’re no elite athlete, just setting aside the time for a regular sweat is a great way to break up your stress-inducing schedule. The challenge lies in finding what’s best for you, whether it be finding a team sport you love and getting a group of mates together to play or getting a membership at your local pool and tranquilly pondering the nature of the universe while you swim laps. Find what works for you, do it, stress less. Here at WPN. we’re devoted to men’s mental health, it’s our mission to increase the number of healthy minds through exercise and fitness. Search our website to find out more.