This means there are 57% challenged by anxiety who are not getting the support that could help them rid their lives of anxiety. Some things that can cause anxiety in men include:
Difficulty in relationships
Career challenges or uncertainty
Anxiety is a brain based emotional challenge just like any other emotional challenge. Anxiety stems from the fear network in the brain. This network has evolved to protect us and keep us safe.
When we find ourselves in the wrong part of town and we question if we should walk down that dark alley, the fear network in the brain kicks in, send signals to our mind and body, that this may not be safe. As a result, we bypass the dark alley.
Yet with anxiety, the fear network is in overdrive. It starts to signal our minds and bodies that there is danger when there really isn't any danger.
Our logical, rational brain can try to convince the fear network of our brain there is no danger, but the fear network is not governed (or convinced) by logical and rational thought. IT JUST FEELS!
This can be incredibly frustrating for a man. Anxiety can prevent a man from dating. Anxiety can prevent a man from applying for a job, a promotion, or accepting additional responsibilities at work that can elevate his career.
All this based on an overactive fear network that is mistaking non-threatening stimulus in the environment as threatening. Once this occurs, the fear network takes over and sends out stress hormones, adrenaline, and other chemicals throughout our body to prepare us to fight, run, or freeze.
And our bodies react. And no amount of mental control, will power, or strength of mind will offset the flood of chemicals our brain releases that creates the feeling of anxiety.
Under the umbrella of anxiety, there are various subtypes. Each subtype of anxiety carries with it their own unique challenges. These challenges can significantly impact a man's self-esteem, confidence, relationships, career, and overall life satisfaction.
Anxiety & Its Various Subtypes
Anxiety in men can show itself in various ways. There is the more common form of anxiety which is Generalized Anxiety then the different offshoots of anxiety.
Below, we will briefly cover the 3 various types of anxiety, explore unique barriers that men face in effectively managing anxiety, and some strategies to help men manage this obstacle to building a strong future for themselves.
Generalized anxiety is one of the more common forms of anxiety. Below are some physical signs of Generalized Anxiety in men:
Difficulty falling asleep
Difficulty staying asleep
shortness of breath
racing or pounding heart
feeling like you’re choking
Below are some mental and emotional signs of Generalized Anxiety in men:
Some of the symptoms of panic attacks include:
Fear of loss of control
Feeling of impending doom
"Brain lock" where you can't speak
Feeling breathless or unable to catch your breath
Perspiration or sweating
Social anxiety is a subtype of anxiety that affects 15 million adults in the United States. Social anxiety tends to affect men as much as it does women. Usually starting in early adolescence, many people who have social anxiety report experiencing symptoms for many years prior to getting help.
The Mayo Clinic lists the following signs of social anxiety:
Fear of situations in which you may be judged negatively
Worry about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
Intense fear of interacting or talking with strangers
Fear that others will notice that you look anxious
Fear of physical symptoms that may cause you embarrassment, such as blushing, sweating, trembling or having a shaky voice
Avoidance of doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment
Avoidance of situations where you might be the center of attention
Anxiety in anticipation of a feared activity or event
Intense fear or anxiety during social situations
Analysis of your performance and identification of flaws in your interactions after a social situation
Expectation of the worst possible consequences from a negative experience during a social situation
These are a few of the mor common forms of anxiety that we see in men's therapy. There are other anxiety sub-types including:
Specific phobias like fear of flying, fear of public speaking, etc.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or other trauma related challenges
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Regardless the type of anxiety, men also face unique barriers in managing their anxiety. Next, we'll explore a few of these unique factors that are present in men with anxiety.
4 Factors That Impact a Man's Ability to Manage Anxiety
There are several factors that are unique to men in managing anxiety. These factors can be strengths in certain situations. When anxiety has developed, these factors become barriers in managing anxiety.
A Man's Over Reliance on Self-Reliance
One factor that impacts a man's ability to effectively manage anxiety is a man's sense of self-reliance. Self-reliance is a powerfully positive attribute. Life satisfaction and fulfillment comes from self-reliance and our ability to create, provide, and succeed based on our own ability.
Yet self-reliance is one of the main factors that keeps a man stuck in anxiety. Genetically, socially, and culturally, men are taught to depend on self-reliance over seeking help. We are problem solvers and anxiety is simply another problem to solve.
A Man's Pride in Being Tough or Strong
This is another factor that in many situations that impacts a man's ability to effectively manage anxiety is a man's pride in being tough or strong. A man's strength and toughness is often an asset.
The situations where this would be a strength are many. And a man's toughness or strength can be a factor that can help protect a man from the onset of anxiety.
However, once a man develops any form of anxiety, toughness then acts as a barrier in effectively managing the anxiety. The pride in being tough or strong and holding onto that prevents many men from seeking out help.
The thought is that if I am strong and tough, I don't need to see a therapist to figure out anxiety and how to overcome it. The reality is that seeing a therapist intimidates many men.
Tough, strong men do hard things. Ironically then, if seeing a therapist is a hard thing to do, and a tough, strong man "can't" or won't see a therapist due to it impacting his ability to feel tough or strong, then wouldn't that mean doing the hard thing and seeing a therapist demonstrate a high degree of strength?
The opposite then may be true. If it takes a strong man to seek out help, then when a man "can't" or won't seek out help, what might that mean? Simply food for thought.
Denial of a Problem
Men are far more likely to deny having an emotional problem than women. Our culture and society have made it this way.
In our culture, right or wrong, women are viewed as more emotional. As a result, it's okay for women to experience emotional problems. In fact, again right or wrong, it's something that some may expect.
Men on the other hand are viewed as not being emotional. Men are taught to be stoic when it comes to their emotions. Showing emotions can feel like a weakness as it creates a sense of vulnerability. And being vulnerable is not being a strong man.
Men will often deny experiencing anxiety OR the severity of anxiety. Denial only carries us so far. Denial is not a great therapy approach in managing anxiety in fact, denial will create a situation where the anxiety tends to get worse over time.
Men's Lack of Social Support
Women are far more likely to have a network of friends on whom they can rely upon for social support. Again, this is the difference, in general, between men and women.
Women's brains are developed to be more verbal and more social. This doesn't mean men can't be either but in general, women will develop a stronger support system than men do.
Because men may not have a strong social support network on which they can draw on to get support, this acts as a barrier for men in managing their anxiety. Being able to have someone to vent to and check your thinking is a helpful way to counter the irrationality of anxiety.
5 Strategies to Help Men Manage Anxiety
There are proven strategies that can help men manage their anxiety. Not each strategy is appropriate for all men. But there will be at least one strategy from this list that all men can find that can be helpful for them.
1. Accept Your Anxiety
This may sound counterintuitive. How does accepting anxiety help manage anxiety?
There is a difference between "accepting" and "not doing anything about it". When we talk about accepting anxiety, it is important to first acknowledge it without trying to push it down or ignore the anxiety.
However, anxiety is often irrational, illogical, and untrue. We can accept having anxiety and at the same time, challenge the anxiety through presenting logical thoughts around what the anxiety is making us feel.
2. Get Regular Exercise
One of the best ways to manage anxiety is through regular exercise. This has been shown by study after study.
Regular exercise diverts you from those things that are bringing about the anxiety.
Regular exercise decreases muscle tension, lowering your body’s reaction to feeling anxious.
Regular exercise increases your heart rate which changes brain chemistry. Regular exercise increases the availability of important anti-anxiety neurochemicals, including:
gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA),
brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and
Regular exercise activates frontal regions of the brain responsible for executive function, which helps control the amygdala. The amygdala is an important region of our brain involved in regulating our fear network and our physical reacting system to real or imagined threats or dangers.
Exercising regularly builds and bolsters our resilience against anxiety and other challenging stress-based emotions.
3. Sleep is Not a Luxury, It's a Necessity
Along with exercise, getting adequate sleep on a regular basis can go a long way in helping to manage anxiety. When we don't get the sleep we need, our brain can't process the information, learning, and events of the day.
We often wake up groggy and don't have the energy for the day that we would have had we gotten adequate sleep. When we are fighting fatigue throughout the day, our ability to manage and handle stress decreases. When we don't have the energy to handle stress, our anxiety will likely increase.
For adults, it is recommended that we get at least 8 hours of restful, uninterrupted sleep each night.
4. Set & Achieve Goals
Staying productively busy is a good way to help men manage their anxiety. This also comes with a risk. Staying busy can be helpful but if you use this approach to the extreme, it can take time away from other important areas of your life like relationships, family, and self-care
An easy way to stay busy is your career. Finding ways to be able to advance your career can help.
Another way is to start a hobby you've wanted to start. If you have wanted to learn the guitar, take some lessons. This is a healthy way of taking your mind off of the stress that creates the anxiety.
5. And Maybe -- Just Possibly -- See a Therapist
You'll reach out to a financial advisor without any hesitation. You trust them with your finances to help you manage them which will result in higher quality of life for you and those you love.
A men's therapist is simply an emotional advisor that can help you manage your emotions better which will result in a higher quality of life for you and those you love.
At Katy Counseling for Men, we have intentionally hire therapists who only specialize in men's counseling. This way, when you do reach out to find a men's therapist, you don't need to "therapist shop" by trying out a few before you find the right fit.
We also use therapy approaches that will best fit your preference. We use both talk-therapy and non-talk therapy approaches to men's therapy.
Our goal at Katy Counseling for Men is to help advise you on the best ways to overcome anxiety. We want to see you build a stronger future for yourself and those you love.
We know that when we are able to help you overcome the challenges that anxiety throws in your way, you'll be able to access inner resources, talents, and abilities that have always been there, just made less accessible by anxiety.
Katy Counseling for Men: Specializing in Men's Counseling in Katy, TX & Houston
Men, you don't need to live with the impacts of anxiety any longer. Our men's counselors specialize in counseling men. We can help advise on the best way to overcome anxiety in your life.
At our Katy, TX location of Katy Counseling for Men, we are ready to help. If you are ready to start building a stronger future by overcoming anxiety, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:
Contact Katy Counseling for Men
Meet with one of our specialists in men's counseling
Start your journey in building a stronger future today
Other Support Services Offered at Katy Counseling for Men: Katy, TX & Houston
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)
Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)
Counseling for anxiety
Counseling for social anxiety
Board Certified Neurofeedback
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Marriage Counseling & Couples Therapy
About the Author
Jason specializes in teen therapy, young adult counseling, family therapy, and neurofeedback for teens, young adults, and adults.
Jason also specializes in clinical program development, business administration. and leading high performing teams of specialized therapists in group practice settings.
Jason is a leader in the field of teen, young adult, and family counseling as an expert program consultant providing coaching and technical assistance to teen Residential Treatment Centers across the country.
Jason is also a regular contributor to various magazines and publications lending his expertise to various mental health related topics. You can check these articles out at:
If you are ready to start building your stronger future today, call, text, or email us.
Phone Number: 832-346-9614