Stress is a fact of modern life, that's pretty much a given. But too much stress can do a number on a man's body and mind, resulting in everything from headaches and weight gain to hair loss and erectile dysfunction. So the better you can deal with it, the better your health, hair and sex life will be. The next time you're feeling overwhelmed, try one of these stress-busters:
Researchers at the University of Alabama found that 200 milligrams of vitamin C, twice a day, nearly stopped the secretion of stress hormones. Why not start your day with a glass of orange juice in the morning and a Vitamin C-fortified multivitamin at dinnertime, and give yourself a solid defense against the effects of stress before they can wreak havoc on your life?
The more out of control you feel, the more stressed out you'll be. If the boss drops a huge project in your lap, work up an outline of your duties and schedule when things need to be done. What was once immense is now a set of manageable tasks. Do the same for your weekly obligations and responsibilities under control and take pride in crossing each item off your to-do list.
Breaking a sweat with some physical activity has long been praised as an effective way to clear your mind and relieve the tension in your body. But you want to make sure it's an intense workout. A University of Missouri at Columbia study found that 33 minutes of high-intensity exercise helps lower stress levels more than working out at a moderate pace. What's more, the benefits can last for nearly two hours.
Elizabeth Cornell, of the Muscular Therapy Center in New York, suggests taking your thumb and forefinger and lightly pinching your earlobes. Pull them slightly away from your head and move them in small circles ten times. The motion moves the head's tentorium membrane, which has a stress-relieving effect. Just make sure to do this in private—a bathroom stall makes a nice place.
Taking a deep breath always helps you focus. But Mehmet C. Oz, MD (yes, that Dr. Oz) says you can go one better. He suggests inhaling deeply through your nose and then licking your lips. Then exhale through your mouth slowly. The cool breeze blowing over your lips helps you refocus and brings down your heart rate. Repeat this three times for ultimate relaxation benefits.
What is stress, really?
Stress is your body's natural reaction to situations when it feels it needs strength, stamina and alertness in order to survive. Any perceived threat to your well-being can induce a stress response. Known as the "fight or flight" response, it allowed early humans to respond to danger by releasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. These chemicals raise your heart rate and blood pressure, speed up your breathing and dilate your blood vessels to increase blood flow to your muscles.