Mental Health 1 - 0 Stress

Gillian Cooper
Share: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
It's hailed as a festival of football, but for many fans the 2016 UEFA European Championship, will herald four weeks of nail-biting, fist-pumping, face-palming, heart-stopping, pulse-racing plain old emotional turmoil as your favourite team battles it out to be crowned top team.
It seems great timing then, that a week raising awareness of male stress should kick off just three days after its opening ceremony. Coincidental? Probably. But quite timely too.

Whether it's the highs and lows of the beautiful game that raise adrenaline levels, or the peaks and troughs of a relationship, career or cash flow that's causing anxiety, stress is something we all succumb to from time to time. Recognising when it rears its ugly head, and knowing how to tackle it, are among the issues Men's Health Week is looking to address.

The event takes place from 13th-19th June and is organised by the Men's Health Forum, an independent charity formed in 1994 to promote healthy living and lifestyles. Of course, it's worth pointing out that stress is a completely normal response to a perceived threat, dating all the way back to our caveman 'fight or flight' days. See a bear - or see our bank balance in the red - and our physical reactions are pretty much the same; an increased heart rate, sweaty palms, anxiety, sleep disturbance as well as heightened mental and physical alertness. A small degree of stress can be positive. Being under pressure is a normal part of life, it can be a useful drive that helps you take action, feel more energised and get results.

If that feeling persists, however, it can cause serious damage to the immune system and heart and, in doing so, threaten your physical and mental well-being. As well as increasing your chances of developing serious health problems further down the line, the day-to-day side effects could impinge on your mood, sex life, sleep patterns and eating habits.

Put simply, stress is one tough opponent to play. When it comes to tackling it, however, it helps to know there's a dedicated team behind you to draw on for support and advice. Charities like the Men's Health Forum are a good place to start for resources and tips, but just confiding in a mate or family member is often a good first move. There are no fixed rules when it comes to dealing with stress and different things work better for different people. Changes in diet, getting more exercise and practising mindfulness techniques have been successful for some; for others seeking professional help from a GP or counsellor makes more sense.

Whatever the cause, and however it's confronted, it's important to know that stress isn't unbeatable. There's always time to turn the game around and get on the front foot.

Find out more:


  • There are no comments yet, why not be the first to post?
Post a comment