Top 10 Mistakes Men Make that Fuel Anxiety

panic-anxietyAnxiety and Panic

Anxiety symptoms are definitely unwelcome and sometimes even debilitating. The heart-racing, clammy-skinned, out-of-control feeling can strike fear in the hearts of even the toughest of men.

While obviously, you don’t want to feel this way and would never intentionally bring it on yourself, you may actually be making some very common, very unconstructive decisions in your everyday life that can significantly worsen your anxiety. Here are the top ten mistakes men make that increase their levels of anxiety and panic:

1. Bottling it up

It’s certainly not breaking news that men don’t always like to talk about their feelings, but for men with anxiety or panic disorders, this could be a potentially harmful mistake. Not only is it okay for guys to talk about their feelings, it’s absolutely necessary for dealing with anxiety. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a therapist or your significant other, find a trusted friend or family member you can confide in. Exposing anxiety for what it is and resisting the urge to keep it bottled up is one of the best ways to neutralize it.

2. Drinking it away

Alcohol is one of the most favored over -the –counter medications for anxiety. Men and women alike often turn to a glass of wine or a few beers to keep their anxiety in check. This is a short term solution, however, and not a very effective one. It may work while you’re intoxicated, but as soon as you start to sober up and your body attempts to metabolize all that alcohol, your anxiety is likely to skyrocket.

3. Consuming too much caffeine

It’s not just alcohol that men often overindulge in—it’s caffeine as well. A common stimulant, caffeine wakes us up, makes us more aware of our surroundings and better able to focus—in moderation, of course, and in people who respond well to it. For anxiety sufferers, however, caffeine is the enemy and can exacerbate the stress response. Caffeine is not just in coffee, it’s in many sodas as well, and can really add up throughout the day if you’re not careful.

4. Skipping meals

In today’s fast-paced society, skipping meals is something we all do every now and then to save time and try to cram more work into our day. This is certainly not a good habit for anyone, but for anxiety-sufferers, it’s particularly destructive. It’s important to keep your blood sugar in balance by eating regular meals throughout the day to prevent mood swings and anxiety spikes.

5. Working overtime

In today’s society where productivity is everything and a man is often judged by how well he provides for his family, there can be a lot of pressure to perform. Although it may be tempting to put in those additional hours to make a few extra bucks or meet a deadline, consider the trade-off. If you don’t give your mind and your body some time to rest, then you’re likely to be less productive and more anxious the following day.

6. Being a couch potato

Although getting adequate rest can help alleviate anxiety symptoms, being sedentary cannot. If you work at a desk all day, come home, and plop down on the couch until bedtime, then you’re not getting enough exercise. Cardiovascular and aerobic exercise has been proven to squelch anxiety, so work some physical activity into your daily routine and feel your anxiety levels decrease.

7. Taking it out on others

Especially your significant others. When men get stressed, they often take it out on the ones they love the most. Some even cross the line into emotional or physical abuse. Even if you aren’t abusive to the ones you care about, blaming them for your anxiety or projecting it onto them is not at all helpful—for them or for you. Eventually, you’ll end up feeling guilty; the other person may feel hurt or angry, and your anxiety will only increase as a result.

8. Worrying about the things you can’t change

It’s perfectly natural to want to help others and solve all the world’s problems, including your own, but it’s also very unrealistic. There are some problems that simply have no solution, and there are some people who don’t want to help themselves no matter how much you prod or pray. There is a lot of truth to the old adage that recommends we accept the things we cannot change. Doing anything other than that is counterproductive and will continue to worsen your anxiety over time.

9. Keeping up with the Joneses

The desire to be competitive and provide the best possible lifestyle for your family is about as innate as breathing. But when it becomes an obsession, it can ignite the fire of anxiety quicker than anything else. Although certainly you should do your best to achieve your personal and professional goals, you should never use someone else’s success as a way to measure your own. Doing so puts undue pressure and anxiety on yourself and may actually inhibit your performance.

10. Embracing your Type A personality

Many anxiety sufferers tend to have a type A personality; that is, they like things to always be a certain way and are rigid and resistant to change. In essence, they’re a bit like a control freak. If your blood pressure goes up when you see a drawer left open or a wrinkle on your side of the bed, then this is you. Try to relax a bit and accept imperfection. You’ll be doing yourself—and those around you—a big favor.

Although no one is accusing you of causing your own anxiety, you may very well be exacerbating it without even knowing it. The good news is that if you can worsen your condition on your own, then you can also improve it.

If you’re serious about reducing your anxiety, consider making some simple changes in your daily routine and perspective to create a more relaxed, more flexible, and ultimately, more satisfying life for yourself.

calm-clinicAbout The Author 

Ryan Rivera is an ex-anxiety sufferer. You can find more articles by him at

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