Anxiety is a common mental health condition that affects one in four people across Australia. In men, anxiety is thought to be vastly underreported and more common than depression.
Put simply, anxiety is the prolonged feelings of worry or stress that do not go away over time or seem to occur for no reason.
But as Senior Rehabilitation Consultant Kimberley Cepon from Acumen Health says it is more than just feeling stressed or nervous.
“Anxiety is the fear that something bad is going to happen, that snowballs into catastrophic feelings that are overwhelming,” Kimberley says.
“The feelings are intense and can impact every day life.”
Anxiety can be caused by various factors such as work stress, financial problems, relationship issues, traumatic events and even societal expectations.
Men who experience anxiety often find it challenging to identify and manage their symptoms, leading to negative impacts on their personal and professional lives.
Signs of anxiety in men
Men who are struggling with anxiety may show different signs and symptoms than women. Some common signs of anxiety in men include:
- Restlessness, irritability and agitation
- Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
- Physical symptoms like headaches, muscle tension, and digestive issues
- Avoiding social situations or being overly self-conscious in social situations
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism
Five ways men can better manage anxiety
1. Practice mindfulness techniques
Mindfulness can be an effective tool for managing anxiety. Men can try mindfulness techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help calm their mind and alleviate anxiety symptoms.
2. Exercise regularly
Exercise can help reduce anxiety symptoms by releasing endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters. Men can incorporate regular exercise into their routine, whether it’s going to the gym, taking a walk, or playing sports.
3. Get enough sleep
Poor sleep can worsen anxiety symptoms. Men should aim to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night. They can set up a bedtime routine, limit screen time before bed, and create a relaxing sleep environment.
4. Seek professional help
Men who are struggling with anxiety should not hesitate to seek professional help. A mental health professional can supply effective treatment options, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy or medication.
5. Connect with others
Men should connect with their family and friends for emotional support. They can also seek out support groups or online forums where they can talk to others who are going through similar experiences.
The impact of anxiety in the workplace
Untreated or unrecognised anxiety can have a significant impact on a business or workplace. It can lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and even turnover.
Anxiety can also contribute to workplace conflicts and negatively impact workplace culture.
“It can impact study, employment, and relationships,” Kimberley adds.
“If untreated, anxiety can be predictive of psychiatric disorders, including depression and an increased risk of suicide.”
Employers and colleagues can also play a role in promoting mental health in the workplace and supporting their employees’ wellbeing.
How to support a mate and colleague who may have anxiety
Recognising and supporting other men who may be showing signs of anxiety can be challenging, but it is an essential part of promoting mental health and wellbeing in our teams.
Here are some ways that men can recognise and support other men who may be struggling with anxiety:
1. Educate yourself
Educate yourself about the signs and symptoms of anxiety so that you can recognise them in others. You can also learn about effective strategies for managing anxiety.
2. Be observant
Be observant of the behaviour of your male friends, family members, and colleagues. Look for signs such as irritability, social withdrawal, excessive worry, and changes in sleep patterns or appetite.
3. Start a conversation
Start a conversation with the person you are concerned about in a non-judgmental and supportive manner. Let them know that you are there for them and that they are not alone.
Listen actively and empathetically when someone is sharing their experiences with anxiety. Allow them to express their feelings without interrupting or judging them.
5. Encourage help-seeking
Encourage the person to seek professional help if their symptoms persist or worsen. Offer to help them find a mental health professional, make an appointment, or go with them to their appointment.
6. Be supportive
Be supportive of the person throughout their journey towards recovery. Let them know that you are there for them, check in on them regularly, and offer practical support, such as helping them to maintain a healthy lifestyle or accompanying them to social events.
Recognising and supporting other men who may be showing signs of anxiety can be a challenging but crucial part of promoting mental health and wellbeing.
By educating yourself, being observant, starting a conversation, listening actively, encouraging help-seeking, and being supportive, you can help other men to manage their anxiety and improve their overall quality of life.
The following resource has been provided for informational purposes only. As it does not consider your personal circumstances and needs, we recommend you obtain your own professional health advice to determine how this resource may apply to you.