We know that even moderate levels of prolonged stress have countless negative effects on the body, including insomnia, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, headaches, GERD, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, heart issues, weight gain, decreased sex drive or erectile dysfunction and – yes – even cancer, to name just a few. It also takes a toll on the mind, creating memory impairment, confusion, mental exhaustion, a short fuse, detachment and anxiety, which can often lead to depression.
Let’s Talk About Stress
It’s stressful even thinking about stress, and for many men it’s even more stressful trying to talk about stress, because it has been deeply ingrained that they have to be tough enough to handle whatever life throws their way. Even when they’re not feeling tough, they feel that they have to maintain the outward façade of being “OK.” To men, having people see that they’re stressed equals vulnerability, which in turn causes more stress. Many men also don’t have the full range of emotional language that women have, because they haven’t had the practice or the support systems that women have had to talk about their feelings. So men tend to bottle up their stress more than women, which is doubly detrimental.
As I was researching for this article, which for me entails a mix of information gathering and interviewing, I experienced first hand the challenges that men have connecting with and expressing their feelings around stress. It ran the gamut between denial, “I’m never stressed; I don’t know what you’re talking about,” when that clearly wasn’t the case, to “I’m stressed but I don’t know what is causing it, and it makes me feel uncomfortable trying to talk about it,” to “I plead the fifth.” My heart goes out to my male counterparts, because we all get stressed by life in this modern world and need support and tools to learn how to manage it, so it doesn’t do the damage described above.
Women’s Vs. Men’s Roles
We women have had our challenges adjusting to the changing roles over the past 50 years or so. Not that long ago our primary role was to take care of the house and the kids and leave the working world to the men. I think we’ve done a great job of adjusting to being out in the working world while still taking care of the bulk of the responsibilities of the home and children. In fact, I think it’s been an easier adjustment for women to go out into the working world than it has been for men to share more of the emotional aspects of home and family and has added another layer of stress that wasn’t there before. Women shifted from the domestic, emotional world to the more logical, analytical world; and men are working to shift from the logical, black-and-white work world to the living-in-the-grey emotional world of home and the complexities of emotions that don’t make a lot of logical sense. It’s easier to shift into logic than it is into emotion, which has created some challenges and additional stressors for men.
The Pace of Life
The world has changed significantly over the past 50 years, most noticeably the pace. To think that back in 1985, only 30 years ago, the computer was in its infancy. I remember working on a typewriter my first job out of college when “Wite-Out” was both a blessing and a curse. Then came the cell phone, which caused the pace of life to speed up significantly. The speed of technology moved faster than the speed of evolution, and our brains, which were used to working at one pace for a long, long time, had difficulty adjusting to a pace that was double its normal speed and is getting faster by the day. Now we have technology that allows us to listen to TV shows and podcasts one-third faster, so we can cram more into our day. STRESSFUL!!
Pace of life is one of the top 5 stressors that men experience. The other four are their health, their job, family and relationship expectations, and finances. I’m sure the interrelatedness of all 5 has become apparent in that health is affected by the other 4 factors. Men, in general, are unhealthier than women. This pattern starts pretty much at birth, with more male babies not surviving than females, and is then compounded by the fact that most men will put off going to the doctor for as long as possible until things get so dire that they can’t not go. So even though they’re not taking great care of themselves, they still worry about their health, which causes more stress and takes a greater toll on health – a “Catch 22” if I’ve ever seen one.
Performance and Job Stress
Performance success is a major concern for most men, as they place their value on how they’re compared to others in the work world. I work with many high-level executives whom you’d think would be the most secure in their jobs, but they’re not. They struggle with imposter syndrome and the constant fear of being pushed off the pedestal by a competitor. They also worry about keeping up with their peers and being accepted within the pack. They typically do not have an emotional outlet. Most men don’t have a large number of friends, and when they do connect socially, maybe at a sporting event or on the golf course, they’re not talking about what’s really going on and certainly not talking about their feelings or stressors. They’re working to be seen as having it all together and keeping the kinks in their armor well hidden.
Job stress is tied into financial stress and has increased significantly over the years, with the cost of everything going up, up, up much faster than the increase in pay in most jobs. All the basic survival needs have increased, including homes, utilities, food, clothing, schooling and medical costs, so now it can often be a struggle to make ends meet, never mind save for that coveted vacation or retirement.
Last but not least, they worry about relationships and family. With so many demands on their energy and time, very often relationships with friends and spouses take a back seat. They worry about whether they’re doing a good enough job of taking care of the family’s needs and very often feel overwhelmed with the emotional demands that weren’t part of being a man in the past. The expectations then were so much simpler than they are now.
Concern for the Future
Men are losing sleep over the future and fearing the unknown. “Am I going to get that promotion?” “Am I going to be able to keep my job with the younger, lower-paid crop of workers coming into the field?” “Am I going to be able to keep up with the demands of life?” “Does my wife still love me?” “Do my friends still think I’m cool?” And they’re worried about how they’re going to remember everything they need to do, never mind get it done and done well. We women are typically better at multitasking, not that this is a good thing when it comes to the effects on the brain. Most men do better single-tasking, which is actually healthier but can be more stressful when there are a multitude of things that need to get done simultaneously these days.
Hypnosis can Help
I know you get the picture. You may, in fact, be one of those men or one of their loved ones who are living in this picture, which is a very uncomfortable place to be. The good news is that hypnosis can absolutely help and can do so far quicker and much easier than many of the other traditional therapies that are available. It’s actually perfectly suited for men, because they don’t really want to talk about things; they want to change things.
If you’re a wife or girlfriend, you’ve probably experienced that phenomenon firsthand. You come home and just want to talk to your man about your day and some of the challenges you’ve encountered, and his primary focus is how he can fix it for you. It’s the same for himself, so hypnosis is a perfect fit. There’s a huge desire to just get it fixed fast – which is exactly what hypnosis can do.
Regardless of the stressor, hypnosis can help. I’ve worked with countless male clients on clearing blocks to abundance, building self-confidence, overcoming fears of public speaking and fears of conflict; not to mention taming road rage, getting over sexual anxieties, learning how to emotionally connect with their partners and children, improving health by lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol; releasing weight, improving self-care, and even improving their golf game. Whatever they’re struggling with, hypnosis can help because it allows them to tap into the other 90% of their mind’s capacity. It’s extremely self-empowering, which is another thing that men appreciate about the modality.
The Hypnosis Process
Aside from the initial intake, which takes about thirty minutes, the balance of the work is about draining that overflowing emotional reservoir where unprocessed emotions from way back have been stored. This occurs in most cases without even having to tap into the emotions it contains and instead monitoring the changes that come as a result and continuing to focus on creating positive shifts until the goals have been reached, or in many cases, exceeded.
In the process, many men notice that their fear and confusion around emotions disappears, that they become much more comfortable feeling and working with their emotions, and as a result, all aspects of life get better. It’s tremendously freeing when they cannot only understand what they’re feeling, but why they’re feeling it and then express it. They are able to make better decisions, because the decisions are made from the heart as well as the head, versus just by the head or as a reaction to the fear that was in the heart. Confidence levels are boosted and when they feel better about themselves, they tend to take better care of themselves in regard to their relationship with food. And because they’re feeling better, many of the destructive coping mechanisms they were using to stuff down those uncomfortable feelings are no longer needed. It’s a win-win all around.
I’ve worked with men from all over the globe on every imaginable issue, whether it is divorce recovery, guilt from having an affair in a desperate attempt to feel loved and good enough, performance issues of all kinds, including sports and job or performance of the more personal kind; insomnia, gambling addiction, alcohol abuse, and anger management. You name it, I’ve helped thousands of men connect to their inner power to resolves issues that they thought were unresolvable.
In addition, I’ve helped highly successful men become even more so. Because here’s a secret: The men in this society who are considered the most successful are not free of their own challenges and did not get where they are all by themselves. They were smart enough to know that they needed help. I love this quote by Rona Barrett, “The healthy and strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it.” The most successful businessmen have Executive Coaches or better yet, Hypno Coaches to help sort through the clutter and to decide which balls to keep juggling themselves, which balls to delegate to others, and which to let happily drop and roll away.
They recognize that their self-care is paramount to their success, because without health and strength, they cannot reach their full potential, whether it be with help choosing the healthiest mental diet, healing old emotional wounds that when triggered have been their Achilles heel, or working on physical wellbeing by developing healthy habits to control stress, achieve balance, and encourage strength. In addition, hypnosis is phenomenal for tapping into the other 90% of the mind’s capacity to develop the highest level of life and business strategies and navigate the most challenging of “personnel” issues, whether at work or home, and acquire quite the competitive edge. All of which positively affect their personal and professional bottom line.
So if you’re a man who has been being “tough” and thinking, “I need to do it all by myself; getting help is a sign of weakness,” please put those thoughts down and pick up the phone instead. And if you’re one of those women who is watching her man suffer, pick up the phone for him; many have before you and most have been thrilled that they did it for their man, their families and their future. If you’re anything like me, I want my guy to be happy and healthy for a long time to come.
Lisa Zaccheo, MA, BCH, BC” is the owner, lead hypnotist and hypnosis instructor at Mind Matters Hypnosis Centers in Avon, Guilford and North Branford, CT. She is Board Certified by the National Guild of Hypnotists and has numerous additional certifications in all aspects of hypnosis and the subconscious. In addition, she’s a sought after speaker and high-level Executive Hypno-Coach. For more information, or to schedule a lecture, workshop or appointment, call Mind Matters Hypnosis Center at (860) 693-6448 or visit: MindMattersHypnosis.com.