Jamie Neely, DC
In order to achieve success, men can become outwardly aggressive in their drive for their goals and often this aggression leads to ill health both physical and mental. It is well documented that extreme emotional states such as aggression, anxiety, or depression negatively affect a man's health and can create myriad problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
When was the last time you heard one of the guys say, “I’m having the fellas over this weekend to eat chili and talk about our feelings?”
The answer probably is: “Not often enough.” Instead, it seems that men tend to ignore their emotions. According to David Jessel, author of the best-selling book Brain Sex (Delta Publishing, 1992), “Men are more prepared than women to make sacrifices of their own time, pleasure, relaxation, health, safety, or emotions.”
In order to achieve success, men can become outwardly aggressive in their drive for their goals and often this aggression leads to ill health–physical and mental. It is well documented that extreme emotional states such as aggression, anxiety, or depression negatively affect a man’s health and can create myriad problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. In fact, the damage caused by stress can be detected as quickly as within the hour after the stressful event occurred, when abnormal heartbeat patterns and a damaging decrease in the heart’s blood flow are evident.
The World Health Organization continues to list cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke) as the primary cause of preventable death–with men being affected more than women. Based on a 25-year prospective study conducted in Roseto, Pennsylvania, and completed in 1992, co-author Stewart Wolf, MD, suggests that emotional health and a sense of community has a greater impact on heart disease than smoking and a diet high in saturated (animal) fat combined. Wolf states, “People are nourished by people.” Stress has a global negative effect on men’s health and emotional skills are the best defence against these damaging effects.
Becoming emotionally skilled is a continual learning process. Here are a couple of ideas to help you begin. As with any skill, having a friend or personal coach keep you on track will accelerate your mastery and lead you to greater fulfillment.
Notice your emotions rather than suppressing them. Ask yourself, “What specifically about this person or event is bothering me?” Continue to ask the question until you clearly know what is upsetting you. For example, instead of stopping at “They hurt my feelings,” explore what feelings were “hurt.” Was it a sense of security? Are you feeling worthless or taken for granted? Getting to the bottom of it will help to clear your emotions and allow healing to take place.
Nature loves balance (equal ups and downs) and so do your mind and body. When you balance your emotions you will reduce your stress level dramatically. Ask yourself where the opposite emotion is happening in your life. For example, if someone put you “down,” where in your other areas of life are you being put “up”? Continue until you have just as many ups as downs.
From health professionals to Fortune 500 CEOs, experts agree that emotional health is important for success in life. Men would do well to channel their urge for success toward emotional health and develop the ability to notice, process, and master their emotional well-being. It is one of the most significant steps toward having a healthy, rich, and fulfilling life.