Listen up MEN!
Sadness. Frustration. Anxiety. Anger. Irritability. Confusion. All of these are normal human emotions which we've been taught by our society to suppress. Happiness is NOT the only emotion we should be feeling (contrary to what social media shows us). We don't need to be happy all the time. IT IS OKAY TO FEEL! It's okay to feel sad. It's okay to feel anger. It's okay to feel uncertain and frustrated. Learn how these emotions manifest in your body and your mind. Do you get heart palpitations? Do you get shortness of breath? Do you ruminate at night and can't sleep? Do you feel like crying, but can't or won't? Do you participate in negative self-talking?
First, you must become aware of how you feel. Then you must understand how these feelings manifest in your physical body and your mind through your thoughts. Often, people tend to repress (especially men) their emotions. When we repress for a long time, these emotions eventually find a way out physically and/or mentally. Whether it's through high blood pressure, or muscle tension leading to headaches or constipation, insomnia, racing thoughts, fatigue, or even autoimmune diseases.
I'm not saying that we need to talk more about our feelings or that we need to get angry and punch a wall. I'm saying we need to UNDERSTAND our feelings better and realize the connection with our physical/mental signs and symptoms. Whether it's through talking to a professional, journaling, or even talking to a friend or yourself in the mirror. The point is to write/speak your feelings out loud so that you hear them and understand them better. When you understand, then you can start taking action to correct the negative loops you allow your mind to go through. If you realize every time you're stressed you unintentionally frown and tense your shoulders up, the frowning and shoulder tension can now be used as a sign that you are stressed. Every time you notice yourself frowning/shoulders tensing, you can start taking action to fix the issue. I.e. getting a massage, going to the gym, solving the problem that's bothering you, or whatever you need to do to relieve the underlying cause of the stress. Studies show that just as our physical body is affected by emotions, our emotions are affected by our physical body. Meaning that if you smile more, you will feel happier!
Please note that although this post is addressed to men, it obviously applies to everyone.
How does stress manifest in you? Do you tend to get anxious? Sad? Irritable? Overwhelmed? Do you allow yourself space and time to feel? What do you do to manage your stress?
I'd love to hear your stories!
Personally, I'm so grateful for my network of family and friends, my gym time, my soccer time and my constant trying at achieving a better work-life balance.
It is okay to feel.