Reams of articles and books have been written on stress management, detailing how to reduce or eliminate it from your life, but I think many of them are overrated.
Long-term stress—for example, being on red alert for weeks or months at a time due to a high-pressure work project—is hell on your system. But short-term stress—those bursts of adrenaline we get in situations when we need to spring into action—is an essential part of life. Men need stress to live. Every successful man in history—from Sir Isaac Newton to Steve Jobs—faced stressful situations in which the outcome was in doubt. Many of them faced extreme stress. It’s part of what made them admirable.
And as evil as stress is made out to be in our culture, the fact is that we like stress. Most of our leisure activities—from skiing to mountain biking to watching sports to roller coasters to first-person-shooter video gaming—involve deliberately exposing ourselves to controlled, short-term forms of stress. For the most part, short-term stress is fun.
It’s even good for you: studies indicate that people who have a robust short-term stress response—a pounding heart, a sweaty brow, rapid breathing—heal better after surgery or vaccination, and they may respond better to cancer treatment. Exercise and sex—which are unequivocally good for you—both stimulate a hormonal response similar to what happens when you get charged by an angry pit bull.
One major key to conquering the bad kind of stress—the chronic version that keeps us up at night, distracts us from the things we enjoy most in life, and eats at our gut when we’re trying to relax—is not so much to avoid it altogether but to reframe the way you think about it.
Sound abstract? Let me explain.
All of us have gone through busy periods in which our careers or families (or both) are demanding a lot of us: a big project is due, the boss is breathing down your neck, the house needs a new roof, your mother needs help at home, your son is starting in a playoff game, your wife is asking for a well-deserved night out. (A friend of mine recently joked that in times like these he feels as if every email in his inbox says “Dear Jack: Please do everything. Love, Everyone.”)
Sometimes, those intense periods can make you want to crawl under a rock, leading you to drop the ball under pressure: the project is substandard, you miss the big game, and you fail to make dinner reservations—so you wind up in the doghouse, at work and at home. First you flail, then you fail. Other times, those intense periods have the opposite effect. Like a QB down by a field goal with seconds to play, you cowboy up and handle it, one task at a time, until you’re on the other side of all that stress, with all your obligations signed, sealed, and delivered. And you feel like a superhero.
Remember your 40s? I certainly do, and although I’m approaching the middle of my fifth decade, I’m feeling just as good as I did a decade ago. I credit this well-being with recognizing I needed to make some lifestyle adjustments as I became more chronologically established in middle age. So here are 11 things I’m doing for my health in my 50s that I wasn’t doing in my 40s…and why. Read More
What is human growth hormone?
HGH is a hormone and a protein produced in the pituitary gland. Although it has a role in maintaining healthy tissue overall, it is probably best known for assisting in increasing muscle mass and bone density and an ability to promote cell growth and regeneration by activating receptors to initiate the process. Human growth hormone also can boost libido, slow the progression of age-related degenerative diseases, and help support a sense of well-being. Read More
Taking a probiotic supplement is one of the best things you can do for your body. The special microorganisms that we call beneficial bacteria dwell in your gut (intestinal tract) where they help maintain a healthful, balanced environment that is critical for overall health.
Although you can get probiotics from fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchee—and you should enjoy these foods–many men find that taking a high-quality probiotic supplement makes the most sense.
Now, I usually recommend whole foods for better health. So why in this case do I recommend a supplement? Read More
I’ve talked about BPA before, a chemical found mainly in plastics that poses a big threat to your hormones and therefore your masculinity. Recently, information has surfaced about another group of chemicals—also found in plastics and personal health care products, among other places—that may be even worse than BPA and can massively affect your health.
“Phthalates” are even more of an insult to your system than they are to my spell- checker. They belong to the same class of pollutants as BPA, called “endocrine disrupting chemicals” (EDCs). And although phthalates have been studied extensively (and declared “safe,” predictably, by interested parties), the true extent of the dangers they present is only now coming to light. Read More