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Your healing zone:

Stress: A new Prescription


from 'Why stress doesn't exist' by Dr Robert Maurer in the current issue of Men's Health


When highly successful men describe the challenges of life, they seldom use the word 'stress'. Instead they refer to'fear'. Why do they describe it like this? Being 'scared' is the language of children, but they're not afraid to use these words. This isn't a sign of immaturity or weakness, it's honesty, and this is the first step to recovery. Here's how to take it further:


Children never say they're "anxious about monsters under the bed" or "stressed about thunder". Rather, they recognise they can't control the world and acknowledge the resulting anxiety for what it truly is: fear. In order to learn how to handle it better, they engage it by watching scary movies or dressing as monsters at Halloween. Rather than push the emotion out of their minds as adults often do, they learn to understand and, ultimately, handle it.
Successful men realise that the bigger the challenge, the more fear will be involved. Like children, they accept fear as the price of being alive. Other men see fear as a disease or a sign of failure that's to be avoided at all costs. They don't think about it, talk about it, or even admit to having it. As a result they end up depressed, angry or fatigued, or become abusers of food, alcohol and other people. Even worse, they may avoid pursuing their dreams just to avoid the essential emotion fear.
In order to escape the symptoms of fear you must admit to being scared. The more you desire in life, the more fear arises as the body's way of preparing itself for action. It's not a sign of weakness but a signal of success and a call for courage. Assume that whenever you're upset or unhappy there is fear underneath. There are only two basic fears: one is that you're not worthwhile or good enough to get the job, the woman, whatever, and the other is that you're going to lose control, such as in health or financial matters.


But there's another facet to this. The fight or flight alarm system we all carry was designed to sound, create a response, and then shut down. When a deer is scared, it runs. When a lion is frightened, it attacks. But when a man is afraid, he leaves his alarm system on, and the consequences can be deadly.
The healthy human response is, again, to do what children do. When a nightmare or thunderstorm wakes a boy in the middle of the night, he instinctively cries for help or runs to his parents'bed. He's hugged and held, told everything is okay, and eventually he falls back to sleep, comforted. The healthy human response is to reach to others for support. Men who do so live longer, have lower cholesterol, are more likely to endure crises without becoming ill, are more effective leaders and have a greater chance of finding (and keeping) romance. Successful men have friends they can lean on in time of need.


Do you see the logic? The symptoms you're assessing as stress are actually normal, healthy signals from a body faced with a life challenge (positive or negative). Our masculine culture values stoicism, self reliance and independence, but what your body actually craves is to lean on others and draw strength and comfort from them.
So the next time you're feeling stressed, do two things: identify your fear, and find someone, or a team of people, who can help you deal with it. You need emotional support, my friend. Doing these two simple things will give you the strength to tackle the only enemy worth fighting: your fear.