Men’s guide to good health
Simple ways to feel your best
You want to be fit, sharp, and at the top of your game at every stage of life. That’s why prevention is so important. When you take the time to look after yourself, you can:
– catch health problems early
– reduce your risks with small lifestyle changes
– work with your doctor on a clear plan to maintain good health
What you eat, how you exercise, how you deal with stress, and getting the right preventive screenings and tests are key. This guide is packed with facts, tips from our medical professionals, and simple ways to live healthier.
Preventive tests and exams
You’ve got a lot to do, but don’t let that stop you from maintaining your health. We all know someone who gets his car’s oil changed like clockwork, but he won’t go to the doctor unless he’s really sick. Is that you?
If you have health problems, need help making healthy changes, or take medications, don’t wait until you feel sick to see your doctor. Sometimes the best time to see your doctor is when you’re feeling healthy, because you can catch early signs of disease and make small changes to your lifestyle to stay healthy. Getting a flu shot every year can keep you out of your doctor’s office.
Cool off: 4 simple strategies
Everybody gets angry, but you don’t have to let it burn you — or your relationships, performance, and health.
Out-of-control anger can cause high blood pressure, heart and digestive problems, and headaches. It can also lead to a cycle of emotional and physical abuse in families.
Any technique that relaxes or distracts you — like meditating or taking a long walk — can help you cool off. Here are 4 simple strategies that can help put the fire out.
Slow, deep breathing is one of the quickest and simplest ways to cool off. You can combine this technique with the old standby, “count to 10.” When you notice anger building, take 10 slow, relaxed breaths, so that you have time to think. Make a deliberate effort to speak slowly and softly.
Many people report that spending a little time alone helps them calm down. If you have a high-stress job, give yourself a few minutes of private time to relax when you first get home.
Exercise provides a good natural outlet for stress and anger because it may also release endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that act as natural tranquilizers. This is especially helpful for “hot reactors” — people whose bodies pump too much stress hormones into their bloodstreams.
It’s hard to be angry when you’re laughing. Turn arguments into jokes. One couple drew water pistols when their fights went on too long. Picture the person you’re angry with wearing a clown costume.
Get professional help
Sometimes anger masks depression, anxiety, or other deeper problems. If you or a loved one can’t control anger, seek professional help.
Ask your doctor or a clergyman for a referral to a counselor, or search for a support group near you.
Never tolerate abusive anger. Say to yourself, “I deserve better than this.” For immediate help:
– look in the telephone book under Crisis Intervention Services or Social Service Agencies
– call the National Family Violence Hotline at 1-800-222-2000 (toll free)
Source: Adapted with permission from the Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbook (also published under the title Mind & Body Health Handbook), David Sobel, MD, and Robert Ornstein, PhD, 1996
Channel your mental energy
Many guys don’t like to think of themselves as emotional. But everyone has feelings, and your state of mind affects your performance and overall health.
Even if you have your own way of coping with certain feelings, it never hurts to explore strategies for channeling your mental and emotional energy. It could lead to better results in your career, sex life, and health.
Tame your stress
Sometimes, all it takes is doing something you enjoy every day — a movie, a ballgame, or a hobby — with your family and friends. Other times, you may need to do more to tame your stress:
Get moving. Exercise can relieve tense muscles and boost your energy. When you slow down, you can sharpen your focus.
Keep your cool
Everyone gets mad. The key is how often, how much, and what you do about it. Learn some easy tips for cooling off.
Depression is an illness. And it affects at least 6 million men in the United States. Know the signs to look for.
Insights from the pros
If you’ve got a mental or emotional challenge — your own, your friend’s, or a family member’s — check out our this list of common mental health issues to get facts and treatment options. Get more information about our mental health services.
Reviewed by: Mark Groshek, MD, April 2014
© 2014 Kaiser Permanente