It feels like we have all had a crash course in mental health issues recently. There has been a stigma surrounding anxiety and other common issues for a very long time, particularly when it comes to us guys.
There was this misconception that anxiety was a sign of weakness, that it was something that you should not talk about, and that it could be resolved by simply pulling yourself together…
In short, mental health issues happened to other people.
It is an excellent thing that we all have a better understanding of anxiety and mental health these days.
However, there is still a big gap between being better prepared to support a friend or family member who is struggling and recognizing that these issues can have a real impact on our lives and our bodies.
The truth of the matter is that mental health needs to be worked on regularly, especially as we get older.
One of the most popular analogies right now is that looking after your mental health is similar to taking your car in for its annual check and tune-up.
The more you understand how your mental health works and how it is connected to almost everything else, the better you can improve it and keep it in good shape.
With that in mind, it makes perfect sense that many men may be wondering how anxiety could impact their body and their testosterone levels. Let’s break it down.
What Is Anxiety?
First of all, let’s start by addressing a fundamental fact. Anxiety is a widespread issue; in fact, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States.
It’s estimated that 40 million US adults suffer from an anxiety disorder, which translates to 18.1% every year.
The simple definition given by the American Psychological Association is that “anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.”
But we all know that mental health is a little more complicated than a one-sentence summary.
Anxiety is your body’s response to a perceived threat. In heightened situations where you feel in danger, your body starts working overtime, which is where that fight-or-flight response can come into play.
In many ways, fight-or-flight is an old animal instinct that would help someone run or hide from or attack a predator.
The threats are a little different these days, but the physical response is the same. And when you have an anxiety disorder, you have this anxiety response at a damaging frequency.
What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety?
If you have persistent anxiety, you will notice that you are feeling on edge and restless with increasing regularity.
You may see that you find it very difficult to concentrate on any one task and that having more than one task to complete becomes overwhelmingly complex.
You may see that you are more irritable than usual and that your sleep becomes affected.
Specifically, you may struggle to fall asleep due to worry or intrusive thoughts, and you may struggle to stay asleep once you finally drift off.
One of the most significant symptoms of anxiety is that concerns become unmanageable. There is a sense of spiraling that one concern will lead to another and another until you can’t focus on anything else.
Are There Different Types Of Anxiety?
Anxiety is one of those terms that can be used to describe several more specific mental health conditions, and it is also a symptom of others. For example, anxiety may be a component of a more specific phobia, such as agoraphobia.
This may mean that you have a fear of leaving home, but it can also mean that you have a fear of entering spaces from which there is no obvious form of escape.
This could be from elevators to shopping malls where you cannot find the exit.
Social anxiety is also widespread and can be connected to a fear of being around other people or intimacy.
Many people will either have experienced or know someone who has experienced a panic attack.
Panic disorders are sudden and intense and come with various physical issues such as dizziness, shortness of breath, confusion, and shaking.
Anxiety and panic disorders are very strongly connected. You may also be suffering from a generalized anxiety disorder, which is when you are suffering from a heightened state of anxiety for a prolonged period.
This is very common, and it is not always clear what the precise cause for the concern is.
Why Do People Suffer From Anxiety?
There are a whole range of different reasons why someone may suffer from anxiety, which is why it is so common.
You may be more likely to develop anxiety issues if you have a family history, but there is no guarantee that you will inherit it.
It can be a matter of brain chemistry if there is an issue with your brain’s electrical signals or chemical balance.
Anxiety can result from a medical issue or treatment, whether that is through related stress or medication, and people going through withdrawal from a drug dependency may well develop anxiety.
Something that has become increasingly better understood during the pandemic is that anxiety is often the result of environmental stressors in your life.
If you are having problems in your relationship or your family or struggling with something at work, these issues can build to the point that they become unbearable.
Anxiety is also often the result of a traumatic event, with triggers activating that fight-or-flight response.
How Can Anxiety Affect My Body?
As you might expect, anxiety brings a tremendous amount of stress with it. While a lot of the focus on what that stress is doing is understandably on the psychological end of the spectrum, there are clear impacts on your physical health.
Let’s start with exhaustion. Your body is not built to be handling this amount of anxiety constantly, and it will leave you feeling drained, particularly if you are having trouble sleeping.
You may start to notice aches and pains in your muscles and joints as your body may tense in response to the anxiety.
Your blood pressure may be raised, and you may notice that you develop stomach issues such as diarrhoea and nausea. Headaches may also occur, and you may see heart palpitations.
How Can Anxiety Affect Testosterone Levels?
With anxiety causing such a range of different stressful issues in your body, it is hardly surprising that it has also been linked to lower testosterone levels.
Low testosterone and anxiety are linked, as stress can reduce the levels of testosterone in your body, as can exhaustion.
When you are stressed and exhausted, you start to lose track of the things that can help you feel better and which will improve your overall health, such as exercise and sleeping properly.
Indeed, it can be these side effects of anxiety and stress that can start to diminish your testosterone levels, such as eating poorly, putting on weight, and neglecting your rest.
Can Supplements Help To Improve My Testosterone Levels?
There are plenty of all-natural ingredients that can help reduce stress, convert fat, and improve endurance, but they are not always that easy to incorporate into your daily diet.
We talked about how stress and anxiety can cause lower testosterone production rates. It can be a vicious cycle as your body will continue to fall into unhealthier habits and convert energy to fat.
You have probably heard of fenugreek, which has been used for over 6,000 years as a natural health remedy. It can boost your energy and stamina and give your libido and sexual function a boost.
Sexual dysfunction is a widespread component of anxiety, and giving yourself a boost in the bedroom could help you feel more like yourself.
Something like Panax Ginseng is another centuries-old favorite, an incredible antioxidant that has also been shown to boost energy levels and improve your sex drive.
You can find testosterone boosting qualities in everything from green tea to garlic.
Still, you should also consider whether you are getting enough vitamin D (chances are you probably are not) and B vitamins.
We know how busy you are, and we know that you probably do not have enough time to figure out how to incorporate absolutely everything you need into your regular diet.
Supplements are there to give you a boost and to make things easier for you.
Anxiety and stress can impact so many different areas, and low testosterone can be similarly far-reaching in its effects.
We all need to be taking steps towards looking after our bodies and our mental health, and getting into a healthy routine is a significant first step.