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How To Cope With Stress For Men According to Michael Phelps

By Blokes Staff
June 16, 2023

Whether or not they like to admit it, most men have a “there’s no crying in baseball” mentality. In other words, crying or showing emotion is never acceptable behavior for a man. In reality, Mental health and stress can defeat even the toughest of men, but you’ll rarely hear about it because it’s such a silent issue. Don’t believe it? Just ask one of the world’s most famous athletes, Michael Phelps.

Changing course on the mental health conversation

The overwhelming bulk of guys do not have to carry the weight and expectations that come with being called the “greatest Olympian to ever walk the face of the Earth.” In fact, there’s really only one guy who does.

However, that doesn’t mean that the everyday man doesn’t still encounter things in life that can cause stress and mental uneasiness. In fact, there are plenty of things that men stress about. For example:

  1. The pressure of performing at work
  2. Providing for their family
  3. Earning a high-income
  4. Setting a good example for their kids, if they have them
  5. Trying to maintain a chiseled physique

The list goes on and on and on. 

In a recent Business Insider interview, Michael Phelps addressed this issue by stating that, as men, there is a tendency to portray a macho man façade. Over time, all those stressful “life factors” tend to get bottled up. Then, when the time comes emotions can bubble up quicker than dropping Mentos in Diet Coke. It’s understandable, as showing or expressing any type of emotion is often portrayed as weakness in men.

Where Phelps hit home—especially if you’re a dad—is by teaching and mentoring his sons at a young age that:

  •  It’s 2023 and mental health is by far one of the biggest silent issues plaguing men today.
  • You can save yourself in the long run by expressing your thoughts, emotions, and feelings. It’ll help you and potentially someone who might be facing a similar battle.
  • The conversation is changing. It’s no longer frowned upon for men to open up about mental health. You can see this with professional athletes such as Lebron James and Kevin Love.

Alternative stress relievers

Even if you do not want to speak out whenever you’re feeling emotional, there are still plenty of ways that you can cope with mental health issues and stress.

In addition to Phelps’s suggestion of the lion’s breath yoga technique, which sounds like something straight out of a Bruce Lee film, some of the best methods include:

  •  Exercising and weightlifting: Go lift some heavy weights, go for a run, pick up a recreational sport, ride a bike, etc.
  • A diet that excludes processed foods: Eat lean, mean, and clean.
  • Cold plunges: While the science is still up for debate, many people have communicated the benefits and mental clarity of submerging oneself into freezing water, like Wim Hof.
  • Surrounding yourself with a ‘hype team’: This is a group of friends that will always hype you up and never judge.
  •  Avoiding isolation: Isolating yourself can hurt your health and mental well-being As humans, we’re designed to interact and be social, not hide away from the world.
  • Sleeping: An underrated aspect of mental health. Sleep plays such a large role in recovery, more energy, and the ability to be more cognitively aware.

It can’t be overstated how physical health and wellness are two of the most important components that contribute to better mental health. In the great words of Coach Prime, “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. And if you play good, they pay good.”

The greatest gift you can give yourself

That fact is that life is hard. But, just like with any hard task, you should never attempt to complete it 100% alone. Even a super olympian like Michael Phelps has an extensive support team. You just don’t always see it. On top of his friends and family, Phelps works with a staff of trainers, strength coaches, medical staff, and nutritionists to help him excel. The point is that Michael Phelps didn't get to the Olympic stage by doing everything himself and you shouldn’t feel the need to do everything yourself either.

The greatest gift a man can give himself is taking care of his mental health. The daily tasks of just being a man can sometimes seem insurmountable. Regardless of what the critics say, opening up and seeking treatments is a great choice.

The best thing we can do is change the conversation on mental health with men for the better. We’re all in this together.

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