People tend to associate anxiety strictly with fear. Fear is only one of the forms anxiety takes, but because of this association anxiety has acquired a stigma for men. Some men believe that having anxiety makes them weak and are reluctant to admit they are experiencing anxiety. They either compensate by denying any sense of vulnerability, leaving trails of women angry that their partners are not in touch with their emotions, or suffer in silence.
Do you find yourself:
Spending the whole night out thinking about approaching a woman but end up going home without even talking to her?
Finally working up the guts to talk to her, but freezing when you do and not knowing what to say... or walked away from a situation and then figured out what you should have said. (said, “I should have said ______!”)
Still often thinking about your ex instead of getting out to date and meet new people?
Still being angry and holding a grudge against an ex months after she’s broken up with you... or wanting to “show her” for breaking up with you?
Got that amazing woman in bed, but could not keep an erection? or prematurely ejaculate?
Dating a great woman, but become preoccupied with jealousy?
If you are stuck on any of these things then you are experiencing anxiety. Anxiety is a very real phenomenon. As you can see below, a picture is worth a thousand words. This is what is going on in a man’s brain during an experience of anxiety.
anterior cingulate gyrus hyperactivity (yellow arrows) and basal ganglia hyperactivity (orange arrow)
This is your brain during approach anxiety
This is your brain on fear
This is your brian on your ex...
This is your brain on anger
This is your brain on control
This is your brain during performance anxiety
Modern research using brain scans is showing is that anxiety is not so much about fear, but is really about being STUCK1, and not able to adapt. Men may get stuck in anger to avoid feeling weak, may hold grudges, be rigid or controlling, get stuck in fear or worry, stuck on a certain thought, stuck in thinking about a past relationship... the list can go on.
Adaptability is a major reason humans have been successful as a species (p. 46). We have to be able to adapt to all the changes life throws at us... things not going our way, adapt to the circumstances of the moment, or fluctuations in the conversation, even the mood of the other person.
To be able to effectively navigate a complex social interaction, like approaching a woman or maintaining a conversation with a woman you’ve just met, you have to be able to shift gears rapidly to keep up with the ebb and flow of such an interaction. When these parts of the brain are overactive, it is like driving a stick shift car stuck in one gear.
When these parts of the brain are healthy we: feel settled, relaxed, open-minded, and flexible, shift your attention from thing to thing, move from idea to idea, and see the options in your life, feel forgiving, have a positive outlook, roll with the ups and downs of life without excessive stress, are open to growth and new experiences in your life.