Thrill-seeking behaviours can normally mask a lack of interest or structure in a person’s life. When an individual has what they consider to be an uninteresting life, they may engage in risk-taking behaviours so they see themselves as more interesting or special.

Identification with a persona is something which men tend to resonate with and is perpetuated in popular culture. In films we often see male main characters categorised as the athlete, superhero or class clown. Identifying with a specific persona sometimes helps to give someone purpose but without this, men are more likely to promote risky, behaviours in an effort to make their lives more interesting.

How it manifests

Risk-taking can manifest itself in many ways:

  • Impulsivity: You may act on impulse and not take enough time to rationalise an action.
  • Violence and other extreme behaviours: You may engage in violent, anti-social or bravado-associated behaviour, such as driving really fast, gambling or even getting into fights.
  • Lack of concern for safety: You may cause significant changes to other people’s lives or put yours or other people’s lives in danger in search of that dopamine kick.

Top tips

There’s a fine line when it comes to engaging in risky behaviours. While at the time they can feel fun or exciting, if experienced repeatedly or in extreme measures, they can be damaging to your life and the lives of others.

Find out ways to manage these impulses below:

Know your triggers
Consider your triggers and the situations that tempt you into engaging in risky behaviours, whether this is seeing a betting advert, being with a certain group of friends or consuming alcohol. Being aware of your triggers and recognising when these impulses may arise is the first step in managing this symptom.

Distract yourself when you feel triggered
Use distraction techniques such as going for a walk or playing a video game to create space between your thought and action. This will help to reduce the likelihood of you engaging in risky behaviours as you’ll have more time to rationalise the thought or impulse.

Structure and routine
Implement a healthy structure and routine into your life and stick to it. A healthy routine may look different to different people, but the most important thing is that it’s healthy. This will act as a metaphorical barrier between you and the risky behaviour.

When to see a therapist  

It’s time to see a therapist when you find it hard to recognise these behaviours as negative or harmful, or if other people are recognising that this behaviour is damaging. If people around you are worried that you are being a danger to yourself or somebody else, or if you’re unable to consider the consequences of your actions, it’s important to seek qualified help.

"It can be hard to have an open and honest conversation with someone who is emotionally invested, like a family member or partner; that’s why I think therapy works and why it worked so well for me. A lot of men are scared to go to therapy and open up but taking that step can change a life.

"Therapy was an epiphany moment that made me realise I didn’t have to live like this anymore and taught me ways to understand my feelings."

Dan, 37