How Stress Impacts Men and Women Differently
Stress is an inevitable part of life but it’s not all bad.
Our bodies are designed to handle and cope with stress. The problem is only when the stress becomes chronic that it really weighs on us in a negative way.
Specifically, the “do-it-all” generation of females (women aged between 35-55) experience significant stress, as they’re likely juggling many professional and personal roles from career woman, mother, caregiver, among others.
Research has shown that men and women experience and respond to stress differently due to various factors listed below and understanding these differences can help you tailor your stress management approaches to lead a more fulfilling life.
- PERCEPTION: a.k.a. how you become aware and interpret your stress
- Everyone experiences stress differently. A situation may be seen as stressful for one person but motivating for another, depending on our past experiences, culture, social norms, beliefs and values.
- Some research suggests women are more likely to internalize stress- leading to higher rates of physical and mental disorders, while men tend to externalize it in the form of aggression or impulsivity.
- The good news is that your perception and reaction to stress can be RETRAINED especially through a practice of mindfulness and mind-body techniques. Grab my book “So Much Better” for practical tips and strategies to start.
- BIOLOGICAL: a.k.a. hormones
- When stress arises, our body releases hormones to respond and manage. Specifically, cortisol and epinephrine (a.k.a. adrenaline) work together to increase our blood pressure and blood sugar levels, to prepare our bodies for possible “fight-or-flight” (or sympathetic nervous system activation).
- When there is increased cortisol/epinephrine present, oxytocin is released from the brain which has a calming effect and increases social bonding. Female hormones like estrogen enhance oxytocin release, while male hormones like testosterone may diminish it.
- This difference in oxytocin levels explain why women tend to seek social support while men tend to avoid or fight back in times of stress.
- The good news is that we can increase our oxytocin levels by connecting with people we love or even just cuddling with your favorite fur baby!
Regardless of your gender, it’s crucial to find ways to deal with chronic stress, as it can have significant physical and mental health implications, including muscle aches, high blood pressure, insomnia, weakened immune system, obesity, hormonal imbalance, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and so on.
The big takeaway is that even though there are many fundamental differences and factors that impact how we deal with stress, we all have the ability to improve our stress resilience and management through various learned skills and practices you can integrate into the day.
These practices are related to increasing awareness through mindfulness practices, regulating our nervous system through mind-body techniques, and supporting your body’s natural healing and detox pathways through a healthy and balanced lifestyle- all things I love helping my clients do!
And I want to hear from you! What do you do when you’re under stress? Do you reach out for help or do you try to “hold it together” and bottle it up inside? E-mail me and let me know!
BTW, if you’re a successful entrepreneur or executive who wants to improve and optimize your overall wellbeing to gain more energy and focus, I want you to book a complimentary wellness audit with me!
During this super practical and personalized call, we’ll take a holistic look at your current wellness regimen and see what’s working and not. We’ll identify what’s possible for the next 90 days and also uncover the obstacle that’s holding you back from living the vibrant life you deserve. You’ll walk away with an action plan that will get you more energy and feeling so much better!
Interested? Just book a consultation here.
Remember, you can CHOOSE to transform your stress into strength and create a life of joy, ease, and purpose like you deserve.
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