The Effect of Stress in Men & Women
Stress tends to manifest differently in men and women for a variety of reasons including differences in biological factors, immunity, sex hormones.
According to National Institute of Mental Health, women as twice as likely as men to suffer depression as a result of stress.
The APA wrote a report stating women identify children as a major source of stress. Moreso, because of the multiple roles women undertake in todays world of working, maintaining the home and looking after the children.
Women don’t feel that there’s an off switch to their workload. There is no “knock off” time. Their energy is continually depleted and on demand for their work and their families with little left over for themselves to recharge or unwind.
This report also states that women are more likely than men to react to stressors by feeling nervousness and wanting to cry. They feel a level of helplessness. This increases the chances of weight gain due to comfort and emotional eating.
It leads to eating for convenience and choosing the wrong foods that add very little nutrition to fuel their body with good energy.
It also leads to other addictive outlets like smoking drinking excessive alcohol, overuse of medications and drugs.
Stress Effects in Women
When women feel stressed they tend to seek out support and comfort from friends, family and their partner when they feel stressed.
Women talk about their emotions. They analyse and try to see new perspectives. Women want to understand what the experience is about (hoping to avoid it in the future). They want to be nurtured rather than left alone
Nurturing and being nurtured helps calm women down. Women’s happy hormones kick in when they are being social, talking and sharing.
Women generally prefer not to go through stressful times alone and by talking things through they can get through stress much quicker and easier.
Effects of Stress in Men
Stress is possibly the most important issue in men’s health and it’s not something men take seriously enough. Men don’t like to fail or appear weak. Some men see admission of stress as a sign of weakness. However that is far from the truth.
When you learn about the effects of stress, physically, emotionally and mentally it’s fair to say that it’s essential to take stress seriously and begin to take measure to identify and take action in preventing or reducing it.
Men, produce less levels of oxytocin, which can result in the fight or flight response to stress. That means men tend to bottle up the stress or finding ways to escape their problems altogether.
They distract themselves with projects or being active eg. Playing golf, boxing things that will expend the nervous energy and let go of mental frustration.
Because of the levels of testosterone, men have a stronger stress response than women and may react with higher levels of aggression and more unhealthy coping behaviors. These coping skills can impact their longterm health.
The difference in the coping mechanisms is what leads to higher stress levels in men. Stress can affect a mans emotions, behaviours, cognitive abilities and physical health.
Signs & Symptoms of Stress in Men
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How Men Deal With Stress
Men are more competitive than women in nature. When they are stressed they don’t want to admit it or show any signs of weakness.
Men will generally deal with their stress by shutting down or withdrawing from people. It’s sort of like they’re preserving their energy. They do tend to work harder.
They add more distractions into their life and resort to alcohol, drugs and other stimulates.
Men adopt a “crash and burn” style of coping with stress where they leave work, go home, collapse on the lounge and fall asleep which is contributes to other relationship issues.
Longterm Effects of Stress
Havings some stress in your life is not a serious issue and can usually be resolved by being aware of your stressors and finding ways to manage them.
However, ongoing, chronic stress can give rise to many serious health problems that include:
Mental health problems, such as chronic depression, anxiety, and personality disorders.
Cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, arrhythmias, and heart attacks.
A weakened immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and diseases.
And of course all the symptoms in men and women already mentioned above.
Healthy Ways To Deal With Stress
The effects of stress in men and woman may sound similar with the biggest difference being hormonal.
Because of the hormones the needs men and women have are quite different. Women want to be nurtured, soothed and reassured everything will be ok.
Men want to avoid talking about it. They will get busier, take on more and basically stop when they drop. The tend to go the burnout route.
The best thing you can do as an individual is to recognise the signs and symptoms of stress that show up for you.
The implications and risks to your health are serious. You must learn how to destress and learn about self care. Put things in place to help you eliminate or reduce stress.
If you need some help managing stress click here to book an appointment.