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Women and Stress: Effects and Tips

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January 22, 2020 | Published by


Research shows women and men react differently to stress, both physical or mental. Moreover, their attempts and perception of their abilities to manage stress are done very differently.

Women are more likely to report physical symptoms correlated with stress, and that they do a better job connecting with other individuals in their lives. During times of stress these connections are vital to women’s stress management strategies.1

While the levels of stress between men and women may not vary drastically, women are more likely to report that their stress levels are increasing. In addition, women are considerably more likely to report both physical and emotional symptoms of stress. Additionally, there appears to be variations between the differences in the ways that single and married women experience stress.1

Stress facts for women1

  •  Women are more inclined than men to report having a great deal of stress (28 percent vs. 20 percent).
  • Nearly half of all women surveyed said their stress has escalated over the past five years, compared to only 4 in 10 men.
  • Women are more likely to report that money and the economy are significant sources of stress, while men are far more likely to cite that work is a significant source of stress.
  • Women are more prone to report physical and emotional symptoms of stress than men. Examples include headaches, urges to cry, or having had an upset stomach or indigestion.
  • Married women report greater levels of stress than single women, with one-third reporting that they have experienced a high level of stress in the past month compared with one in five of single women. Likewise, significantly more married women report that their stress levels had heightened over the past five years. Additionally, single women are more likely than married women to say they feel they are doing an adequate job managing their stress.
  • 84 percent of women are likely to say that having a good relationship with their family is important to them versus 74 percent of men.
  • 69 percent of women report that having a good relationship with their friends is important to them, opposed to 62 percent of men.

Evidence shows that men’s and women’s perceptions of their ability to succeed in areas that are important to their well-being are incongruous with the importance they place on these behaviors. Even more than women, men report less likelihood of success in these areas.

Tips for Managing Stress

 Snack healthily

Women are more likely than men to report that they use eating as a way of handling stress. While this can lean towards unhealthy food choices or overeating1, you can actually have better long-term effects by snacking on an apple or celery rather than chips or a candy bar.2

Drink water

It’s easy to succumb to sugary caffeinated drinks or alcohol when you’re stressed out, but hydrating actually does a better job to fight off the negative effects stress.2

Get organized

If you feel like you have too much on your plate, try making a list of everything you have that is overwhelming or worrying you, then prioritize this list based on your needs and how realistically you can accomplish them. This can help you achieve an improved sense of control. 2

Take a break

Just taking a 20-minute break here and there can help you gain a new perspective on your stressors and help you tackle them with new vigor. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, try reading, watching some television, or just relaxing to some music for a bit.2

Get in touch with a friend

Often, our issues get bigger when they are stuck in our heads. If you’re feeling stressed out, consider talking things over with a friend or family member. They may be able to help you discover new solutions and reframe problems so you can better handle them.2

Men and women generally handle stress differently, but it’s important to find stress relief that works for you. Don’t feel afraid to try different things until you find a solution that makes sense.

References:

  1. Gender and Stress. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2010/gender-stress
  2. Rinkunas, S. 6 Ways to Manage Stress. Women’s Health. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a19930858/stress-management-0/

 


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