Do Men And Women Experience Stress Differently
Contrary to popular belief that women are more stressed-out and anxious than men, doctors say that there is no clear evidence that there is a gender difference when it comes to stress. I do think that women may be more likely to seek out help, says Dr. Gupta.
Yet the APA survey suggests that women are more likely to report feeling stressed than are men. Women say they have experienced a slight increase in their stress levels in the past year: On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being little or no stress and 10 being a great deal of stress, women went from 5.0 in 2016 to 5.1 in 2017 in contrast, mens stress dipped, from 4.6 in 2016 to 4.4 in 2017. The survey also found that men and women get stressed out by different things. Women are likelier to say they feel stress about hate crimes, wars and conflicts, and terrorism than men do.
Whatever symptoms of stress youre feeling or what may be causing them, its important to find stress relief to prevent both short- and long-term health problems related to stress. Find out how to do that here.
Physical Effects Of Stress
ByMaya Tatareva | Submitted On April 26, 2009
Any medical person will not deny that stress has huge impact on us. Literally all internal body systems are affected.
Maybe you have wondered what exactly happens in your body when you feel stressed. What are the exact mechanics by which stress impacts the human body? What is it that makes stress so powerful?
First of all you have to understand that all physical effects of stress are due to the stress impact on your body’s hormone balance.
Hormones are chemicals released by your own body which are produced to impact other parts of it. They are often called “messengers” that transport information from one cell to another. Just small quantities of hormones can dramatically impact the entire cells metabolism.
Basically stress makes your body produce two hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, which are the so called stress hormones. Their purpose is to suppress any processes in the body with the only goal to deliver enough energy necessary to find out a solution of the problem you face.
Thus if you do not give your body the possibility to recover after a stressful period in your life, stress will slowly exhaust all strength sources in it. All known physical effects of stress come as a consequence of the misbalanced hormone equilibrium of your body.
Emotional effectsStress causes the so called emotional tensions which have to be either relieved or transformed. The most common examples are anger and sorrow.
Is It Possible To Get Cancer From Stress Or To Die From It
While its tough to link stress directly to a specific disease, we know that stress does contribute to serious illness, says Dossett. Forty percent of cancers are preventable with changes in lifestyle. Since stress makes you more likely to smoke, drink excessively, and eat in ways that cause obesity, its fair to say that there is a link between stress and disease, she says.
Maybe its no accident that most heart attacks occur on Monday the most stressful day of the week.
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Gray Hair The Urge To Pee A Sharpened Sense Of Smell And Many More
The stress doesnt have to be major to do it: Frederick Chen, MD, chief of family medicine at Harborview Medical Center and professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, says even small stressors aggravating emails, subtweets have an effect.
The small stresses of everyday life can cause daily, low-level stress that activates stress hormones in the body, which ultimately affects how people feel, he says. The interesting thing is that we dont always know why people respond in the way they do.
Often, a long-term build-up of these minor stresses when the body doesnt go back to normal causes people to experience weird symptoms. Acute stress tends not to have an effect on health, says Sharon Bergquist, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Its the activation of chronic stress when people dont go back to their baseline of rest and recovery, that tends to affect people.
Here are some of the most unusual things stress can cause in the body:
When Should I See My Doctor
If you or someone close to you is experiencing an emergency, or is at risk of immediate harm, call triple zero . To talk to someone now, call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
If you have tried relaxation techniques and reaching out to someone you trust, but still feel overwhelmed, you can check in with your doctor or speak with a mental health professional.
Stress is not itself a diagnosis but rather a clue that something else is going on. Chronic stress could be a sign of depression, anxiety or a symptom of another mental health condition. GPs and psychologists are trained to know how to recognise when stress is a sign that you need extra support, so dont hesitate to reach out for advice.
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Your Response To Stress
Your attitude, personality and approach to life will influence how you respond to stress. Factors that play a part include:
- How you think about a problem
- How anxious you feel generally
- How severely the problem affects you
- Whether you have experienced anything like this before
- Whether you can control what is happening
- How long the event affects you
- How important the outcome is to you
- The different ways a person copes with difficult situations
- Your life experiences and life history
- Your self-esteem
- Whether you have people around who can provide support.
How To Release Stress From The Body
Every person deals with and holds stress differently where you hold yours depends on how your body reacts to the factors that cause stress in the first placewhether that is tightness, stiff joints, tension, trauma, fears, worries, or other symptoms.
As Jill explains: Activating the being and intuitive side of our brain helps calm and support our more busy, thinking side. We talk ourselves into some pretty illusionary scenarios based on old, unfinished situations, tension, and fear. To connect with our intuitive side, we begin by asking ourselves to pay more attention to our internal dialogue, and to our tightness. Closed mind, closed body. I regularly encourage my clients to trust in their inner awareness and ability to self-heal. From this place, we begin to notice our bodys signs.
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What Are The Signs Of Stress
How you might feel
If the stress is long-lasting, you may notice your sleep and memory are affected, your eating habits change, or you feel less inclined to exercise.
Some research has also linked long-term stress to gastrointestinal conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or stomach ulcers, as well as conditions like cardiovascular disease.
Stress Effects On The Body
Stress affects all systems of the body including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, and reproductive systems.
Stress effects on the body.
Our bodies are well equipped to handle stress in small doses, but when that stress becomes long-term or chronic, it can have serious effects on your body.
When the body is stressed, muscles tense up. Muscle tension is almost a reflex reaction to stressthe bodys way of guarding against injury and pain.
With sudden onset stress, the muscles tense up all at once, and then release their tension when the stress passes. causes the muscles in the body to be in a more or less constant state of guardedness. When muscles are taut and tense for long periods of time, this may trigger other reactions of the body and even promote stress-related disorders.
For example, both tension-type headache and migraine headache are associated with chronic muscle tension in the area of the shoulders, neck and head. Musculoskeletal pain in the low back and upper extremities has also been linked to stress, especially job stress.
Relaxation techniques and other stress-relieving activities and therapies have been shown to effectively reduce muscle tension, decrease the incidence of certain stress-related disorders, such as headache, and increase a sense of well-being. For those who develop chronic pain conditions, stress-relieving activities have been shown to improve mood and daily function.
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Learn To Regulate Your Stress Response
Susan Blum, functional medicine doctor, member of the Medical Advisory Board for The Dr. Oz Show, and author of the best-selling book The Immune System Recovery Plan, explains how to get a handle on your stress reaction through mind-body techniques.
Your stress system is the physiological response of your body to stress, which includes stress hormones and your autonomic nervous system. This system can cause an imbalance in your immune system and cause or worsen an autoimmune disease.
You dont want your stress system to be either always on high or always on low you want it to turn on when you need it and then turn off when you dont.
Most people, by the time I see them, have low-functioning adrenal glands with low levels of cortisol and adrenaline because they have been stressed for so long, not only from their life experiences but also from the emotional and physical stress of their disease.
Maybe you feel that way too, and youre just worn out. The goal is to fix your stress response system so that it regains its resiliency and flexibility.
Your Hair Is Starting To Shed
When stress levels become too much, it’s pretty common for your hair to peace on out. You might notice a bit more shedding, say, when you take a shower. Or, you might experience a more severe form of hair loss called telogen effluvium, Bhanuasli tells me. This can cause noticeably thinner hair all over your scalp. But don’t worry â it can all grow back once you deal with your stress.
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How Can I Prevent Stress
Its not always possible to prevent stress altogether life can be stressful. If you remember that some stress can be positive and motivating, you can aim to find the right balance between productive stress, and an unhelpful level of stress.
Making sure you have time to relax each day will also help prevent a build-up of tension in your body and your mind.
Daily exercise can have many benefits for your overall health and wellbeing, including reducing stress. Something as simple as going for a walk or taking part in a team sport can also improve your mental health, and help prevent feeling stressed.
Spend time learning what triggers your stress and try to understand why this is. Structured problem solving is another form of psychological therapy that can then help prevent your stress from escalating, as you identify ways to solve the problems that trigger your stress.
While preventing stress altogether may not be a realistic goal, you can go a long way towards managing your stress, by recognising what causes your stress and practicing a range of stress-reducing techniques that work for you, and seeking help before you feel overwhelmed.
How Much Stress Is Too Much
Because of the widespread damage stress can cause, its important to know your own limit. But just how much stress is too much differs from person to person. Some people seem to be able to roll with lifes punches, while others tend to crumble in the face of small obstacles or frustrations. Some people even thrive on the excitement of a high-stress lifestyle.
Factors that influence your stress tolerance level include:
Your support network. A strong network of supportive friends and family members is an enormous buffer against stress. When you have people you can count on, lifes pressures dont seem as overwhelming. On the flip side, the lonelier and more isolated you are, the greater your risk of succumbing to stress.
Your sense of control. If you have confidence in yourself and your ability to influence events and persevere through challenges, its easier to take stress in stride. On the other hand, if you believe that you have little control over your lifethat youre at the mercy of your environment and circumstancesstress is more likely to knock you off course.
Your attitude and outlook. The way you look at life and its inevitable challenges makes a huge difference in your ability to handle stress. If youre generally hopeful and optimistic, youll be less vulnerable. Stress-hardy people tend to embrace challenges, have a stronger sense of humor, believe in a higher purpose, and accept change as an inevitable part of life.
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When Should I Talk To A Doctor About Stress
You should seek medical attention if you feel overwhelmed, if you are using drugs or alcohol to cope, or if you have thoughts about hurting yourself. Your primary care provider can help by offering advice, prescribing medicine or referring you to a therapist.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Its natural and normal to be stressed sometimes. But long-term stress can cause physical symptoms, emotional symptoms and unhealthy behaviors. Try relieving and managing stress using a few simple strategies. But if you feel overwhelmed, talk to your doctor.
You Keep Catching Colds
Stress has a way of wearing you down until all your body’s defenses are compromised. This leaves the proverbial door wide open for germs to stroll on in, which is why stressed out folks tend to catch colds more easily. As Dr. Carolyn Dean says in an email to Bustle, “Your resiliency, energy, endurance and your quality of life all depend on your adrenals to properly function.” Reduce your stress, and you should be better able to survive cold season.
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You Look A Little Worn Out
I think we can all agree everyone looks better when they’re relaxed. So, of course, the opposite is true, too. If you’ve been hella stressed, it can start to show up on your face in the form of haggardness and wrinkles. This is due to increased inflammation and free radical production, Schreiber tells me, which “exacerbate the aging process.”
You Can Feel Better Now
It turns out that when you begin to learn these mind-body skills something interesting happens: you start feeling better immediately. Why? Because you are doing something for yourself. You are taking care of you . You are being proactive about your health. This helps you move from a position of hopelessness to one of power and control.
Many, many studies have shown that self-care is healing in and of itself, even without the added benefit of balancing the autonomic nervous system. These techniques work because of the reaction in your nervous system. Realizing that you are the only one who can fix you is a cornerstone of why you will get better.
Another benefit of these techniques is the chance they give you to learn about and understand yourself better.
Using words, drawings, movement, meditation, and visualization helps you become aware of your burdens and stresses and bring them to the surface so you can do something about them.
Knowledge is power, and self-knowledge will guide and anchor you as you explore and understand your body and how it may be responding to different stressors around you. This is very exciting, because it shows that you have the power to improve your health.
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Whats Your Stress Load
Use these questions to rank your overall stress as well as how effectively youre coping with it.
Theyre based on the Perceived Stress Scale the most widely used stress assessment.3
1. In the last month, how often have you been upset because of something that happened unexpectedly?
- Never 0 points
Stiff Neck Or Bad Back It Means More Than You Think
My boss is a pain in the neck.
My co-worker gives me a headache.
“My ex-boyfriend makes me sick to my stomach.”
Often we attempt to push unwanted feelingssuch as irritation, fear, sadnessout of our awareness. We associate such feelings with hopelessness or powerlessness. So, in an effort to blot them, we forcefully engage in denial or repression. We drive them out of our consciousness and deny our emotions. Instead of acknowledging, processing and releasing these unwanted feelings, we bottle them up.
Nathaniel Branden, the founder of The Psychology of Self-Esteem, insists that we must accept all our feelings without censorship we should never disown, deny or repress any part of our experience. He points out that to deny our feelings is to keep ourselves in a perpetual state of internal conflict. The more you distance yourself from your feelings, the more disempowered and out of touch with your true self.
But where do these unwanted feelings go?
Mysterious Aches and Pains
For years, Ive made a study of where people tend to store their unwanted emotions. Certainly, not all body aches or illnesses are psychosomatic. However, as I studied peoples bodily reactions to stress, recurring patterns emerged.
Healthy vs. Unhealthy Repression
As you review the list, ask yourself: Do any of these symptoms sound familiar?
Top 10 Tension Areas for Unwanted Feelings
1. Lower Back: Anger
2. Stomach & Intestines: Fear
3. Heart & Chest: Hurt
4. Headache: Loss of Control
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Should I Get A Stress Test
A stress test doesnt measure the stress in your life, but it does measure the stress on your heart, or rather how hard your heart is working and what it looks like when youre walking very fast on a steep incline on a treadmill. People usually get a stress test when they have multiple risk factors for heart disease, or if theyve been having certain symptoms like chest pain or palpitations, says Haythe.