Stress affects your physical and emotional well-being worse than you think. He threatens with many problems: from diseases of the gastrointestinal tract to heart attacks. 75–90% of initial visits to a doctor are due to stress. And the female body is especially sensitive to stress.
Women react to stress differently from men. Although the sex hormones and neurochemical processes of the fairer sex to some extent protect against stress, women are more susceptible to its physical and emotional effects. Women do not run away from stress and do not struggle with it, but survive it for a long time.
How stress affects women
The natural anti-stress hormone oxytocin is produced in women during childbirth, breastfeeding, and in both sexes during orgasm. So in this regard, the beautiful half of humanity wins. However, women need much more oxytocin than men to maintain their emotional health.
According to Dr. Paul Rosch, emeritus vice president of the International Stress Management Association, women are less affected by abstinence and also experience more stress in relationships than men.
According to experts from the American Academy of Family Physicians, stress is an expression of the natural instinct for self-preservation. And while it can alert a woman to imminent danger, such as a fast-approaching car, prolonged stress can negatively impact physical and emotional health.
Our stress response has been carefully honed over millions of years as a defense mechanism. And this was wonderful for our ancestors who had to run away from saber-toothed tigers. The tragedy is that today there are no tigers, but there are a bunch of annoying things like traffic jams, to which our unfortunate body reacts as in the old days, earning hypertension, stroke, and ulcers.
What diseases can you earn due to stress?
According to the American Stress Institute, 75–90% of initial medical appointments are complaints of stress-related health problems. The effects of stress can manifest in many ways, from headaches to irritable bowel syndrome.
Stress can be different, but if you are simultaneously worried about work, children, neighbors, and your marriage, this is no longer a joke. In women, severe stress can lead to menstrual irregularities or, for example, unexpected hair loss.
Here are some more reactions of the body to stress:
Eating disorders. Anorexia and bulimia are 10 times more common in women than in men, and this is most likely related to stress levels. Like depression, these disorders arise from a lack of serotonin and are often treated with antidepressants that increase the production of the hormone of happiness.
Stomach ache. Stress makes you pounce on unhealthy and “comfortable” foods that are high in calories and easy to prepare. Another case: due to stress, you cannot eat anything at all. The main stress-related disorders are cramps, bloating, heartburn, and irritable bowel syndrome. Depending on whether you are eating stress or, on the contrary, starving, you gain or lose weight.
Skin reactions. Stress can exacerbate existing medical conditions, causing itchy rashes or blemishes.
Emotional Disorders. Stress can lead to persistent bad moods, irritability, or more serious mental problems like depression. Women are better at hiding anger than men because they have more brain areas responsible for such emotions, but the fair sex is twice as likely to be depressed. The effects of stress on emotional well-being in women can range from postpartum depression to depression during menopause.
Sleep problems. Women who are under stress often have trouble falling asleep or sleep too lightly. This is especially bad, as sound, healthy sleep helps reduce the negative effects of stress.
Difficulty concentrating. Stress makes it difficult to concentrate and effectively cope with work and household chores. If stress is caused by problems at work, and then it interferes with work, then a vicious circle occurs.
Heart diseases. Stress negatively affects the cardiovascular system, increases blood pressure, and leads to heart attacks and strokes.
Decreased immunity. One of the most challenging physical responses to stress is a decrease in the body’s ability to fight disease, be it the common cold or chronic illness.
Cancer. Some scientists believe there is a link between stress and breast and ovarian cancer. So, it was found that the risk of developing breast cancer was 62% higher in women who experienced more than one major event, such as divorce or the death of a spouse.
How to reduce stress levels
A study presented at a recent meeting of the Western Psychological Association found that 25% of your happiness depends on how well you deal with stress. And the most important strategy in stress management was called planning or anticipating what might upset you and using stress-relieving techniques. And these techniques are as old as the world.
Start eating right
Avoid unhealthy food, eat a balanced diet. So you will improve your physical condition, and then emotional.
Take time to exercise
Exercise is a phenomenal way to deal with stress and depression. Studies show that exercise improves mood and promotes the production of endorphins, natural substances that improve emotional well-being.
Find ways to relax
Meet family and friends with whom you enjoy talking. Think back to your past hobbies. For example, knitting and weaving lace can reduce the effects of stress. Yoga, meditation, and tai chi are also successful in combating stress.
If you feel like you’re under constant stress, be sure to learn to manage it. Learn new techniques, see a doctor, do not leave everything as it is until constant experiences have had too strong an effect on your body.