Decompress the Stress

By Christopher Nagy   Women Can Stay Healthier by Managing Self-Care Life moves at a frenetic pace in the 21st-century world. Responsibilities endlessly mount, deadlines looming on the horizon zoom into a short-range focus quickly and it seems like the requirements of daily life are in a constant tug of war with our psyches. It’s no surprise that the American Psychological Association is reporting that stress is on the rise. However, women may be more at risk to higher stress levels than their male counterparts, which – in turn – could lead to more susceptibility to stress-related health issues. Since 2007, the American Psychological Association has conducted its annual Stress in America survey to measure attitudes and perceptions of stress throughout the nation as well as to identify leading causes of stress. Common behaviors used to manage stress and the impact of stress on individual lives. “Among general findings, as is the case every year since the survey began, women reported significantly higher stress levels than men (5.1 vs. 4.4 on a 10-point scale, where 1 is ‘little, or no stress’ and 10 is ‘a great deal of stress’),” the APA reported in its 2017 survey findings. Physical manifestations of stress can range from irritability, depression, and muscle tension to loss of appetite and changes in sex drive or menstrual cycle. Similarly, the causes of stress run the gamut from work and relationships to health issues and personal safety. In the APA 2008 Stress in America survey, the nation’s economy at the time was found to be a great source of stress in the U.S., and women were found to be bearing the brunt of that financial concern. “Women of the boomer generation (aged 44 to 62) and matures (aged 63-plus) are most likely to report the economy as a significant stressor, while women in general rank financial worries above personal health,” the APA reported that year. “Female boomers report increases in stress associated with their job stability and health problems affecting their families. Mature women are reporting dramatic increases in stress associated with health problems affecting their families.” Everyone experiences stress and stress can even be used as a positive motivator to achieve goals; however, when stress becomes chronic or excessive, it becomes more difficult to cope with, according to the Cleveland Clinic. “Perhaps a little more unique to women are the many roles they take on,” according to the clinic’s website. “In today’s society, women’s roles often include family obligations, caregiving for children and/or elderly parents (statistically more likely to be a woman) and work responsibilities as well as other roles. As demands increase to fulfill these roles, women can feel overwhelmed with time pressures and unmet obligations.” The Office on Women’s Health (OWH) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers several tips for women to help manage stress in their lives. These include:
  • Take deep breaths
  • Stretch
  • Write out your thoughts
  • Take time for yourself
  • Meditate
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat right
  • Get moving
  • Try not to deal with stress in unhealthy ways
  • Talk to friends or family members
  • Get help from a professional if you need it
  • Get organized
  • Help others
For more information on how to manage stress, visit the OWH website at womenshealth.gov or call the OWH helpline at (800) 994-9662.

By Christopher Nagy

 

Women Can Stay Healthier by Managing Self-Care

Life moves at a frenetic pace in the 21st-century world.

Responsibilities endlessly mount, deadlines looming on the horizon zoom into a short-range focus quickly and it seems like the requirements of daily life are in a constant tug of war with our psyches. It’s no surprise that the American Psychological Association is reporting that stress is on the rise.

However, women may be more at risk to higher stress levels than their male counterparts, which – in turn – could lead to more susceptibility to stress-related health issues.

Since 2007, the American Psychological Association has conducted its annual Stress in America survey to measure attitudes and perceptions of stress throughout the nation as well as to identify leading causes of stress. Common behaviors used to manage stress and the impact of stress on individual lives.

“Among general findings, as is the case every year since the survey began, women reported significantly higher stress levels than men (5.1 vs. 4.4 on a 10-point scale, where 1 is ‘little, or no stress’ and 10 is ‘a great deal of stress’),” the APA reported in its 2017 survey findings.

Physical manifestations of stress can range from irritability, depression, and muscle tension to loss of appetite and changes in sex drive or menstrual cycle. Similarly, the causes of stress run the gamut from work and relationships to health issues and personal safety. In the APA 2008 Stress in America survey, the nation’s economy at the time was found to be a great source of stress in the U.S., and women were found to be bearing the brunt of that financial concern.

“Women of the boomer generation (aged 44 to 62) and matures (aged 63-plus) are most likely to report the economy as a significant stressor, while women in general rank financial worries above personal health,” the APA reported that year. “Female boomers report increases in stress associated with their job stability and health problems affecting their families. Mature women are reporting dramatic increases in stress associated with health problems affecting their families.”

Everyone experiences stress and stress can even be used as a positive motivator to achieve goals; however, when stress becomes chronic or excessive, it becomes more difficult to cope with, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

“Perhaps a little more unique to women are the many roles they take on,” according to the clinic’s website. “In today’s society, women’s roles often include family obligations, caregiving for children and/or elderly parents (statistically more likely to be a woman) and work responsibilities as well as other roles. As demands increase to fulfill these roles, women can feel overwhelmed with time pressures and unmet obligations.”

The Office on Women’s Health (OWH) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers several tips for women to help manage stress in their lives. These include:

  • Take deep breaths
  • Stretch
  • Write out your thoughts
  • Take time for yourself
  • Meditate
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat right
  • Get moving
  • Try not to deal with stress in unhealthy ways
  • Talk to friends or family members
  • Get help from a professional if you need it
  • Get organized
  • Help others

For more information on how to manage stress, visit the OWH website at womenshealth.gov or call the OWH helpline at (800) 994-9662.

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