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Women and Stress: Six Steps to Free You From It's Effects

 By: Victoria Loveland Coen 


women and stressThe morning begins, innocently enough, perhaps the sun is shinning. You may not be as rested as you’d like, but, with a little coffee, you’ll make it through the day just fine. And then it starts. Your older child refuses to get out of bed. The coffee maker overflows onto the floor. Your husband had to leave for work early, leaving you to handle the baby and make the lunches and get the kids off to school. Just then, the baby starts screaming. She’s broken out in an unexplained rash. You’ll have to call in sick for the third time this month. To add insult to injury, on the way to the doctor’s office, there’s an unbelievable traffic jam.


Like a Boa Constrictor, it creeps up slowly but steadily. Wrapping itself around your body, it begins to squeeze harder and harder until you feel you’ll pop! Stress feels like that sometimes. One stressful moment is added to the next until, before long, you feel so constricted by the pressure, you completely lose control. Before you know it, you’re yelling, or saying things you don’t mean, or clutching a glass until it breaks, or driving unsafely.

"Well everyone has stress," you rationalize "that’s just part of life." That maybe true. But, unless you learn to cope with stress and find your inner "release valve" your mental and physical health will be seriously undermined. The National Women’s Health Information Center reports that "…stress triggers changes in our bodies and make us more likely to get sick." It can also make existing conditions worse, including: sleeping disorders, headaches, intestinal irregularity, eating disorders, asthma, skin problems, infertility, anxiety and depression, among other conditions.

Are women more prone to stress than men? Well actually, research suggests that women have an advantage over men in that we have a "built-in hormonal stress barrier (Oxytocin) that helps to calm us down in part by reducing the effects of the stress hormone, cortisol. It all works great when our systems are working in optimum order. However, this hormone can be interfered with by other hormonal fluctuations such as our menstrual cycle, menopause, certain medications, and other factors, rendering the calming hormone ineffective.

We apparently have another advantage on our side. According to the most recent research, women have very different methods for coping with stress than men. Studies done at UCLA by Shelley Taylor, PhD and colleagues, suggest that the "fight-or-flight" response to stress is more common among men than women. Taylor posits that women, through evolutionary necessity, became the primary caregivers and that this fact has caused us to develop more of a "tend-and-befriend" response to stress. That hormone, Oxytocin, again comes into play as it promotes the female behaviors of caring and nurturing babies and children. As for the "befriending" aspect of the equation, Taylor’s research (and probably your own as well) suggests that females seek out social support when stressed.

Coming Up: Stress and Women #2

About the Author:

Victoria Loveland-Coen is a life coach and an author (The Baby Bonding Book; The New Mommy Coupon Book.) She is also a mother-of-twins and founder of, a site that combines free parenting tips and articles with creative baby shower gift baskets that feature organic products for baby and nurturing products for mama. Victoria is committed to helping relieve a new mom’s stress and thereby enhancing the joy of parenthood.

Article Source:

Webpage by Paul Susic MA Licensed Psychologist    Ph.D Candidate 

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