MEN AND STRESS
Why Men are More Susceptible to the Effects of Stress
Stress is often a symptom of unrecognized Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or a trauma response.
Men that have experienced childhood trauma or adverse childhood events, generally don’t have effective self-regulation of emotions. This inability to handle emotions effectively can lead to experiencing stress. To mask their feelings of stress, men often use unhealthy coping strategies such as overeating, work-acholism, gambling, as well as exercise, sex and pornography.
Men and women react to stress differently.
New research shows that when men feel stress, they are much more likely than women to use unhealthy and even dangerous coping strategies.
Men faced with stress tend to become less emotional. A study looked at brain patterns in men and women responding to a stressful situation. The study revealed that the areas of their brain responsible for recognizing facial expressions of emotions were more shut down than usual in stressed out men. The men had a silent and stoic response to stress. Whereas the reaction was the opposite in women; areas responsible for recognizing emotions in others lit up more under stress.
You may have heard of the two types of typically recognized stress-responses: fight or flight. There is another way that is being recognized now by researchers.
Men and women both produce the same amount of the hormones Epinephrine and Cortisol when they are feeling stress. Where we see a difference is in the “love and bonding” hormone, Oxytocin.
Men produce much less Oxytocin than women during stress. This difference leads men under the effects of stress to be critical, argumentative, withdrawn, do activities alone, and offer their partner less support. Women, on the other hand, have the opposite response, which is known as the “tend and befriend” strategy. Women will want to be around friends, be more nurturing, talk more, and process the situation by talking it through, sometimes over and over again.
Rather than dealing with stress as women do by sharing with their friends, men tend to deal with stress through substance abuse or stuffing their feelings, but there is another more effective healthier way. There is hope to end the destructive response to stress and lead a purposeful joyful life.
Men can learn to modulate their stress by first healing their childhood traumas. When men develop a solid foundation of emotional strength, maturity, and courage, they can be their own best friend, good parent or coach.
Learn more about how I can facilitate this process for you so you can regain your energy, vitality, and joy!