Stress Management: women vs men
To understand how stress differs between men and women, it is necessary to understand the differences between mechanistic and relational health and wellness, and the role they play in the eastern–western paradigm of addressing illness. Whereas the mechanistic approach refers to how the body works mechanically, relational wellness considers other factors that influence – and are ultimately related to – the optimal functioning of our bodies: our environment, our relationship with our family and our ability to be happy, just to mention a few play a role in stress management.
The heart is a separate organ based on a valve/pump system that is affected by personal choices such as diet, exercise and smoking.
The heart is connected to the entire mind/body experience and is affected by external factors such as the quality of our relationships, our social network of support and the amount of physical contact in addition to the personal lifestyle choices we make.
The relevance of relational wellness in the diagnosis and treatment of illness can be exemplified in the 2003 study by Dr. Karen Grewen. This study focusing on relational wellness and heart health consisted of dividing 91 couples into 2 groups: one with warm partner contact (WPC), and the other in a controlled environment without physical contact. The WPC group was allowed 10 minutes of hand holding followed by a 20 second hug with a romantic partner prior to being exposed to a stressful event.
The results? The Warm Partner Group showed a lower systolic blood pressure by 24 points, lower diastolic blood pressure and less heart rate increase. Other studies related to relational wellness and health include independent studies conducted by Dr. Pressman and Dr. Thurston on loneliness and its effect on our immune response and heart disease, respectively. While being lonely suppressed the immune response for both sexes, there was a significant correlation between loneliness and incidental coronary heart disease only in women.
Stress is a matter of sex
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So in trying to figure out how to manage our stress the factors we need to consider include not only the relationship between mechanistic and relational wellness, but how these two approaches differ in men and women as well.
The ‘Fighters’ and Relationships
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- Love is the key pillar to a happy and fulfilling life
- Finding ways to cope with stress that don’t push love away
- Their relationships: A man can have health, wealth and success; however, without the support of a loving relationship he is not happy.
- Connections with their relationships
- A gratifying connection to their job as more relevant than money or even success
- Social ties are linked to longevity, lower stress levels and overall well being
- A 20-second hug
- Petting your pet
- Listening to soothing music
- Socializing with friends and family
- A massage
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“All I need is the air that I breathe…” Lessons learned for the daily stress management
- Breathe in and out with your eyes closed, and follow your breath.
- Place right hand over your belly and left on top of right, while breathing in and out.
- Repeat in your mind who and what are you grateful for.
- Acknowledge thoughts, feelings or sensations that come to mind. Name them, let them go and go back to focusing on your breath.
About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:
The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.
The organization does so by funding scholarships to scientists researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, researchers, and authors to convey the timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health. of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that will create women’s health awareness and advocacy in the community.
For more information about the Doris A. Howell Foundation, please visit www.howellfoundation.org.