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Does Stress Affect Women or Men More?

Research suggests both, but in very different ways.

You are running late for work, you had an argument with your spouse, you missed your car pool and the roads are clogged. Feeling stressed? Probably. But your gender decides how your stress will affect you, according to recent research from scientists in Vienna.

For men, your stress will show itself in the way you become more self-centered and less able to tell the difference between you own emotions and intentions from those of other people. In other words, it’s all about me, me, me. Yes, ladies, I can hear you saying – ‘so, what else is new?’

Stay Quiet Or Talk It Out?

But, for women, the exact opposite is the case, said the researchers. Stressed women tend to become more social, engaging, and willing to share their problems with others. Yes, men, I hear you saying – ‘Well, of course, they talk about everything.’

So, the researchers say, it comes down to being more egocentric or being more empathic. While stress can be important and beneficial, such as when you need to put a maximum effort into accomplishing something (think of a baseball player at bat with the bases loaded and his team behind in the bottom of the ninth inning), too much stress can be physically and mentally damaging if it is not dealt with. People typically deal with stress by calling on their internal willpower, or by seeking external support.

Looking In Or Out?

When the researchers looked at their findings, they found that men were more often looking internally to find ways of coping, while women were outward looking and seeking others for support to get through their stress.

So, would that mean a stressed wife seeking to discuss her issues with her husband is likely to get no response? Is a man internalizing his stress unlikely to share his problems with his wife? Could be, but I don’t want to talk about it right now.

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