Why Men and Women Handle Stress Differently
When it comes to handling stress, men are from Venus and women are from Mars. Why do their coping skills differ?
Stress and Evolution
For both sexes, stress has evolved from the days on the savannah when we
were running for our lives. Now, it's mortgage payments and childcare that keep
us up night after night.
"The single most important point to make is that stress has evolved from
dealing with a single short-term crisis to the ability to turn stress on in a
chronic way," says Sapolsky, author of Why Zebras Don't Get
Unfortunately, because the hormonal result of stress is increased blood
pressure and circulating blood sugar levels, and a less-effective immune
system, chronic stress can lead to serious health problems.
"Men and women need to find ways to deal with chronic stress. This is
not what the body has evolved for, and it can increase a person's risk of
everything from heart disease to metabolic disorders to impaired wound
healing," Sapolsky tells WebMD.
Dealing With Stress
In part 2 of this series, experts give WebMD tips on how men and women can
better handle all the curveballs life throws at them. Here's a preview of
what's to come:
"Managing stress from overdemand and inadequate self-maintenance is very
simple, and so very complex," says Pickhardt. "Two little words are all
it takes: 'No' and 'Yes.'"