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Stress can take a toll on our day today lives. It can have lasting physical and mental repercussions. Women are more susceptible to stress than their male counterparts. This article deals with several tips for reducing stress in women over 50.

Stress

Stress can be defined as a person’s feelings when they have to handle more than they are normally used to. It is the reaction of our body to a stimulus that can affect our mental or physical equilibrium. When we are under stress, our body responds as if we are in danger. This leads to the secretion of hormones that speed up our heart beat and we tend to breathe faster.

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A little bit of stress in our lives is healthy. However, if we are subjected to stress situations on a regular basis and for longer duration  it can have a detrimental effect on our overall well-being. The adverse effects of stress on our body include headaches, back pain, upset stomach, and difficulty in sleeping.  

Stress and Women

Both men and women react differently to stress situations. Studies have shown that women are more likely to exhibit physical symptoms related to stress. Women are blessed with the nature of ‘tending and befriending’. They tend to take care of the people closest to them and also garner support from their friends and family. Men, on the other hand, adopt the ‘fight or flight’ approach to stress situations. If they cannot cope with a stress situation, they tend to escape the situation by indulging in a relaxing activity or some other distraction.

Common Symptoms of Stress in Women

The most commonly observed symptoms of stress exhibited by women are listed below.

  • Cravings: When stressed-out, some women lose their appetite whereas other develop cravings for junk food or chocolates.
  • Cuts and bruises: Stressed-out women are more likely to get cuts and bruises without even remembering about the injury. Stress triggers the secretion of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain relievers. Therefore, minor injuries go unnoticed in stressed-out women.
  • Hair loss: High stress levels lead to the secretion of the hormone prolactin which can lead to thinning to hair. Stress can also narrow the arteries that supply blood to the scalp and this can trigger hair loss.
  • Stressed-out skin: Skin has the tendency of registering stress very quickly. Stress makes dry skin even drier and if your skin has spots, stress tends to bring out the spots. Stress stimulates the production of adrenaline which alters the balance of other hormones. Long-term stress can even cause sagging and post 40 years of age, the effects of stress on the skin can be permanent.
Continue reading after recommendations

  • “Efficacy of Tai Chi, brisk walking, meditation, and reading in reducing mental and emotional stress”, by Putai Jin. Published in the May 1992 issue of the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, accessed on March 9, 2013
  • “Stressful Life Events and Loss of Hair Among Adult Women, A Case-Control Study”, by Janine York, et al. Published in the June 1998 issue of Psychological Reports, accessed on March 6, 2013.
  • Photo courtesy of 59030623@N03 on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/59030623@N03/8633086232