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Deal With Stress
Your Stress Response

Just deal with stress, this was what I was told when I was 16 and doing my exams. Little did I know that how we cope and respond to stress in our lives can be dependent on your age and sex.

Research carried out by the University of Montreal recently has discovered a real connection between our stress response, gender and age.

The findings were very interesting and included the fact that self-protective and defensive women may be prone to cardiovascular illnesses whereas older men who were less aggressive and generally not defensive were more likely to suffer ill health.

It is important to note that the same risk of illness could be produced by the opposite behaviors, dependent on the sex and age of the person.

The stress which caused the defensive behavior in women was centered around the loss of self esteem and not feeling part of a social group.

It is of course a natural human response to want to be a part of a bigger social group and to feel as an equal within that group. The loss of these feelings threatens our survival instinct and we become defensive and stressed.

Four tests were carried out on a group of women and a group of older men. The results showed an increase in endocrine, cardiovascular and autonomic nervous system responses to the stimuli.

Although more tests are needed to measure the long term affects of stress on these groups of people, the initial result do show that we do certainly deal with stress in different ways depending on our gender and age.

It is interesting to note that self esteem plays a big role in our stress response. Women and older men are two groups who are most likely to feel a loss of self esteem and worthlessness, due to social pressures.

Men need to feel that they have an important role to play within their families (this is also instinctual regardless of society) and women often feel that they are not valued or are of less important than men. Both causing the same feelings and provoking the stress response of defensive behaviours, which in turn affects our health in the long run.

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