Men and women are different — now there’s medical proof. A study conducted in the Netherlands indicates we react differently to stress.
Some findings, Tops said, fit in nicely with a study led by UCLA’s Shelley E. Taylor and published in Psychological Review in 2000. Taylor’s study proposed that women have evolved to respond differently than males to stress, adopting a “tend-and-befriend” reaction. Most studies call major responses to stress as a fight-or-flight mechanism in which hormones activate the nervous system for fighting for territory or fleeing for safety.
Taylor and colleagues argued that almost all such studies have involved male animals and men, and that women instead have selectively evolved a mechanism to assure the survival of self and children. To do so, women went about befriending others and forming social groups to reduce risk. Hormonal responses, they argued, thus have developed differently for men and women.
Hmmm… tend and befriend, sounds familiar.
I’m pretty sure the answer to managing our stress isn’t to try to engage our “fight or flight” reaction!
Yet another example of why women need to be included in medical research. All the more reason to remind your Senator or Member of Congress about the importance of the HEART for Women Act and funding medical research. The American Heart Association makes it so easy — just fill out an online form and you’ll get a link to contact your legislator. Visit my Advocacy page for more information.
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Eliz Greene is the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Health. Drawing on her experience surviving a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins, struggling to lose the 80 pounds gained during her pregnancy, and her background as an adaptive movement specialist, Eliz developed simple strategies and tips to help other busy women be more active, eat better and manage your stress.
As the Director of the Embrace Your Heart Wellness Initiative, Eliz travels the country energizing and inspiring audiences in keynotes and workshops on women’s heart health. She writes one of the top 100 health and wellness blogs. Find more at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com.