Archive | May 7, 2010

The Brain Says Men and Women are Different When It Comes to Stress

The Brain Says Men and Women are Different When It Comes to Stress

By Hwaa Irfan

It is painful to see individuals in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East swallow the hype of gender sameness sold by the West, It is painful because before one’s eyes one bears witness to the increasing disfunctionality as familial and societal breakdown, and society becomes the price of individuality. If those societies ever took a long close look at the realities of life in Western societies, they would realize that they are putting their women and children at greater risk psychologically, emotionally and physically, and confused ideas about manhood and womanhood threaten an onslaught of identity crises. However, as scientists begin to answer the right questions to the situations that we find ourselves in, for those who are observant enough to make the necessary life changes before it is too late, there is hope.

Neuroscientists at the University of Pennsylvania, U.S., have been playing an important role in revealing human nature as it is, and not as projected by the limitations of the human secular mind. By using functional magnetic resonance it has been discovered that there are fundamental differences between how men response to stress, and how women respond to stress. In stressful situations, the male “fight or flight” response is activated, and in women the limbic system is activated. The limbic system connects the left and right brain, and is much thicker in women than it is in men. This allows for greater coordination between the left and right brain, meaning a greater transfer of information. The limbic system pertains emotional responses including bonding due its connection to the neocortex, which allows for a greater connection with one’s feelings. The limbic system also carries out most of the brain’s learning and ability to remember.

Under stress, researchers found that men’s blood flow tended to increase to the right prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for the “fight or flight” mode; whereas the same happened for women but not to the noecortex of the brain, bit to the limbic system. It was also found that the changes in women’s brains lasted longer.

Men and Stress (more physical than psychological)

Men tend to show physical signs as follows:

• Chest pain
• Pounding heart
• High blood pressure
• Shortness of breath
• Fatigue
• Diminished or increased sex drive
• Muscle aches
• Headaches
• Dizziness
• Clenched jaws and grinding teeth
• Indigestion
• Constipation or diarrhea
• Increased perspiration
• Stomach cramps
• Weight gain or loss
• Skin problems
• Heart disease

Men tend to show psychological symptoms as follows:

• Sadness
• Depression
• Isolation
• Insomnia
• Mood swings
• Worry
• Sleep disorders
• Restless anxiety
• Irritability, anger, decreased anger control
• Overeating or anorexia
• Feelings of insecurity
• Decreased productivity
• Job dissatisfaction
• Changes in close relationships
• Increased smoking, increased use of alcohol and drugs.

Women and Stress (more psychological than physical)

Women tend to show physical signs as follows:

• Tension headaches
• Muscle tension/problems with joints
• Digestive problems
• High blood pressure
• Decreased sex drive
• Changes in eating habits
• Skin problems
• Shortness of breath
• Heart palpitations
• Premenstrual syndrome
• Early/Worsened menopause
• Diabetes

Women tend to show psychological symptoms as follows:

• Poor judgment
• Lapses in memory
• Depression
• Anger
• Moodiness
• Disturbed sleep/insomnia
• Fearfulness
• Phobia
• Nervousness
• Lack of humor
• Anxiety

Stress is a normal response to a hostile environment, but coping with stress over a sustained period of time can have long term effects, as the brain continues to pump out cortisol, the stress hormone even after the event has subsided by weakening the immune system leaving a pathway open for all kinds of illnesses and disease. In addition, women are more prone to stress. This means that there needs to be coping strategies like recognizing one’s limits, eating a balanced diet, knowing when to take time out, relaxation techniques, spiritual practice, and developing good support mechanisms.


Men Are From Mars: Neuroscientists Find That Men And Women Respond Differently To Stress

Gross, R (2005) Psychology The Science of Mind and Behavior
Kiecolt-Glaser, J. et al (2002) Psychoneuroimmunology and Psychosomatic Medicine: Back to the Future J

anice K. Kiecolt-Glaser et al. Psychosomatic Medicine 64:15–28

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