I think that there is a stigma against stress. Maybe I’m wrong but when I talk to people about it, it seems to me that women will admit to being stressed, but dismiss it as just being the way life is; and men either don’t admit to feeling it at all, or see it as a macho, positive thing – whether it is or not.
How can we ever allow ourselves to benefit from stress relief if we are too scared to admit to being compromised by stress?
Stress can affect anyone. People of every race, gender, age, ability, culture, socio-economic class etc, all experience stress. No one is immune.
But different people do experience stress at different levels. What one person finds super stressful, another might simply glide through. And everyone handles stress situations differently – meaning some people are less likely than others to suffer chronic or long-term effects of stress.
There are many factors that determine who is more vulnerable to the harmful effects of stress. Financial strains, job related stress, relationships and parenting can all take a toll. So can illness and life transitions and other stressful events. Some people handle stress extremely well. They mitigate its effects well. These people are usually those who have a strong support network in place.
The people who often has more trouble dealing with stress are those who don’t have a strong support network such as friends and family. This is the number 1 cause of stress in adult women! Other high risk stress groups are those who don’t get enough to eat, are in poor health or who are sleep deprived (Note – new mothers can fall into every one of these groups and stay-at-home parents are continually identified as amongst the most highly stressed groups!).
People who are hit with many stressful events in rapid succession may also have trouble coping with stress. These people, whether young or old are less likely to handle stress well, and more likely to suffer more from the effects of stress.
While no one can avoid all stress all the time, stress does affect people differently. The ability to bounce back seems to lie in general health, support and stress as a relatively isolated event rather than an ongoing occurrence.
Recognize when you have moved into a “high at-risk” group and change your actions to incorporate adequate stress relief measures for the phase of life you are in now.