Men and Stress

Stress, unfortunately, is an everyday experience, but contrary to what many people believe it can be both good and bad for us.

Stress can affect our health and wellbeing, with the proof of this lying in the numerous multi-million pound businesses that have been generated to help relieve, avoid and/or cope with stress.

When it comes to acknowledging stress the worst culprits are often men who tend to see stress as something that happens to other people or maybe even a sign of weakness in personality. However, men are as affected by stress as anyone else and in some cases even more so. Knowing what to look for in the first place is an important step in managing your stress levels.


Stress can be thought of in two ways: Eustress – ‘helpful stress’, and Distress – ‘unhelpful and damaging stress’. Distress can be described as a situation when pressure around a person outstrips their ability to cope with them.

Stress is widely regarded as an individual experience, as one person’s ability to cope with situations invariably differs from another. It can be said that what one man finds stressful another will not, and what can be stressful one time may not be at another time in your life.

Measuring Stress in men

Stress can be measured in different ways but generally takes the form of a self – report in which the person rates particular experiences, feelings or events on a scale of some sort.

The SRRS (Social Readjustment Ratings Scale) is one of the most well known rating systems that were originally put together by two American psychiatrists in 1967. They listed a number of life events assumed to be stressful, such as the death of a loved one, moving job, etc and they placed a numerical value against each of these items based on the intensity of the stress. Death of a spouse for example was rated the most stressful, with a mark of 100, whereas a minor violation of the law was given a rating of just 11.

Facts on Stress on Men

Stress can generally be experienced in two ways: physically and psychologically, but the two are interrelated. For example, chronic stress leads to decreased immune function and increased risk of infection and decreased ability to fight infection or repair tissue.

Stress, particularly long – term stress, can be a factor in the onset or worsening of ill health.

Stress can be seen as a protector in that it gives us a mechanism for dealing with threats. We can either fight threats in some fashion or we can avoid them – this is what is known as the fight or the fight mechanism.

Stress can be good as well as bad. Without some stress we would not get the adrenaline needed to help us in certain situations such as solving problems, taking exams and winning competitions.

Stress can cause debilitating symptoms.

Stress management is essential to wellbeing and something that should be practised each day.

Physical Signs and Symptoms of Stress for Men

Before responding verbally or taking any further action use a breathing exercise to calm your racing pulse. Once your internal tension has subsided and you are sure that you are in control of your rage. Move on and congratulate yourself.



Women and Stress

Most studies on stress reveal equal numbers of men and women affected, but experts will tell you that men and women react to stress in different ways and are stressed by different things.

In Britain, around twice as many women consult their doctors about anxiety and depression than men. Women might be more up – front about the stress they have to deal with but do they actually suffer more than men.

Experts in stress – related illness believe that modern life does place more stress on women than men, especially with the change in tradition of the modern –day workingwoman. However, as women often cope better with stress, this tends to even out the stress toll.

Why Women Suffer from Stress

Over the last decades, female workers have increasingly populate the British working environment. As traditionally male jobs were lost in the 1980s, typically female jobs increased and there are now roughly the same amounts of women working in the country as men – 12.5 million and 13.5 million respectively.

Women therefore, not only face the stresses that come with doing the share of childcare, housework and general caring, but also those that the modern workplace brings with it.

Around .6 million women who work have a child under 18, which shows how women have to cope with stress from several fronts at once.

The Science Behind Stress

In terms of the human body, stress in women can be caused by hormonal changes, for example during puberty, pregnancy and menopause your hormone levels fluctuate constantly and cause stress.

Emotional and physical changes that happen in your life such as illness, and changes to environmental components such as extreme cold, heat or toxins cause stress. When women over work their body at work or at play it will quickly lose energy needed to restore itself and as a result generate stress.

Stress at Work

Women have an advantage over men, as they are naturally more able to multi task, allowing them to often cope with larger demands, while men often prefer to concentrate on the task in hand. This varies between individuals, however, and is by no means gender specific.


Pregnancy can be stressful as women face an onslaught of tests, financial worries and uncertainties about what childbirth and motherhood will bring. Research has shown that babies of very anxious mothers tend to be smaller or born earlier and may suffer delays in their development. A London hospital recently carried out a study, which found that the stress hormone cortisol passes from anxious mothers to their unborn babies, which may cause these babies to be more prone to stress themselves at a later stage in life.

Looking After a New Baby

Looking after a new baby is stressful for anyone, especially if you are alone, or suffer financial problems. These pressures can eventually lead to postnatal depression, which affects one in every five mothers.

Looking After Children

Looking after a new baby is stressful for anyone, especially if you are alone, or suffer financial problems. These pressures can eventually lead to postnatal depression, which affects one in every five mothers.

Helping Out Relatives

According to industry experts, just fewer than 7 million people in Britain (6.8) are caring for disabled or frail elderly friends and relatives with the majority of these carers being women.

Many women In the UK feel obliged to take care of elderly or sick relatives, which can prove to be very stressful. Carers may feel exhausted by a constant stream of repetitive jobs and demands and frustrated at being tied to the home.


The loss of a loved one, friend or relative can lead to extremely high levels of stress. Women are more likely to suffer bereavement as they generally live longer than men. In fact a recent study in the US showed that widows suffer more stress and depression after bereavement than a widowers. These symptoms were likely to lead to medical problems such as heart attack or cancer, and even thoughts of suicide.

Stress Related Illness

With the help of science, we are beginning to see the real impact that stress can have on our overall health

Stress is often a key factor when women experience either absence of menstruation or abnormal bleeding. Hormonal imbalances caused by stress may reproduce the symptoms of endometriosis and fibroid tumours, as well as make pregnancy difficult to achieve for couples suffering from fertility problems.

Stress can also be related to high blood pressure, heart attacks, heart palpitations, and stroke. Some women experience changes in their sexuality and come across a variety of sexual dysfunctions like loss of desire and vaginal dryness as a result of stress.

The more common affects of stress that women encounter are fatigue, various aches and pains, headaches, or emotional disorders such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances, or gastrointestinal disorders such as ulcers, lower abdominal cramps, colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Frequently people under the effects of over stress will have more colds and infections due to lowered immune system responses. Stress can also trigger dermatological conditions such as rashes and itchy skin.

Contact Numbers


Offers help and support , they hold group meetings where you can meet other people and will be offered help on ways to cope.



24 hr National Help line 116 123

This is run by volunteers who will give advice and a chance to speak to someone who understands how you feel.




Tel: 07813 596505 Or 01482 870577


Regional Numbers


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01482 240200


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01296 437328


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01744 677058


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01302 812190


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020 8788 0070


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0151 4953 991


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01264 332297


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01622 692383

Huntingdon Cambridge

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01223 311320


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01455 890168

Exeter Devon

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01392 204493

Berkeley Gloucestershire

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01453 54739