Stress - Nenah Sylver

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Women and men encounter different kinds of stress. Some researchers claim that women suffer less stress than men because they are able to talk more easily about their problems and thus diffuse them. However, this may simply point out the greater extent to which women have learned to communicate. New research indicates that women get into bad moods much more often than men not because we are inherently negative, but because in our complex and multi-faceted lives there is so much more that can go wrong. Whereas most men are involved primarily with workplace stress, women are responsible not only in their jobs, but also for children, shopping, running a household, and maintaining emotional support networks.

Stress is both psychological and physiological. Every emotion has its counterpart in a chemical that is produced endogenously (by the body). Biochemicals associated with pleasurable emotions stimulate immune function, and those associated with unpleasurable emotions depress immune function. Every person has a different relationship to emotions. For example, one person may react to skydiving with excitement; to her, that potential danger is a joyous challenge. Someone else may react with fear; to her, that potential danger is life-threatening. This is why two different people can have completely different physiological responses to the same emotional stimulus. It is also why some stress is called "negative stress" and some is called "positive stress." The right amounts of positive stress feed us and helps us grow. Too much negative stress will overwhelm the bodymind, which then breaks down emotionally, physically, or both.

Many people, misunderstanding the complex relationship between mind and body, believe that because this ambiguous malady "stress" has a large psychological component, once the negative emotions are eliminated the person will become physically healthy—and that if the person doesn’t get well, it’s because she has failed to emotionally exorcise her demons. This simplistic view tends to blame the victim. Physical remissions can and do occur through emotional clearing alone, but they do not always happen in this linear manner. Research shows that an emotion triggers off its biochemical counterpart. However, the chemical will also induce the emotion. Drugs are prescribed for precisely this reason, to alter someone’s mood through the administration of an exogenous (outside) chemical similar to what the body normally produces on its own. Finally, if a person acts in a particular manner—for example, if she stretches the muscles of her mouth into a smile—she can biochemically induce the very emotion she is copying. Stress is emotional, mental, physical, physiological, biochemical, externally-caused, internally-created. The bodymind is one continuous system, integrally linked. One can deal with stress from any point on the circle, and all approaches will all be correct.

Being a woman under patriarchy can be enormously stressful. Many women who nurture everyone else at the expense of themselves suffer from a lack of sufficient sleep, rest, and pleasurable, nurturing activities.

Specific Related Health Condition

  • Depression, Aches and Pains, Headaches, Digestive Disturbances, Immune DysfunctionANY Illness or Disorder. When one is under stress, the body uses up many more nutrients than usual, especially B Vitamins. Plus, huge amounts of stress hormones (including cortisol from the adrenal glands) flood the bloodstream, which if continuous, causes the body to remain stuck in a pattern of fight-or-flight, with the sympathetic nervous system on. Because each woman is unique, she will manifest stress differently than does her sister—and at different times in her life, she will feel more or less able to cope with it.

  • Restorative Strategies: Psychotherapy, meditation, exercise, massage, relaxation, rest, and fun. Nutritional supplements usually help alleviate stress and sometimes eliminate it altogether, because during times of severe stress the body requires more vitamins and minerals than usual. This is not the time to consider seeing only a mainstream doctor. A holistic health care practitioner can help guide you to the right nutrients. Click on the left-hand Menu button, "Body-Mind Therapy," for more information.



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For much more detailed information
on what has been discussed here,
including a wide variety of
other health-related topics, see
The Rife Handbook of Frequency Therapy
by this author.



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