How Do Women Handle Anxiety Differently Than Men?

Because women are expected to be perfect in their roles of wife and mother, there is a lot of anxiety and stress that they experience to ensure they do a good job. The hormones of a woman tend to fluctuate more than a man which can affect their mood and they also do not hold their feelings in like men do. It is important for women to be able to recognize their anxiety so that they can better manage it.

Women tend to feel on edge when they are experiencing anxiety. This can mean feeling like they are on high alert where they are jumpy, angry, or easily startled. Women tend to have a long list of expectations whether it is being an ideal mother, wife, or career woman. Because of the societal expectations placed on women, they feel like they need to fit the mold or be judged by those around them. Elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline occur but women do not recognize that the symptoms they are experiencing are from anxiety. They think it is normal for everyone to feel this way which prevents them from getting help. Even if these feelings are normal, it does not mean that they should be ignored. These feelings could also arise from a lack of sleep because of too many responsibilities. Your health should always take priority.

Women also tend to feel more of physical symptoms of anxiety than men do. It can be symptoms such as shortness of breath, feeling smothered, and aches and pains. You may think that you are just feeling ill when really it is anxiety. Women tend to be very social so it may be hard for them to ignore these symptoms when they are out with their friends. Experiencing strong symptoms like this can mean that your anxiety is getting out of hand and may need to seek the help of a therapist. If your friends have noticed you getting shaky around them or feeling more sick than usual, listen to them and accept the possibility you might be experiencing anxiety.

Women also tend to be obsessive in regards to their thoughts. You could have made a mistake and instead of letting it go, that is all you can think about. If you made a tough decision, you could be ruminating if you made the right choice. For example, you may have had two job interviews and both companies want you. Instead of feeling happy to have options, you are more nervous about making the wrong decision and obsessing over what to choose instead of going with your instincts. If you are aware of these symptoms, you may need to try cognitive behavioral therapy so that you can change your negative thought processes into positive ones.

As stated before, the number of roles that women are expected to fill may be too overwhelming for them that they feel they cannot afford to sleep. When the stress hormone cortisol increases, it may be hard for our bodies to turn off and go to sleep. We feel like our bodies are on full alert in that we need to react to an emergency even though everything is fine. For example, if you have children, you are used to them always needing you for something. When you try to take a nap, you are not fully asleep because you are expecting to hear the sound of their voices or hear something crash in the house. You could also be too anxious about the events that are to come the next day. You might be thinking of the people you need to meet tomorrow, organizing the house, going to work, paying the bills, etc. With all of these thoughts in your head, it is too hard to look forward to the next day or be at peace at night. It is important to have seven to eight hours of sleep a day in order to replenish your mental health. Listen to soothing music, make a to-do list to prepare for the next day, or read a book to help you fall asleep.

Women will also tend to worry more than men. Societal expectations assume women to be caretakers to everyone around them. Because of the pressures to continue to do a good job, they feel like they need to care about everyone around them. It is not just their lives that they are worrying about but of their spouse and their children. It is important to remember that you cannot control the uncontrollable including the world around you. You need to worry about yourself only and not expect a disaster at every turn.

One more quality that women exhibit in their anxiety compared to men is how they can pay attention to detail. By being able to remember specific details of an experience, our anxiety increases if we keep replaying the details. For example, your daughter may have had a breakdown after a fallout with her friend and you remember everything she said as well as the sad look on her face. When you focus on these details, you will tend to worry about her until the problem is solved. If you experience any of these symptoms that are taking over your life, it is important to seek treatment to learn how to focus on your own health and stop worrying about the roles society place on you.

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