Feeling stressed is often associated with your fear of losing control which can be caused because you’re behaving according the role you’re undertaking at the time.
For example, If you’re a mother, you may cope with a family argument but not deal with conflicts at work. Whereas a business if you’re a business owner, you may feel confident in a complex negotiation but be anxious if giving a wedding speech. You have your own individual triggers that make you feel stressed and you have personal limits for coping when you’re regularly experiencing tension.
How can you take control and deal with stressful situations? Well, the role you’re taking determines the level of control you believe you have. For example, if you’re upset, you’ll react differently if you’re being a friend than if you’re being a boss. You’ll change your language, tone and volume and your body language to suit the power you believe you have.
So, it’s helpful to practice being aware of when you’re simply caught up in a role and even though it seems to be real, it will help, if you stand back from the situation and re-assess your stress.
You can start by observing and thinking about what is actually a true reaction? You can stop behaving in ways you automatically associate with that role and practice showing your authentic, real self.
Stressful situations may not disappear over night but you’ll cope much better from a position of strength when you stop being someone you’re not and be happier being yourself.
Women and men are ‘primed’ to respond to stress differently.
Even though, you both have adrenaline and cortisol rushing around your bodies, your ways of handling the same situation are not alike which can harm intimate relationships.
Firstly, if you are a woman feeling stressed, you tend to prefer to avoid confrontation and seek friendly support to feel safe. Your body releases large amounts of oxytocin and it combines with other reproductive hormones to protect your fertility and any baby you might be carrying at that stressful time. This helps you to take care and keep yourself safe.
If you are a man experiencing stress, far less oxytocin is released which means nothing inhibits the influence of adrenaline and cortisol. So, when you feel threatened, you take less care and readily take risks instead.
This low-level oxytocin means you tend to fight and resist stressful circumstances although, if necessary, you look for an escape route from the situation and retreat to work it out alone.
Secondly, research also shows, that as a man, you value yourself based on your ability to perform and as you tend to respect even your smallest successes, you enter stressful circumstances with high self-esteem, ready to blame others and to focus on competing to win.
However, as a woman, you tend to value yourself based on how well you can nurture and maintain relationships. You take pride in making personal sacrifices for your family.
And because you value others so highly, your own self-worth and self-esteem is low, and you can lack confidence and feel inadequate in stressful situations.