Women and Stress?
Do you train with us? If you do, you know that the overwhelming majority of our clients are women. Out of our approximately 70 clients, about five are guys. Most guys want to bench press and do curls. We don’t do a lot of either of those here.
The guys who we let train here are after something more than beach muscles – kind of like the women who train with us. Our focus is on busy women, over-30, who have not had much success in a traditional gym setting. You’re busy building your career. You’re busy taking care of a family. Sometimes you’re doing both. You didn’t like the lack of results, you didn’t like the time investment, and you didn’t like the social scene that are all part of the Big Box gym experience. So you put up with our lack of showers, our lack of Zumba classes, our lack of 3 pound dumbbells, and our lack of shiny, chrome exercise machines. You put up with our nagging about food journals and consistency; our emphasis on functional movement and strength.
You find that friends, family and associates notice your newly defined arms. You feel comfortable telling that strange man, “NO! I don’t need help with my bags.” He looks at you and knows that you mean it in every way. You find your nagging pains disappearing. You lose the hate affair with your closet as you pick out clothes you hadn’t been able to wear in a long time. You make these changes with a couple of 45 minute sessions per week and a change in diet that gives you more energy than you’ve had since college.
The Good News and the Bad News
The 2011 Nielsen report, “Women of Tomorrow”, talked about how greater access to educational and technology was creating greater opportunity for women throughout the world. Along with increasing opportunity comes greater levels of stress as women try to juggle their various responsibilities and grapple with the question of whether they can have it all. Societal and family structures have not kept pace with the changes in the work place. What remains is tension between the pursuit of a promising career and expectations around more traditional family roles.
This tension is compounded by the reality of biology. A study recently published in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry found that female brains may be more sensitive to the hormones produced during times of stress (let me know if you want a separate post on corticotrophin-releasing factor!). Whatever the biology turns out to be, women are twice as vulnerable as men to stress-related disorders.
Women and Stress Management 201
- there is an external event
- then there is our perception of the external event
- finally, there is your body’s reaction to your perception
Managing this process starts with developing choices. You have an Area of Influence and an Area of Concern. Your choice operates mainly in the Area of Influence. We can concern ourselves with a great deal but there are often many factors that are out of our control. Focus on your internal experience and the meaning you give to events if you want to make changes. In other words, it’s not what happens to us, but how we feel about what happens to us that makes all the difference. We get into trouble when we instead try to control the external world instead of our response to it.
What feedback is your body giving you about stress? What are the triggers? What are the patterns? Awareness is everything – from eating, to exercise, to relationships. It also helps to look at sources of stress using the Logical Levels of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). The levels are:
The process for dealing with the sources of stress would be different based on what level it’s coming from.
There’s a lot more to say on this topic but that’s all for now. If you want a more in-depth treatment of these issues, send me an email at [email protected] Let me know you want to get on the list for the Grateful Living 2.0 series. If you’re one of the first 50 you’ll get 50% off.
Who loves ya, Baby?