Recently I heard Dr. John Gray, author of the best-selling, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, talking about his new book, Why Mars & Venus Collide, and I found it interesting when he discussed how men and women handle stress differently as well as why the sexes treat stress differently.
If I can put this in a nutshell, men’s brains, because of their limited number of neural receptors, have a sequential thinking pattern which means they think about one thing at a time. Women, on the other hand, possessing thousands more neural receptors than men, have expansive thinking patterns, which means we have a lot more on our minds at any one time.
Now add to that innate quality the fact that so many women are not only running the household but also being relied upon for part of the family income and you then have stress that is greater than has ever been recorded for women.
Through the years of my business as a Voice Specialist, I have found that the majority of my female clientele are sore in the neck and shoulder regions while others complain of sore jaws by the end of the day.
And while some feminists today may try to tell us that there is essentially no difference between men and women, I have yet to have a man complain to me that he is sore or tense in those regions! Men handle stress differently because they don’t sweat the small stuff. But Ladies, we do. You may have a great husband who helps you, runs errands, and may even do the dishes but we are the ones that have to tell them what needs to be done. We are carrying a tremendous load.
Interestingly, Dr. Gray further discussed the fact that in the past, women were outliving men by 7 years. Those figures today are changing – and, they are not changing for the better. Many of our mothers, who are in the nursing homes today, were stay-at-home moms. We baby boomers, however, and our daughters to follow, are the ones who will discover that stress kills.
When I first started my business in 1989, I was living and working in London, Canada, as a ‘single’ married woman raising my two boys, ages 2 & 4. (My husband lived in Vienna; once a year we would see him for 3 weeks.) My nearest relative was 600 miles away in the States; I ran my business out of my home; I was the major breadwinner; I was the soccer coach; I fixed the toilets and cleaned the gutters; and, I never experienced soreness in my neck, shoulder or jaw regions. Was I stressed? Absolutely!
But because I do something that most people are unaware of, I never experience tension in those areas of my body. As a voice coach, I teach people how to improve the sound of the speaking voice, but in order to do so, I’m also teaching them how to breathe with the support of the diaphragm. You can’t have one without the other. Shallow or lazy breathing, which is typical of 99% of the population, actually increases our tension because it does not allow for the elimination of the toxins in our body. Deep supported breathing, however, decreases stress because it eliminates those nasty toxins.
There are so many courses today on how to lower your stress, eliminate your stress, deal with your stress, handle your stress. Why not try breathing? It’s simple; it’s basic; it’s normal; and it’s a lot healthier!
Nancy Daniels is a voice specialist and president of Voice Dynamic as well as The Official SelfGrowth.com Guide to Public Speaking. Working privately and corporately, she launched Voicing It! in April of 2006, the first video training course on voice improvement. You can watch a clip from her DVD on her website, ‘before’ & ‘after’ takes of her clients, and a 16-minute video in which Nancy describes what voice training can do for you at www.voicedynamic.com/products.htm