Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Is it just me?

Is it just me or do most women have this ongoing stream of things that need to get done running through their heads nearly 24 hours a day? Some days, I swear it would take a dozen pills to shut it down, but, I don’t have the right prescription.

It is very annoying, since I can’t seem to let go and I don’t even have kids yet. It could be anything from household chores, to bills, to work details, to the blog I had to write tonight before I went to bed. Sometimes, if it is a conversation that is really pressing, I ‘ll replay it over and over again in my head or hold a future conversation with a person before it even happens. And at certain times of the month, my mind’s capacity to do this multiplies.

Women are some of the most anxious people I know. It turns out there is a reason, according to a Gallop poll in 2005, a significant number of women answered they worried “a great deal” about seven of the 12 issues in the survey. For women, the amygdala portion of the brain processes emotions like fear and anxiety communicates with parts of the brain for hormones and digestion. For men, the amygdala communicates with organs that take in visual information. This may mean that women are more prone to experience more stress both physically and psychologically (Live Science, 2006).

According to this information, I am not the only one. I would like to know how many of you also have a this problem?

Reference
Lloyd, R. (2006). Emotional wiring different in men and women. Retrieved February 4, 2009 from Live Science Web site: http://www.livescience.com/humanbiology/060419_brain_wiring.html

3 comments:

  1. I am actually being treated for this! What has helped me is to slow down. The theory is that if you slow down, you will actually get more done because you aren't back tracting the mistakes.

    In addition, I practice meditation and progressive relaxation. It sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo however, it really helps to clear my mind of all those sources of stress and really put things into prospective. And, I use my workout time to brain storm creative ideas (i.e. blog posts, Iron Cupcake entries, birthday cakes, etc.). And lastly, when I can, I have removed sources of stress from my life.

    I had to do something because I worried so much, my blood pressure was up and I was headed for a heart attack. I have even had an EKG already and I am only 38!! That was sort of my wake up call. Now, I am off my anxiety medication and my blood pressure is back down.

    Once I get my weight back in line, I will be stress-free (yeah right:-) Hee, hee, hee.

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  2. This is so true - we women are certainly "worry warts" in comparison to our male counterparts. I know so many women who lose sleep over their anxieties, while their husbands sleep peacefully right next to them. It is maddening! Knowing there is a physical reason for the problem is comforting - interesting research!

    Personally, I have learned something incredibly helpful from my husband. He dabbled in a bit of Zen when he was younger, and when I was having a lot of anxiety issues in my late 20s and also after Kurtie was born, he guided me toward one of Zen's major premises: your thoughts are simply that...just thoughts. They have absolutely nothing to do with your present reality. They are figments of your brain and if you simply pay them their due respect by recognizing they are there and then just let them go...you'll be a lot calmer and live more in the present moment.

    I've suffered from two conditions that have caused me a lot of anxiety: mitral valve prolapse (anxiety is a huge challenge to most people who suffer from this heart condition) and postpartum depression after my son was born. I can't tell you how much my husband's bit of Zen wisdom has helped me control those two health problems. During my long bout of postpartum depression, I really did not want to go on medication for the problem. I was breastfeeding my son and didn't want anything to get in the way of our nursing relationship. So, I suffered through a lot of sadness, even some thoughts about physically harming myself or those around me. That may sound scarey to you, but I can't tell you how easy and comforting it was to be able to tell myself: "Ok, I'm thinking I'd like to hurt myself. That's just a thought in my head. It doesn't mean I have to do it or will follow through with it - ever. It has nothing to do with my present reality. I'm letting it go." And then I'd throw some laundry in the washer and the thought vanished. I was always amazed that calming myself was that simple. Truthfully, though, it did take some practice. At first, I couldn't just let the thoughts go. But I learned that if I did something within my present reality and really concentrated on it, the thought would disappear, like engage in some physical activity or even just touching some things around you to get out of your own head. Sue's suggestion about meditation is a great one, too.

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  3. Wow Brenda, I didn't realize how hard things had been for you after having Kurtie. I am glad you have found that focus helps. Ben seems to be good at reminding me that I need to "live in the moment" more as well. I have been revisiting the book, "Don't sweat the Small Stuff", lately and it has been helpful too. Thanks for sharing and your willingness to help others.

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