Speaking Mental Health
Forward Times Mental Health Advisors
Have you ever observed how men and women may handle the same situation very differently? If you have taken the time to look at how your parents respond during a difficult situation, you may notice inconsistencies in their reactions. The reason is that men and women may respond to stress triggers very differently. According to the American Psychological Association, it has been found that women have significantly more physical and emotional responses to stress than men. It is also known that while stress plays an emotional role, it could also impact our appetite, weight, and physical health.
When we are stressed, some tend to eat more while some may eat less. Either way, the response to stress will impact the appetite causing weight changes. There was a spike in weight changes during the pandemic. Many people may not realize that the things that we decide to eat may seriously affect how we feel emotionally and physically each day. When life becomes stressful and hectic, we immediately reach for the comfort food, but the truth is that those foods may lead to inflammation or blood-sugar imbalances which are more common within the Black community. With the onset of these physical challenges, we may also begin to have increased levels of anxiety due to our health issues. Regular exercise and a proper diet sticking to clean foods that are minimally processed can give us a well-needed emotional boost.
Some people eat more as a reaction to stressful situations and triggers without realizing it. This could explain the significant spike in weight gain during the pandemic. While more women may most often find themselves being caregivers, they may have increased stress levels. Taking time for yourself and doing activities that you enjoy will be relaxing and play an important role in reducing anxiety and stress levels. Make yourself a priority! Even if it’s disguised, make sure you take care of yourself just as you would take care of others. Making small changes in the places you spend the majority of your day can offer big rewards and boost your mood.
Whether you’re male or female, self-care is imperative. Practice deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, and other relaxation techniques to help lower your stress levels. Be intentional about taking care of yourself, eating a clean and balanced diet, and doing things you enjoy. These are great steps in lowering your stress levels and increasing your quality of life.
Dr. Angela M. Powell is a Licensed Professional Counselor and owner of Progressive Counseling & Consulting, LLC., specializing in youth trauma, anxiety, and depression.
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