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No Summer Vacation for Stressed Out Women

HealthyWomen in the News

If stress isn't a killer, it sure can make you sick. More than 10 percent of those who responded to the National Women's Health Resource Center's (NWHRC) Web-based stress survey said they coped with stress by doing unhealthy things such as overindulging in alcohol and food and other self-destructive behaviors. The numbers echo a finding of the American Psychological Association that 43 percent of adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.

More than 90 percent of the 681 people who completed the survey in April-May described the level of stress in their daily life as moderate or higher. Fewer than half said they always felt capable of coping with their stress, while more than half said stress affected their personal life "quite a bit." The results of the survey are discussed in "Women, Chronic Stress and Resilience," the June issue of the National Women's Health Report.

"Even during the summer vacation season today's woman juggles multiple roles including boss or employee, wife and mother," said Amy Niles, President of the National Women's Health Resource Center, publisher of the report. "Women cope with an uncertain economy and deal with a 24-hour stream of bad news including war and the constant threat of terrorist attacks. The good news is that women can learn how to manage stress and stay healthy."

Women and men react differently to stress. Women "tend and befriend," making sure the people they care about are safe and then calling a friend to let off steam about the problem. Men are biologically wired to "flight or flee," tuning out in front of the tv set and drinking too much.

The Health Report includes a checklist to help women (and men) find out how stressed they are, a list of stress-related symptoms, as well as websites, organizations, and books that can help.

How to bust stress? Laugh. Pray. Take a vacation. Get a pet but maybe not a puppy. Meditate. Skip the caffeine, chips, cookies, cake and ice cream. Load up on vegetables, fruit, high-fiber food. Exercise, regularly.

The National Women's Health Resource Center is the nation's leading independent, nonprofit organization specifically dedicated to educating women of all ages about health and wellness issues. Its Web site,, is a one-stop shop for women's health.

To order a free copy of "Women, Chronic Stress and Resilience" call toll-free 877-986-9472 or visit

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