Stress is a natural reaction to life experiences that manifests itself in both physical and mental reactions. From our day-to-day responsibilities to serious life events, numerous things we encounter can trigger a stress response. While immediate, short-term stressors can actually be beneficial for your health, unmanaged chronic stress can wreak havoc across the body. Our biology automatically prioritizes producing cortisol and keeping the body in the flight or fight response, sacrificing the body’s complex production of required thyroid and sex hormones. Chronic stress can lead to a myriad of symptoms that impact our physical, mental, and emotional health, ultimately causing undue inflammation and affecting everything from our respiratory system to our GI tract.

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The Many Symptoms of Stress

No part of the body is immune from stress. Since everyone manages their stress differently, symptoms can vary from person to person. While we are designed to handle small doses of temporary stress, we are very ill equipped to handle long-term stress and will always suffer consequences. Here are some common symptoms caused by stress.

Short-Term Stress

Emotional Stress Symptoms
  • Irritable, agitated, frustrated, moody
  • Feeling overwhelmed; loss of control
  • Having difficulty relaxing or quieting the mind
  • Having poor thoughts about yourself; feeling lonely, depressed, or worthless
  • Avoiding others
Physical Stress Symptoms
  • Low energy, fatigue, insomnia
  • Headaches, migraines
  • Upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation, nausea
  • Aches, pains, tense/stiff muscles
  • Heart palpitation, chest pain
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Impacted sex drive and/or ability
  • Shaking, nervousness, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands or feet
  • Clenched jaw, teeth grinding
  • Dry mouth, difficulty swallowing
Cognitive Stress Symptoms
  • Racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying
  • Inability to focus
  • Poor judgment
  • Forgetfulness, disorganization
  • Being pessimistic, only seeing the negative side
Behavioral Stress Symptoms
  • Changes in appetite
  • Increased use in alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
  • Procrastinating, avoiding responsibilities
  • Exhibiting more nervous behaviors, including nail biting, pacing, fidgeting

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The Dangers of Long-Term Stress

Unmanaged, chronic stress can either cause or exacerbate an extensive list of serious health conditions, including:

  • Mental health conditions like depression and anxiety
  • Cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure, heart attacks, and stroke
  • Obesity and eating disorders
  • Menstrual issues
  • Fertility concerns
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Skin and hair problems like eczema, psoriasis, and acne
  • Gastrointestinal problems including IBS, GERD, and ulcerative colitis

The Prevalence of Stress Among Women

Women and men report different reactions to stress in both physical and mental ways. They often try to manage stress in very contrasting ways and also have different perceptions in their ability to do so. According to the American Psychological Association, research suggests that even though women are more likely to report physical symptoms associated with their stress, they may be more successful in utilizing their important stress management tools. Here are some other interesting findings from the APA regarding women and stress:

  • Women are more likely than men (28% vs. 20%) to report having a great deal of stress.
  • 49% of women surveyed have reported that their stress has increased over the past five years compared to 39% of men.
  • Women are more likely to report that money (79% vs. 73%) and the economy (68% vs. 61%) are sources of stress. 
  • Women are more likely to report emotional and physical symptoms of stress when compared to men. The most common symptoms reported include headaches, feeling like they could cry, or having indigestion or upset stomach.
  • Married women report higher levels of stress than single women, with 33% reporting they’ve experienced a significant deal of stress in the past month compared to 22% of single women. More married women have also reported an increase of stress over the past five years while single women are also more likely to report that they feel adequate with their stress management skills. 
  • Married women are also more likely than single women to report having experienced the following symptoms of stress: feeling like they could cry, feeling irritable or angry, having headaches, and experiencing fatigue.

Since women are widely believed to be juggling more roles and have more responsibilities outside of paid work, there seems to be a general consensus that women are more stressed than men. Researchers from The University of Arizona’s School of Family and Consumer Resources ran a study to determine if this perception is actually true. According to their findings, results did indeed show that women reported a greater amount of high stress days and fewer stress-free days than men. However, the differences in levels of stressful days were due to women experiencing more stress response triggers rather than being continually stressed from one day to the next. Simply put, women didn’t hold onto their stress more than men, they just experienced more episodes of being stressed throughout the day. 

The Importance of Stress Management

If you’re feeling more stressed than your male counterparts, this isn’t necessarily a sign that you’re not handling stress as well. It might be because you are actually experiencing more stress. Take a moment to praise yourself for managing what you already are and make sure that going forward you have effective stress management strategies available to you. Having a variety of tools is important and can set you up for better long-term management. 

Press Pause and Take Time For Yourself

Whether you only have one moment in the car alone or you have some time set aside at the end of the day, pressing pause and taking time for yourself can make all the difference. We all need a moment of pause when life starts to spin wildly out of control.  

Practicing Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of anchoring yourself in the present moment, combating stress and negative thinking. There are many ways to practice mindfulness including meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga. Studies have shown that meditation is an effective way to alleviate stress. From guided meditation apps to free breathing exercises, there are a variety of ways to help situate yourself in the present moment and escape from your busy mind.

Exercise 

Exercising regularly lowers stress hormones while releasing endorphins. Studies have shown that physical activity is a powerful way for relieving the symptoms of depression and anxiety while also helping to relax the muscles. It can also help improve sleep, immune health, boost confidence, and overall wellness.  

Spend Time With Loved Ones

Social support can help get you through stressful times. Spending time with loved ones can release oxytocin which is a natural stress reliever. Friends and family can also provide additional support by seeing your problems in new ways and suggesting different solutions. According to the APA, women are more likely to report more stress management activities that connect them to other people.

Self-Care

Prioritizing your self-care can be a wonderfully-effective stress management tool. From making sure you’re getting enough sleep to instilling healthy lifestyle habits across your diet and getting organized can all help set you up for success. Remember ladies, you can’t pour from an empty cup!

CBD for Stress

CBD has been celebrated for its promising, all-natural stress-relieving properties. Many studies, including this one, indicate the critical role that the endocannabinoid system has in regards to stress. While there needs to be a lot more clinical research done, the available preclinical and anecdotal data have been overwhelmingly positive for CBD’s ability to help alleviate the body’s stress response. By interacting with the endocannabinoid system and triggering cannabinoid signaling, CBD may help nudge all systems towards homeostasis while alleviating the emotional and physical response to stressful stimuli. Studies like this one and this one display the therapeutic promise that CBD has for coping with unmanaged chronic stress.    

How Can CBD Help Women With Stress?

Women can be more susceptible to certain conditions that lead to the body’s stress response and increased production of cortisol. These conditions include anxiety, insomnia, painful conditions, PMS, menopause, and more. While stress and anxiety are two very different things, they often go hand-in-hand, sharing many of the same physical and emotional symptoms and both taking a heavy toll on the body. Insomnia as well as anything that chronically disrupts sleep can also take a serious toll on how the body functions and reacts. Pain from injuries, menstrual cramps, menopause, and other chronic conditions can also be quite stressful. 

CBD may address all of these stressful stimuli, helping target some of the underlying physical and mental causes of stress. By interacting with the endocannabinoid system and naturally balancing cortisol levels while engaging the inhibitory feedback system that keeps the body’s overall inflammatory response in check, CBD may offer therapeutic value on multiple levels for helping women better manage stress. 

Tip: Try applying our Pause Healing Balm to your temples to help alleviate tension headaches caused by stress.

How to Use CBD for Stress

Since all cannabinoid therapy varies from person to person, this also is very true when it comes to stress management. The results and effectiveness highly vary on the person, the administration method, product cannabinoid profile, timing, and dosage. Some women find value when using CBD on an as-needed basis while others report needing to use it consistently in order to experience less stress overall.

We recommend self-experimenting with dosage and timing to find what works best for you. When it comes to understanding the effects of any new supplementation, it’s also wise to keep a journal where you track your dosage, timing, and stress. This can give you a clear set of data points for creating the proper CBD regimen for stress management and allowing you to better understand how it affects you. 

Press Pause CBD for Stress

As women, we understand the complicated nuances of our body chemistry and how it impacts our search for viable stress management tools. That’s why we’ve handcrafted our high-quality CBD products just for you. We’re always happy to help you find the right products for reducing stress and addressing the underlying causes. Please contact us for more information!    

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