Men and women are different in almost every aspect. As is described in a book called Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gary: “Once upon a time Martians and Venusians met, fell in love, and had happy relationships together because they respected and accepted their differences.
Then they came to Earth and amnesia set in: they forgot they were from different planets.” Differences between men and women have long since been a topic discussed again and again. Men and women have different ways of thinking and behavior.
Men and women have different needs of emotion. These differences can be seen everywhere, so it is natural that they deal with workplace stress in different ways.
Have a look at the following scene:
Tom came back home. He just wanted to read newspapers quietly to relax and free himself from the work of the day. Though there was still some work unresolved, he wanted to forget it, even temporarily, so as to get a feeling of relaxation.
Mary at the moment, however, wanted to relax too, but in a different way. She hungered for a listener. Then it was unavoidable that there’d be a conflict between them.
Having a better understanding of the different ways adopted by men and women may ease the tension in a family, and it can facilitate the harmony of a workplace, too.
When stuck in a stress, men usually resort to some strategies which may be considered fight/flight response, as is well-known.
Some women take negative measures too, such as overeating to release their stress.
Most women, however, usually have another kind of reaction. Their response could be called “tend and befriend”. That is to say, they often relieve their stress by protecting and giving more care to their children or by talking to their friends or others – especially other females.
When women say they need to talk and talk and talk some more to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress, they are not kidding.
Therefore, men and women should learn more about their individual differences by recognizing and studying their own strengths and weaknesses, including their different ways of dealing with workplace stress. Only in this way can they live harmoniously with each other, both at home and at the workplace.
Take Tom and Mary for example once more:
The purpose of Tom’s reading books was to ease or eliminate the stress from the work of the day.
It was not surprising that he could put his mind to his wife and his family because the burden from his work had disappeared temporarily and his wife’s happiness could make it easier for him to relax.
From this case we can see, if women can let men take a break or if men can give that little bit of extra talking, cuddling or reassurance we might have a lot fewer fights or emotional disconnects.
Stressful moments might even lead to feeling understood rather than misunderstood. If it could be, why not let it be?
Plus, the responses made under stress have much to do with the physical situations. Researchers find that women’s rate of stress-related disorders such as hypertension, aggressive behavior, etc is obviously lower than that of men.
The tend-and-befriend regulatory system may protect women against stress. So, men should learn more from women in dealing with workplace stress.