Worried Sick? Send Stress Away!

A recent survey shows women hit their "stress peak" at age 34


A recent survey shows women hit their “stress peak” at age 34 and have their lowest amount of stress at age 25. As you might have guessed, as women approach their mid-thirties, that stress is all about balancing bills, work and family. Experts say instead of getting worried sick, there are strategies to not only survive, but bounce back from stress.

It can be an unexpected annoyance, like a traffic jam. Or, every day feeling you’re racing to do too much. Sociology professor Deborah Carr, PhD, Rutgers University in New Jersey, wrote the book Worried Sick: How Stress Hurts Us and How to Bounce Back. She says the number one major worry for every adult is exactly the same.

“Financial worries tend to be at the top of the list,” Carr said.

But for women, number two is something she calls ‘network events.’

“A spouse is having a hard time at work, or a child is being bullied at school, all of those stressors can really take a toll on our emotional health,” Carr told Ivanhoe.

Think of the three P’s — pause, third party and pay it forward. At the first sign of stress, pause. Imagine the worst-case scenario. Then remind yourself it’s unlikely the very worst will happen.

“That process of taking a small to medium stressor and blowing it out of proportion in one’s mind prevents effective coping,” Carr said.

You can also reach out to a third party or a friend for support. If doing too much is stressing you out, Carr says pay it forward. Find someone who wants more responsibility, which will lighten your load and gives them the chance to shine. Your stress could be their success!

“You view it as a stressor because you have too much going on, but for other people that activity or social engagement might actually be something that could benefit them in some way,” Carr said.

Finally, think of stress like exercise. Carr says working through it makes you stronger for the next crisis that comes along. Other experts suggest another “P” as a way to cope with stress: push past procrastination. And some say scheduling daily “worry time,”15 or 20 minutes to think about your stressors and write them down can also be an effective way to cope.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Field Producer; Amber Sumpter, News Assistant; Kirk Manson, Videographer and Brent Sucher, Editor.