The Stressed Super Hero Unmasked

Are you a super man, woman, mom, dad, colleague, boss, friend? Do you categorize yourself as someone who likes to be everything to everybody? Many women and men today exhibit symptoms of chronic stress and burn out from the effort expended believing the myth that they can do it all! Our brains may convince us that we can over-achieve; however, our hearts are breaking down from the valiant attempts to keep up with the exaggerated expectations of our thoughts and ideas. In his fascinating book, The Heart’s Code, Dr. Paul Pearsall helps us to understand that the over active brain can be a cause of heart disease. Also, the late Harriet Braiker in her book, The Type E Woman, urged women to stop holding themselves to impossibly high standards in many or all areas of their lives.

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Women’s Challenges Today

Did you see the recent stats in the Toronto Star about women? According to the article, women are going to be more alone in their future lifestyles. This will be the result of the rising divorce rate, male medical fatalities and women who are choosing to be on their own.

A disturbing statistic was the increase in female stroke and heart disease. As women take on more and more responsibility as single parents, caring for aging parents, and more senior positions in the workplace, stress and burn out symptoms increase and require a change in attitude and lifestyle.

In my professional work, there are some predictable patterns and issues that many women, and of course some men, present.

Women tend to be more ‘others’ focused, which means that they are more likely to know their families’ and friends’ needs more than their own. I believe that as women, from our past programming, we are connection, and relationship oriented. Our role models mostly taught us to focus on others, especially significant others, which has resulted in not giving ourselves enough nurturing and little acceptance of our own needs and wants.

Another issue that many women, and men struggle with, is the fear of being alone. While this fear can create much difficulty within a relationship, it becomes huge when individuals have to face life on their own.

Let’s look more deeply into these two challenges: self-nurturing and being alone.

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