How to Handle Stress Like a Man
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How to Handle Stress Like a Man

It's 10 p.m. You know where your kids are, but you don't know why you're still so frazzled, while your husband is utterly relaxed.

Can women learn men's stress-busting strategies? Yes, says M. Pilar Matud, PhD, professor of psychology at Universidad de La Laguna, in Spain, the author of a new study of gender and stress. Men tend to treat difficulties as problems to be solved and get less emotionally involved. "They create solutions by finding logical explanations for problems," Dr. Matud says.

To do likewise, examine a stressful situation like a detective, assessing causes, motives, and solutions. Say your kids fight all evening long. Rationally, you know they don't hate each other, so consider other explanations: They're overstimulated, they're overtired. Think about what you've tried before. If lectures and timeouts haven't helped, maybe an earlier bedtime would. Finally, look at the big picture: "Men put situations in perspective," Matud says.

If you can't solve an issue, evaluate whether it's worth losing sleep over, and if not, write it off as an unsolved mystery.


Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal magazine, January 2005.