DO Men and Women Have Different Brains?
Is there some physical reason that stress makes men want to punch, and women want to cry?
Yes! Neuroscientists now insist that men and women truly DO have different brains.
Many books and movies highlight the psychological differences between men and women — Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus, for example. And now brain image studies of men and women under stress proves its all true – male and female brains do differ in response to stressful situations. In men, increased blood flow to the left orbitofrontal cortex activates the “fight or flight” response. In women, stress activates the limbic system associated with emotional responses.
Researchers induced moderate performance stress by asking the men and women to count backward by 13, starting at 1,600. Researchers monitored the subject’s heart rate. They also measured the blood flow to the brain and checked for cortisol, a stress hormone. Neuroscientists say the changes in the brain during stress response also lasted longer in women.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT: Certain events act as “stressors,” triggering the nervous system to produce hormones to respond to a perceived danger. Specifically — the adrenal glands produce adrenaline and cortisol and release them into the bloodstream. This speeds up both heart and breathing rates, increases blood pressure and contractions in major muscle groups. These and other physical changes help us to react quickly and effectively under pressure.
This stress response is commonly called the *fight or flight response.* But even low levels of continuous stress can damage your health. The nervous system remains slightly activated and continues to pump out extra stress hormones over an extended period, leaving you feeling depleted or overwhelmed, and weakening your immune system. And equally undesirable is the fact that stress KILLS brain cells.
STRESS-REDUCING TIPS: There are several practical things you can do to reduce the amount of stress in your life: (1) Try not to over-schedule your time, (2) Cut something out when you start to feel overwhelm. (3) Get a good night’s sleep. (4) Get regular exercise. (5) Follow a healthy diet. (6) Learn to relax. (7) Use brainwave training to train your brain to handle stress better.