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Doctors Sylvia and Milton Gearing have been serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1985 with compassion and professionalism.

The Gearings implement the latest in psychological research to stay at the cutting edge of their field and bring the most effective and life changing techniques to their clients.

Their methods and strategies have been sharpened over the years, and are now built upon Gearing Up’s Three Gears of Change.

How Women Stress Over Money - Nov 20, 2008

How Women Stress Over Money

November 20, 2008

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, TXA 21 News

With the rollercoaster stock market, new jobless rates and the housing and auto markets in peril, millions of Americans are experiencing daily financial stress. While the recent economic woes have affected all of us, new research from the American Psychological Association indicates that women are bearing the brunt of the current economic stress. Here to explain these findings is TXA 21 Contributing Psychologist, Dr. Sylvia Gearing.

Q: Why are women having a tougher time with the economic crisis?

Dr. Sylvia: Women are more intense feelers when compared to men. We have twice the emotional memory brain space than men, which accounts for our unique ability to remember every slight and nuance. On tests of empathy, emotional responsiveness, nurturance and affection, girls and women get higher scores than men every time. Our brains are built to feel. When women are thinking sad thoughts, such as ruminations about the economy, our brains are eight times more active than men's. The bottom line is we have much more access to our feelings and we "own" our own emotional weather.

Q: Aren't men equally concerned about the struggling economy?

Dr. Sylvia: They are deeply concerned and 75% of them (compared to 84% of women polled) are admitting it. However, men do not "enter and exit "emotions as readily as women do since they have fewer neurological highways connecting parts of their brain. As a result, they prefer to take one emotion at a time and stay away from the powerful ones, like worry and stressing out, to maintain their emotional equilibrium.

Q: What happens when men start to stress and worry?

Dr. Sylvia: They attempt to "zip" up their emotions quickly to avoid the flooding that comes if they get too upset. They primarily use distractions such as sports and the Internet to refocus their attention. This phenomenon explains why men shut down quickly in arguments with their wives. However, once the images of economic doom and uncertainty are fully implemented, their breathing will accelerate, their muscles will tense and their adrenaline will take their heartbeat to over 100 beats per minute. At that point, they don't integrate anything you're saying to them and they are officially overwhelmed.

Q: Does a woman's financial stress increase with age?

Dr. Sylvia: Unrelenting stress is bad for any woman but it is especially lethal for older women. Women age forty-five and older report feeling more anxious about money and this chronic worry could impact their health over time. Pervasive and persistent stress that focuses on catastrophic outcomes lowers physical immunity. Over time, such stress will shorten your life. Women lose the protection of estrogen at menopause and heart disease can become a real issue with chronic stress for a mature woman. We know that pessimistic women are more vulnerable to sustained stress and at greater risk for chronic diseases.

Q: How does financial stress affect a woman in her relationship?

Dr. Sylvia: Marital arguments for women can become a health factor since they weaken the female immune system. This is especially true in older women. Women generate more stress hormones because they are more attuned to negative behaviors in their relationships and are more sensitive to arguments. Worst of all, we flood longer with adrenaline and cortisol after a fight which subjects our bodies to more damage over time.

Q: What are some tips for our viewers on keeping that economic stress at bay?

Dr. Sylvia:

Uncertainty is Lethal: Helplessness is the generator of stress and it thrives in an era of economic uncertainty which keeps us in a constant state of hyper arousal. Studies show that uncontrollable life events combined with unpredictability can centrally impact physical immunity. When things are uncertain, resilient people focus on what they can control and minimize factors that cannot be controlled.

This Too Shall Pass: Whatever you are facing is transitory--it will pass! Tough economic times create stress champions who summon their best resources and greatest strengths when challenged. Do not allow the challenging economic times to dictate who you are and what you do. Your welfare is more important than what is going on around you!

Pause But Don't Panic: If you hear more bad economic news, pause, listen and then move on. Filling your head with catastrophic images will prevent the very problem solving you must have in order to survive the economic storms.

Calm, Focused and Determined Minds: Remember that your odds of beating adversity are exponentially higher if you remain calm, focused and doggedly determined to succeed. Sustainable hope, a steely focus and self initiative may be the real lessons in this economy for us all!