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Mary Hayashi – Stress Awareness Month

Stress awareness month - Mary Hayashi

The disparity in mental health issues between genders “is a significant public health issue that deserves our attention” – Mary Hayashi


Mary Hayashi – Stress Awareness Month, which takes place in April each year, provides an opportunity to educate the public about the causes and consequences of stress. One issue that I, Mary Hayashi have been particularly concerned about is the gender differences in stress levels. According to a 2016 study published in The Journal of Brain & Behavior, women are twice as likely to suffer from severe stress and anxiety as men. The American Psychological Association also reports a consistent gender gap in stress levels year after year, with women consistently reporting higher stress levels than men. This disparity is a significant public health issue that deserves our attention. In this blog post, I will explore the gender gap in stress levels, its causes, and its impact on women’s health. I will also provide practical strategies for managing stress and improving mental health as recommended by the Mary Hayashi campaign.


Understanding Stress

As a healthcare advocate, I, Mary Hayashi, understand that stress is a common experience for many individuals. Stress can be defined as a physiological response to a perceived threat or challenge. It is a natural part of the body’s fight or flight response, which helps us to respond to danger. However, when stress becomes chronic or overwhelming, it can negatively affect our mental and physical health.


Many common causes of stress include work, financial pressures, relationship issues, health problems, and significant life changes. In addition, some individuals may also experience stress related to discrimination, oppression, or other systemic problems.


According to the American Psychological Association, stress can be classified into different types, including acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress. Acute stress is a short-term response to a specific event or situation, such as a job interview or a near-miss car accident. Repeated episodes of acute stress characterize episodic acute stress and are often associated with individuals who have a chaotic or disorganized lifestyle. Chronic stress, on the other hand, is a long-term response to ongoing stressors, such as a stressful work environment or a complicated relationship. Chronic stress can significantly impact physical and mental health, contributing to conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression.

“Chronic stress can significantly impact physical and mental health, contributing to conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression.” – Mary Hayashi


The Gender Gap in Stress Levels

I am particularly concerned about the gender gap in stress levels and several contributing factors. One major factor is the societal expectations placed on women, including the pressure to balance work, family, and caregiving responsibilities. Women are more likely to be the primary caregiver for children, elderly relatives, or individuals with disabilities, which can create additional stressors. Additionally, women may face discrimination, harassment, or other forms of gender-based violence, contributing to stress levels.


The consequences of stress on women’s health are significant. Chronic stress can lead to various health problems, including cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. In addition, women who experience high-stress levels are also more likely to engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as smoking or overeating, which can further exacerbate health problems.


Coping Strategies for Women

Providing women with tools and strategies to manage stress and improve their mental health is important. Women can incorporate many self-care practices into their daily lives to help manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, deep breathing, or engaging in creative activities. In addition, women must prioritize their needs and take time for themselves, even if it means saying no to additional responsibilities or commitments.


For some women, seeking professional help may be necessary to manage their stress levels. This could involve talking to a therapist or counselor who can provide support and guidance on coping strategies. It may also include consulting with a healthcare provider to address any physical health concerns related to stress, such as high blood pressure or chronic pain.


Building a strong support network is also an important aspect of managing stress. This can involve connecting with friends, family, or community groups who can provide emotional support and encouragement. It may also involve joining a support group or seeking online resources and forums.


Women need to remember that they are not alone in their experiences of stress and anxiety. Women can improve their mental health and overall well-being by prioritizing self-care, seeking professional help when necessary, and building a support network.


The gender gap in stress levels is a pressing issue that affects women’s health and well-being, and I, former CA Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, urge all readers to take the issue seriously. Recognizing and managing stress can improve our overall well-being and create a healthier, happier society for all. So let us prioritize mental health, not just during but every day of the year.


“The gender gap in stress levels is a pressing issue that affects women’s health and well-being, and I, former CA Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, urge all readers to take the issue seriously.” – Mary Hayashi


About Mary Hayashi

Mary Hayashi is a respected healthcare leader and former California State Assemblymember. She has over two decades of experience in healthcare and public service, having served on several boards and committees related to health policy and advocacy. During her time in the Assembly, Hayashi authored vital legislation to improve access to healthcare and mental health services, particularly for underserved and vulnerable communities. She is also a strong advocate for the rights of patients and healthcare workers. Hayashi’s work has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including the California Primary Care Association’s “Legislator of the Year” award and the Women’s Foundation of California’s “Women’s Policy Maker Award.” Today, Hayashi continues to be a passionate voice for healthcare reform and mental health issues, advocating for increased investment in resources for mental health professionals and better care for all. Learn more about Mary and her mental health advocacy here.

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