Aha! For the longest time I've been wondering if the horrific headlines I read every day are wreaking havoc on my mental health, and according to a new study ... they are! Apparently, women are way more disturbed by disturbing news stories than men -- to the point where we're so traumatized, we have a harder time dealing with stressful situations in our own lives. So let's say you and your husband both read the same article about a nightmarish kidnapping or suicide bombing or freak accident one morning before you both leave for work. By the time you guys get home, your husband has completely forgetten every haunting detail of the incident -- while you, meanwhile, wasted most of your day at the office Googling still more haunting details.
Sound familiar? This is serious stuff, too. Sad, scary stories don't just make us kinda bummed out, they put us at greater risk for PTSD.
And here's the weirdest part: In the study, those skyrocketing stress levels didn't show up right away. It was later on that cortisol levels in the women's saliva measured way higher than the men's. Which means ... what?
Researchers aren't sure, but here's my personal theory: We brood. Women brood and mull and turn things over and over again in our minds. Which is not to say that men don't, but most guys seem to be a lot better at sorting incoming info into two piles: Relevant to daily life, irrelevant to daily life. They can dump the irrelevant stuff. But to us, EVERYTHING is relevant. That kidnapped child could have been OUR child! What if it was our house that got swept away by a tornado?!
Anyway. Researchers also aren't sure what we're supposed to do to fix and/or cope with this, which is kind of just like MORE bad news. Sigh. Guess we just need to put more effort into de-stressing.
Do horrible news stories make you upset for a long time?
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