Stress resides in the mind. However its ramifications are manifested in the body too. A study that proves—yet again— this mind-body connection was carried by a research team at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Under the Population Study of Women in Gothenburg, they tracked over 1,500 women since the late 1960s. Almost 20% of all women were highly stressed [stress lasting for five years] amd most of them were around 40 – 60 years old.
In about 40 per cent of the women who were highly stressed, long-term stress led to some kind of physical complaint : Aches and pain in their muscles and joints. Some [28 per cent] showed signs of headaches or migraines, and some [again 28 per cent ]reported problems with their digestive system.
“Even when the results have been adjusted for smoking, BMI and physical activity, we can see a clear link between perceived stress and an increased incidence of psychosomatic symptoms,” says Dominique Hange, researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.
“Since 1968, women’s lifestyles have changed in many ways,” continues Dominique Hange. “For example, many more women now work outside the home. Naturally, these changes can affect the experience of stress. But although we’ve used exactly the same question ever since 1968, we can’t take it for granted that the term ‘stress’ has exactly the same meaning today. It might also be more socially accepted today to acknowledge one’s experience of stress. The most important conclusion is that single women, women who do not work outside the home and women who smoke are particularly vulnerable to stress. Here, we see a greater need for preventive measures from society.”