As a voice coach, I have found that 95% of my female clientele experience soreness in their neck and shoulder regions by the end of the day. Many women complain of a sore jaw as well. Having worked with thousands of people, it is interesting to note that I have had only a handful of male clientele who complain of pain in these areas.
Why the difference?
Because we women carry our stress differently than men; and, we tend to become more aware of it by the end of the day. While I haven’t done a controlled study on the subject, I have found that the stress men carry is more likely to affect them in their digestive tract: it is a medical fact that men are more susceptible to peptic ulcers than women.
I would also venture to say that the mothers of earlier generations did not experience the tremendous amount of stress that women today are carrying.
Again, why the difference?
Because our lifestyles have changed drastically since that of our mothers or our grandmothers. We are faced not only with the stress which comes from raising children and managing a household but the tremendous pressure placed on us by our careers or jobs.
Look at it this way: for the stay-at-home mom who oversaw her kids’ whereabouts throughout the day, there was not the same pressure on her to ‘to spend quality time with her children’ as there is today for the mom who picks up her children from daycare and then has to provide dinner, do the laundry, run some errands, take the kids to soccer or baseball practice, give them a bath, read to them, etc. The list goes on and on. And that list is considered the ‘small’ stuff. We women are built to sweat the small stuff because we are geared for multi-tasking; however, add to our multi-tasking the problems of the job or the career and we are on overload. The pressure really is enormous.
So how do we combat this tension? There are so many articles, books, and mp3’s on alleviating, reducing, eliminating and dealing with stress and yet most of these programs do not emphasize the most important thing you can do. Better negotiation or organization of your time is certainly a must but it will not stop the ache in your shoulders or neck until you do one very simple thing:
learn to breathe with the support of your diaphragm
I guarantee you will notice a tremendous difference in how you deal with stress, in how you can eliminate more of your stress, and how you can actually feel good by the end of the day.
If you would like more information on diaphragmatic breathing, check out my video on YouTube.