Skip to content

Why Strong Women Have More Anxiety and 5 Ways They Can Cope

women have more anxiety

Your anxiety is not a reflection of your strength and your anxiety is not a deficit in your faith. I put a video out on Instagram where I talked about why your anxiety is not a deficit in your faith. I got a lot of good feedback from women that the video spoke to them. I encourage you to watch it. 

So here’s the thing- we are all experiencing an increased level of stress. It’s in the air. Even if you are enjoying your self-isolation, even if you are not really affected by the pandemic, the anxious energy is affecting you. And if you are reading this decade in the future it all still applies, because life brings stress.

Stress is caused by being ‘HERE’, but wanting to be 'THERE'

Stress Vs. Anxiety

Stress doesn’t have to equal anxiety, but it is definitely the gateway drug for anxiety. So, what’s the difference? Stress is external. It is a bombardment of outside things. Stress is moving, it’s having a baby, it’s losing a job, it’s a global pandemic. It’s happening outside of you. 

Anxiety is internal. When you open the door to stress and say “come on in! Mi casa es su casa”, stress has turned into anxiety, which is the physical and emotional manifestation of stress.

Managing Stress And Anxiety

Stress will always be there. I think we should work hard to remove drama from our lives, but it is not productive to try to remove stress. We need to know how to manage stress and manage anxiety when we have let stress in the door. And it’s also not possible to completely rid ourselves of anxiety. The people who seem to have done that are just super good at managing it, so that they are stopping it very early after it’s stuck its foot in the door.

High Functioning Anxiety

I have a number of clients who judge their own anxiety. They are strong women who feel that if they are strong enough, if their faith is deep enough, if they are smart enough, then they wouldn’t have anxiety. But anxiety is a human condition. If even Jesus experienced anxiety (watch my insta video where I talk about that), then you will too, because you can not escape your humanity until you are dead.

Read How To Live More Authentically? Why You Need To Shed Your Masks

What Is A Strong Woman?

First, let’s just get a working definition of a strong woman. I have begun this definition of what I think a strong woman is. I don’t feel like it’s perfect yet, but it’s a good base for what we’re talking about today.

A strong woman is someone who shares her opinions and speaks her truth-  even when she is afraid. She listens but refuses to accept other problems as her own. She can be leaned on but is nobody’s doormat. She leads well but possesses the wisdom to submit to leadership. She takes calculated risks and makes her failures work for her. She knows when to persevere and when to quit. She prays for wisdom over wealth or power. She is filled with kindness, generosity, faith, compassion, integrity, and a willingness to be vulnerable. No matter what, she is true to herself.

Strong Women Don’t Have An Attitude

If you are thinking, “but I’m not strong… That definition is not me!” Please know that is an aspirational definition. No one is all of that, all of the time. I am not, nor will I likely ever be on a consistent basis. But that is who I strive to be. And in striving, I get closer and more consistent every day.

Read 10 Things Strong Women Love About Men

Why Strong Women Have More Anxiety

Strong women (and those striving to be) sometimes have an extra dose of anxiety for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, strong women take on more stress. If you are adept at what you do, if you have grown stronger in an area or multiple areas of your life, you will naturally take on more than a woman who has not, which increases opportunities for anxiety to take hold.

Secondly, strong women are smarter. Why do I say that? Because it takes a level of intelligence to pursue strength. Surviving something is not the same as becoming strong. Becoming strong is a purposeful journey. We have to work through the mind’s natural inclination to acquiesce to life’s burdens. So, strong women are smarter, and guess what? The higher your IQ, the more you are likely to experience anxious feeling

It really is true that ignorance is bliss. If you don’t understand all the possible ways that something can go wrong, you are going to be considerably less stressed than someone who is quite aware.

So anxiety is not a weakness, it can actually be a byproduct of strength. Your anxiety is also a not a deficit in your faith, but is a byproduct of allowing stress in the door.

Tools To Cope With Anxiety

Now we understand the flip side to strength can be anxiety, but the light in this tunnel is that we also have the mental capacity and strength to tackle it just like we do all the other things in our lives.

1. There’s a great app called Headspace.

I have used it and my clients have been raving about it.
I highly suggest it for helping to tackle anxiety. 

2. Worry productively.

Part of being a strong woman is having some wisdom. Wisdom sees the big picture. Looking ahead can cause worry. Looking behind caused depression. When I speak to strong women about staying in the moment, I often get the push back. “Well, I have to plan. I have to see ahead. I need to plan for what might happen.” And they are right. Yes, you do. But we often mislabel worrying for planning. 

A Day Of Worry Is More Exhausting, Than A Day Of Work

Planning is not the problem. It’s a worry. What we often do is come up with all the possible horror story scenarios and we never resolve them in our minds, and that causes anxiety. If you are going to plan for all possible outcomes, then you must also take the time to plan the resolution of those outcomes. If this happens: this will be my plan of action. That is productive worrying. My next tip is:

3. When you are feeling overwhelmed, you must enlist help.

Create a mantra for yourself: ‘done is better than perfect, perfect doesn’t exist’.
Repeat that please, because good enough can be amazing.

Read Depressed And Anxious Teens: Experts Give Practical Advice On How To Help (Including Checklists)

4.  Exercise daily and do progressive muscle relaxation exercises daily.

Lay on the bed or couch- you can do it in a chair at work if necessary. Identify a muscle group like your arm or leg.
Tighten it as tight as you can get it and hold for 10 seconds, then release. Do this all over your body once or twice.
It helps to relieve tension held in your body.

5.  Never avoid your fears.

This actually grows them. Confront them, while minimize unnecessary triggers like watching the news. 

Anxiety can get the best of any of us. Recognize it for what it is, enlist the help of others, and practice tools to take care of yourself. 

You’ve got this!

Please share this article with anyone who you may think will find it valuable and helpful.

Written by: Dr. Zoe Shaw
Originally appeared on:
Republished with permission
women have more anxiety pin
women have more anxiety pinop

Dr. Zoe Shaw

Dr. Zoe Shaw is a licensed psychotherapist and experienced relationship expert who loves doling out spot- on advice with an empathic voice. She received her education at UCLA (BA in clinical psychology) and Pepperdine University (Psy.D. In Clinical Psychology). Her passion is helping women in difficult relationships, including that sometimes difficult one with themselves. Visit her website for more relationship help Author posts

Leave a Reply

Up Next

How to Reclaim Your Power Absorbed by Anxiety: 5 Ways

Ways Reclaim Power Back Absorbed By Anxiety

Anxiety can take a lot from you, and dealing with it all the time can be exhausting, to say the least. But all hope is not lost, because there are a few things you can do to reclaim your power back, that has been taken by your anxiety.

The therapy session began with a standard, open-ended check-in. My client answered just as she had the two weeks prior. It had been another "bad week," full of obstacles that triggered her anxiety and resulted in exhaustion.

With some encouragement, she was able to identify a few positives, validate a specific effort, and affirm two reps she acquired. Rather than her diagnosis serving as a framework to make sense of her symptoms and behavioral patterns, it seemed to have become her identity.

Her anxiety had gained an exorbitant amount of power and contin

Up Next

What Is Relationship Anxiety? Signs, Causes, & How To Overcome

Signs Of Relationship Anxiety

Every relationship has its share of disagreements and resolutions. However, dealing with relationship anxiety can make your love life stressful. Learn the signs, causes, and how to overcome them.

Anxiety is common at the beginning of a relationship, but relationship anxiety can continue for the long term. It refers to intense worry, fear, doubt, and insecurity about a relationship and is associated with interpersonal dependency and interpersonal avoidance. Insecurity about ourselves, our boundaries, and our self-esteem can cause relationship anxiety. Women are more prone to this than men.

What Is Relationship Anxiety?

It’s a form or symptom of codependency rooted in

Up Next

25 Quick Ways To Boost Your Mood When You’re Having A Bad Day

things to boost your mood need it most

Having a bad day? Feeling the blues? Stress and frustration are a part of our daily lives. Not only can it affect our mood but also our behavior, actions, and interactions. This is why it is crucial that you learn some quick ways to boost your mood and feel happier instantly. 

Mood matters

Shit happens. Sometimes we ignore it and go on with our day, other times it can really hit a nerve and make us feel immensely frustrated. We know we should let go of these negative emotions, but it just seems to get stuck with us and pull our mood down throughout the entire day. Whether you spilled your coffee, burned your food, stepped on dog poop or got into another argument with your toxic coworker, small things have the potential to ruin your entire day. But there are ways to turn your day around and

Up Next

Causes Of Mental Health Issues: 6 Common Risk Factors, According To Science

main causes of mental health issues

It is truly unfortunate that even in this day and age, mental health is still burdened with stigma. Understanding the causes of mental health issues can not only help us spread awareness but also seek and provide help to those who need it.

The ugly reality of mental illness

Did you know that around 280 million people across the globe suffer from depression? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 7,00,000 peop

Up Next

10 Anxious Behaviors That Could Actually Be Trauma Responses

Anxious Behaviors That Could Actually Be Trauma Responses

Developing anxiety due to trauma is a normal response to the pain you suffer. Experiencing trauma can lead you to exhibit several anxious responses; read on to know more about these 10 anxious behaviors that are actually trauma responses.

Key Points:

Viewing anxious behaviors through a trauma-informed lens teaches us that there is usually a reason for them. Developing an understanding of our anxious behaviors can show us that there is nothing "wrong" with us. Learning not to take things personally can help us understand loved ones with the same traits. While having one or two of these behaviors is probably normal, if you find you can relate to most or all of them, they might point to anxiety.