Why stress is more likely to affect women than men
When it comes to the battle of the sexes, women are undeniably ahead in the health stakes - except when it comes to the critical issue of stress.
Australia's Health Report, which conducted more than 755,000 health checks in Priceline pharmacy stores over a two-year period, shows women are outperforming their male counterparts as the healthiest sex when it comes to BMI (47.9 per cent compared to 65.4 per cent), blood pressure (10.8 per cent to 14.8 per cent), diabetes (4 per cent to 5.8 per cent) and smoking prevalence (13.8 per cent to 18.1 per cent).
But stress was a key problem for women, with 8.8 per cent experiencing high stress levels compared to 5.1 per cent of males.
And while they may be expected to have the world at their feet, many 18-24 year olds face increased levels of stress due to COVID-19.
The report also found that Gen Z females are reporting more than triple the rate of high stress (17.3 per cent) compared to their Gen X parents (5.4 per cent).
"Stress triggers are different for everyone, across all generations, so it's important to recognise your personal triggers and how to keep these under control," Priceline pharmacist Justin Withers says.
Anuna Flaherty, 23, dealt with anxiety every day during her first year at university in 2020. She began visiting a psychologist who prescribed a low dose of medication to provide some relief.
"I had a great boyfriend, a great job and I got into the degree I wanted. There didn't seem to be a real red flag as to why I would be anxious," Flaherty says.
"It's so important to have people around you that you can talk to. I always work to be that person that people feel like they can come to and speak to about anything and without judgment."
Olivia Molly Rogers, former Miss Universe Australia and mental health advocate, says body image and conflict between work, personal goals and relationships are some of the big issues facing younger generations today.
She says it's important to write a list and prioritise what can be done versus what can wait.
"Set boundaries for yourself that will help reduce stress and plan out your day to include some free time to do things that make you feel good," she says.
"Take a warm relaxing bath filled with calming essential oils, practise some basic breathing exercises or call up a particularly funny friend."
Experts say identifying your child's emotional and behavioural reactions to stress is crucial, especially when anxieties are high.
"It's important for parents not to solve problems for children, but instead coach them to solve the problem for themselves," psychologist Michael Hawton says.
"If we don't, then children will not get the practise they need to resolve emotional problems themselves, which will lead to issues later in life."
Healthy living advocate and Priceline ambassador Ita Buttrose says, "Eating well, exercising regularly and a good night's sleep are the best ways to reduce stress and live a good life.
"Add chicken and fish to your diet and don't neglect your bone health - include milk, yoghurt and cheese."
Originally published as Why stress is more likely to affect women than men