Why do so many women over 40 struggle with stress?

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According to the experts, it all starts with perimenopause: the 10 or so years before the menopause, which kicks in at around the age of 51. Photo: Pexels


(Lorraine Candy/ The Guardian) — Have you found out about your windows of tolerance yet: those moments when you feel fully capable of handling any stress life throws at you? Our tolerance shrinks and expands to suit our needs, but these “windows of tolerance” are a funny thing for women, as I have just discovered, because they unexpectedly disappear when we hit midlife. Sometimes they’re just tiny cracks in the glass and yet you feel you can’t tolerate any stress ever again. It’s a contrary conundrum, as you’d expect life experience and maturity would increase your ability to cope, wouldn’t you?

However, for an army of midlife women the turmoil of this life stage often inexplicably whips away our ability to deal with difficult situations overnight, from the simplest family problems to the biggest career dilemmas. Any amount of stress seems to overwhelm us. I know this not just because I am a woman in my 50s and I’ve been through it, but because I have interviewed many women over the past four years in my role as co-host of the Postcards from Midlife podcast and author of What’s Wrong With me? 101 Things Midlife Women Need to Know.

Again and again, women over the age of 40 told me they, too, had been ambushed by a sudden inability to deal with stress. Yet it’s something we rarely talk about. I mean, I forgot which side of the road to drive on at one point in my late 40s I felt so demented with stress (not something you really want to talk about out loud). (…)

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