Of the two genders, there is a stereotype that women are much more “emotional” than men. While it is certainly true that by nature women are more focused on their emotions and refer to them more commonly in conversation than men, both the genders will experience emotions and emotional reactions to different stimuli and situations. What is interesting is that men and women can experience their emotions differently, and for different reasons. With so many potential emotional responses possible, here we focus on some of the more significant differences between men and women and their emotions.
There is a common stereotype that men should not show their emotions and that “real men” do not cry or get upset. This as a result is often the view that women have of men. There is an element of truth in this idea, and compared to the more emotional in tune women, men certainly show the world at a whole less of their emotional side. However, men do express their emotions. Compared to women, men often show their emotions to less people, and often only to their nearest and dearest. Also compared to women, men will display their emotions with less intensity, and tend to down play how they are feeling. Men tend to have a greater control over their emotions and what they will display to the world, possibly due to having more difficulty displaying emotion than women.
Often emotional differences between men and women come down to their physiological make-up. For example, while the same group of neurons in the brains of both men and women process emotional experiences of fear and aggression, these neurons are connected to different regions of the brain in men and women. For women, these neurons connect to areas of the brain regulating internal areas of the body, thus focusing on aspects such as her hormones, blood pressure and respiration. On the other hand, these same neurons in men will connect to areas of the brain focused on the external areas, including vision and movement. This will cause a significant difference in the behaviour of a man and woman experiencing the same stressful situation.
Many men will often express emotions such as rage or frustrations significantly more than other emotions such as depression. This is thought to be because these emotions are considered by many to be “male emotions”, that is, emotions that men will commonly display. For a man concerned about how it looks displaying how he feels, these are emotions he would feel much more comfortable displaying. In some situations too, these reactions can be admired too.
Although a man may feel comfortable keeping how he feels to himself, if you are concerned that he is not being open enough or bottling up negative emotions, it may be worth encouraging him to open up to you and developing a relationship in which he feels comfortable talking to you. Of course, this may feel uncomfortable for him, and in these situations he may feel more comfortable using an emotions diary to record how he is feeling. This technique allows not only for his emotions to be recorded and out in the open, but also for him to face exactly how he feels, and use this expression to move forwards and improve on his mood.