Women and the Happiness Gap

Today I read an interesting story in the NY Times about the growing happiness gap between men and women. There have been a bunch of these out lately, piggybacking on a volume of research that suggests that men and women are not equally happy. In fact, women are decidedly more glum, exhausted and frazzled than our male counterparts. According to the newest stuff out, this gap is already apparent as early as high school. Thus, it is not simply a matter of more housework or childcare duties than our husbands or partners. Though, later on, those sorts of issues do play a big part.

I am interested in this because I am in the business of helping people be happy. And, we live in times in which people are under relentless pressure to be happy, with little room to actually revel in a sense of well-being once we actually stumble upon it. Because, being happy is often called complacency. And, who wants to appear unmotivated? Women, it appears are unhappy not just because they are juggling more kinds of responsibilities than our grandmothers, but because we’re supposed to look so darn good while doing it. College girls report that they are miserable because while they are busy gettings A’s on their physics exams and dominating the field at Lacrosse, they are supposed to be doing it with 10 layers of MAC makeup and a size 2 rear end. I worry deeply about the young women in my office overwhelmed by pressure to be good enough on so many levels, mostly because the “good enough” bar for women has moved so much and in so many directions the past few decades.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and out of step with your goals, counseling may be of great help to you. Come join me for a women’s group dedicated to improving self-esteem and relationship skills. Call or email me for more details.

Your Partner in Healing,



twitter ID: HollyCoxLMFT

If you would like a FREE 30-MINUTE CONSULTATION to see how I can help you have your best year yet, please call me at 407.913.4988 or email holly@lotustherapycenter.com

2 Replies to “Women and the Happiness Gap”

  1. This is such an interesting concept. I was discussing it with a coworker of mine just today. How exhausting it must be for a someone to constantly feel the need to live up to an illusion. Imagine how silly we would find someone who said, “You should be a unicorn when you grow up. Look all the unicorns in this movie. That’s what you should be. Get as close to being a unicorn as you can, otherwise, no one will accept you”. That is how silly it should seem, that one would suggest you should be something else, something that may or may not even exist.

    I would desire a world where a person could be exactly as there, with full comprehension of how beautiful that is.

    1. That unicorn analogy is totally golden! I’m going to put it in my back pocket for future use. I’ll credit you in my memoirs.

      You’re right, It is pretty silly. But I am seeing a distinct uptick in the number of gals who come in battling extraordinary GUILT is the only word for it. They actually feel responsible for sort of…improving the landscape for everyone else by looking super cute. These are successful, warm, unique people who are willing to ignore all their accomplishments in order to focus on what they increasingly perceive to be a crisis of character. “If I were more disciplined I would be…(insert thinner, up earlier to straighten my hair, more tan, etc.). This makes me incredibly sad too.

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