Stress and Health

Stress and Health - Stress and Health I. EXPERIENCING...

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Stress and Health I. EXPERIENCING STRESS A. Background Info 1. Stress : physical and psychological reactions to demanding situations 2. Stressors : demanding or threatening situations that produce stress B. The Stress Response 1. Physiological Reactions a. Hans Seyle – General Adaptation Syndrome 1) Reaction to stress is general and nonspecific 2) 3 Phases: a) Alarm : flight-or-fight response (1) Body becomes energized with the activation of the sympathetic nervous system (2) Enables us to get out of life-threatening situations (3) Can’t last for very long b) Resistance : body adjusts to continuing threat (1) People are able to function reasonably well (2) Particularly susceptible to stressors in environment (3) May suffer from health problems (a) “ Diseases of Adaptation” c) Exhaustion : energy resources depleted; body starts to give up (1) Resistance declines to a point at which stress reaction becomes more and more maladaptive (2) Death becomes possibility 2. Psychological Reactions a. Reaction to a threat 1) Fear 2) Anger b. Stressful situations 1) Sadness 2) Dejection 3) Grief c. Benefits 1) 2) Learn useful things about themselves and their abilities confidence 3) At times, lead to release of hormones that are health enhancing 3. Gender Differences a. Males – flight-or-fight response b. Females – “tending and befriending” behavior 1) 2) Aggression is a secondary response 3) More likely to maintain social networks that potentially aid in protecting themselves & offspring C. Cognitive Appraisal 1. Stress closely related to concept of emotion b/c experience of stress is greatly influenced by the way we perceive or appraise the situation 2. To feel stress: a. Perceive some kind of demand or threat present b. Conclude that you may not have adequate resources available to deal with that threat 1) Ex. If you have a black belt in martial arts, sudden appearance of an unarmed thug is not likely to cause much stress 3. Cognitive Appraisal : idea that in order to feel stress you need to perceive a threat and come to the conclusion that you may not have adequate resources to deal with the threat a. Identical environmental events can lead to 2 very different stress reactions, depending on how the event is interpreted 1) Small child who doesn’t know that a loaded gun is dangerous, so they may not feel stress while handling it 4. Cortisol = important stress hormone
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Stress and Health - Stress and Health I. EXPERIENCING...

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