What is Stress?
Non-specific responses of the body to any demands made on it.
Eustress (Good Stress) “The salt of life” – adrenaline, blood flow patterns
Distress (Bad Stress) “The kiss of death” – feeling sick, sweating
Impact of Stress
(Model) – if there is no stress, then I am bored. Stress is needed in order to meet
challenges and improve performance. But too much distress can lead to poor health.
- Gene Expression (immune function, aging)
WWII fighter pilots had been monitored because we knew their stress levels were
important to their performance.
Your jaw and your waist are the quickest things to tighten up when you feel stress. (ie.
Dogs backed into a corner have tension in their jaw in order to bite.)
Impairs cognitive tasks
Impairs perceptual tasks
Impairs problem solving
Even doing a simple task such as naming cards (ie. 9 of clubs, 8 of diamonds) was
difficult for the fighter pilots due to breathing problems affecting the brain.
BREATHE to think (and learn) most clearly
- 12-15 br/min is average, seated
- Near 6 br/min elicits good heart rate variability
- From the diaphragm
Longer blow out
- Exhale longer than inhale
Stress ages us. Each time a normal cell divides, telomeres – bits of DNA at the ends of its
chromosomes – get a little shorter. When the telomeres get too short, the cell can no
longer divide and ultimately dies. Dwindling telomeres may be a major factor in the
bodies aging process. Models of stress - and it’s impact on health
1. General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS)
(See the models in notes – GAS & Effects of Stress)
Eliciting the stress response
Instantly – nerves
Perpetuating the response
- Short term hormones (adrenalin)
Gives a few hours of response
- Long term hormones (cortisol, thyroxine)
Gives days to weeks of response
(see model “Cognitive – transactional model (Lazarus))
Can stress make us ill?
- More heart attacks on Monday mornings than any other day
- Firing works boost