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PSYC 1000

-1Lecture #25 Lifestyle, Stress & Health Ÿ Stress, appraisal and coping styles Ÿ Stress is referred to a distinct pattern to things we call stressors (real or imagined stimuli) that block a goal or endanger one’s beings which produces a characteristic of responses, changes in automatic nerve system, changes in perceived level of arousal, changes in attention and alertness, a whole host of emotion; fear, anxiety, anger, etc. Ÿ Stress is distinct form the stressor, the stressor is the thing that makes you stressed Ÿ The stressor doesn’t not have to be real, it just has to be perceived to be real, anything perceived to be real is real in its component Ÿ Distress refers to the emotional of psychological component of the stress response, its one part but its not the whole of the stress response Ÿ This response system has a purpose, the goal of the stress response is to prepare the organism for (immediate) action, to make the organism aware, and alert and responsive to its environment Ÿ Adrenaline, heart rate increases, immune system suppresses all to engage the stressor that they are going to through stress, adaptive process Ÿ In the course of evolutionary history, most of the stressors are of the acute stressors, short lived, predators of members of other bands, engage or withdraw= “fight or flight response” Ÿ Fight the thing that is stressing you or flea from it, a product of natural selection which equips the organism that benefits it in the course of evolutionary history Ÿ Interesting component of stress, the goal of stress response is to orient the organism to confronting something immediate in the environment and all available resources are shunted towards that end Ÿ Predator, or something threatening, the natural response is to shut down all other activities, and surviving the next few minutes or hours Ÿ As a component of the stress response, all non-essential systems (in short term) are shut down, digestion stops, interestingly fighting the common cold or immune function is suppressed, energy is redirected because for the moment these things are not nearly as important Ÿ Its extraordinary how well the stress response system is coordinated towards solving problems in the ancestral environment, the things that were stressing our ancestors out were of a short lived acute nature, our stress response is coordinated with dealing with these short lived stressors, immediate threats or potential harm Ÿ Stress system is only presented today to the extent that the present environment resembles the past environment, the stress response evolved out of old pressures, and it will only work today as well as it should if the present day looks like how the past did Ÿ Problem is that the kinds of things that stress us today are qualitatively distinct, long lived stressors, chronic Ÿ All of those systems that are non essential for acute stress, are important for the kinds of stress dealt with today, contemporary stressors, and we use immediate responses to the stressors in our environment that affect our long term systems that may affect us negatively (immune system) Ÿ There is a sequence of stages that all people show in response of a stressor, that summarizes the kinds of changes our bodies changes when confronting a stressor =general adaptation syndrome Ÿ These stages show the relationship between the human stress response and its implications of health Ÿ The first response is called the alarm stage, the classic fight vs. flight response, immediate response, a resistance to the stressor decreases and normal functioning is impaired Ÿ Presuming our immediate response does not remove the stressor from the environment, we tend to habituate, go back to normal, second stage, stage to resistance, and we adapt to this condition and we accommodate that Ÿ We cant accommodate a stressor indefinitely, if the stressor remains in the environment, we eventually exhaust our resources, the stage of exhaustion, where we begin to show a kind of health compromise, our resistance starts to decline, and the presence of the stressor taps into our reserves, compromises in functions, including immune system Ÿ At this point, the ancient system shows difficulty for chronic distresses, in a well known study, researchers asked participants to record their daily activities and sematic complaints Ÿ People recorded desirable and undesirable events that happened, an
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