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Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 1010
Robin Milhausen

Chapter 3: Personal Stress Management WHAT IS STRESS Stress: physical, chemical, or emotional factor causing bodily/mental tension and possibly disease; internal state of arousal and physical state of body to different demands - Defined first as non-specific body response to demands; later as pressure per unit area Strain: ratio of increase/ decrease in length of an object to its original length Stressors: things that upset or excite us; can be tangible (ie. miss bus, angry friend) or intangible (emotions from competitions or challenges). 5 Categories of Stressors Acute time-limited stressors: events provoking anxiety (ie. give a talk in public) Brief naturalistic stressors: more serious challenge (meeting deadline for project) Stressful event sequences: natural disaster or traumatic occurrence (death in the family). Stress clears after a while through recognition to move on. Chronic stressors: ongoing demands from life changing circumstances (ie. having a disability from accident, caregiving for one who has Alzheimer); no clear endpoint Distant stressors: past traumatic experiences (ie. child abuse, work in war zone); have continual emotional and psychological impact Eustress: positive stress in our lives that challenges us to grow, adapt, and find creative solutions in our lives (ie. birth, weddings, reunions) Distress: negative effect of stress that deplete/ destroy life energy -stress should be high enough to motivate us to satisfy needs -stressors neither positive or negative; our reaction to stressors labels them WHAT CAUSES STRESS - stressors brings us out of homeostasis (stable and consistent physiological state) which is restored by an adaptive response General Adaptation Syndrome(GAS): sequenced physiological response to a stressful situation; has 3 stages: 1. Alarm: body initially responds with changes that lower resistance 2. Resistance: if stressor continues body mobilizes to withstand stress and return to normal (ie. loved one injured and recuperating, carry on as normal as possible 3. Exhaustion: ongoing, extreme stressors eventually deplete body’s resources= function less than normal After, return to homeostasis or illness and death: body’s resources not replenished and/or other stressors occur=breakdown Cognitive-transactional model of stress and coping: a non-biological stress theory, developed by Lazarus and Folkman that looks at the relationship between demands and the power to deal with them without unreasonable or destructive costs suggests that an event will : 1) trigger primary appraisal process: perceive event as threat/challenge THEN 2) secondary appraisal process: assessment of ability to manage challenge and coping resources occur THEN.. 3) coping responses: stress outcome depend on coping resources 4) stress outcomes will feedback to assessment if situation needs resolving - coping through planful problem solving = healthy emotional affect while confrontive coping and distancing makes things worse IS STRESS HAZARDOUS TO PHYSICAL HEALTH Stress and the Immune System Psychoneuroimmunology(PNI): A special science that focuses on the relationship between our brain’s response to stress and our immune system Autonomic nervous system (ANS): part of the central nervous system that starts in a region of the brain called the cerebral cortex and regulates our bodily functions such as our heart rate, respiratory system and glands; Comprised of: Sympathetic nervous system(SNS): one branch of the ANS that initiates release of stress hormones, which increase heart rate and respiratory rate  Hypothalamus stimulates adrenal glands to release epinephrine (hormone known as adrenaline that initiates increase in blood flow) and triggers pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) which trigger adrenal glands to release cortisol, a hormone that helps release nutrients the body has stored as energy Parasympathetic nervous system (PNS): one of two branches of ANS that slows down other systems that are stimulated by stress response to restore homeostasis Immediate responses to stress: brain more alert, digestive system slows down, heart rate and blood pressure increases, adrenal glands produce stress hormones, quick breathing, bad immune system, muscles tense Effects of chronic or prolonged stress: stress hormone affect memory (neurons die), blood clotting and heart attack, cortisol increase central & abdominal fat and glucose production in liver= hypertension, more susceptible to infection Stress and the Heart - high stress most likely cause of heart disease Type A Type B - aggressive, hardworking, competitive -more relaxed but still ambiguous and - try to multitask but don’t get everything accomplished successful - more dangerous behavior: chronic hostility/ cynicism Stress and the Digestive System - stress= eating on the run, gulping food, overeating= poorly chewed food, overworked stomach, more abdominal pressure - sugary snacks and caffeinated drinks = high to low drop in blood sugar levels - Prevent stress by: drinking water (hydrated), eat fiber rich foods (prevent stress related problems), protein and complex carb intake - DO NOT: skip meals= tired, - When stressed= speed conversion of proteins and fat to carbs= energy to fight/flee from stress IS STRESS HAZARDOUS TO PSYCHOSOCIAL HEALTH? -Stress is normal but becomes distress w/ symptoms of: moodiness, irritability, depression, and anxiety = imbalance in emotional and mental wellbeing -Traumatic events (death of loved one)= normal to feel negative emotions and incapable of coping with ordinary demands of daily living - some remain distressed and unable to function like before Post-traumatic stress disorder: repeated reliving of a trauma through nightmares or recollection TYPES OF STRESSORS Student stress Most common stressors: test pressures, academic failure, relationship problems, daily hassles, pressure from competition and deadlines, losses (breakup or death) - Most common stressor comes from desire to compete and win or to be noticed - Higher risk of stress in first year and residence students - Reduce by: time management, close relationships, meditation Breakup stress -Complicated grief: intense and extended period of grief linked to loss or death of family mem
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