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Chapter 3

HSS 1101 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Relaxation Technique, Adrenocorticotropic Hormone, Autonomic Nervous System


Department
Health Sciences
Course Code
HSS 1101
Professor
Kerry- Ann Hogan
Chapter
3

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Chapter 3: Understanding and Coping With Life
Stressors
Stress: Our mental and physical responses to the demands placed upon us
-in itself, stress is neither positive or negative
-our response to it can be positive or negative
Stressor: a physical, social, or mental event or condition that forces us( our minds and
body ) to adjust(cope) to it
Adjustment is the attempt to cope with a situation
Strain is the wear and tear on the body and mind that may occur during adjustment to a
stressor
Stress: can provide opportunities for personal growth and lead to personal satisfaction
Eustress: positive stress that results from positive situations e.g., getting married,
starting a career
Distress: negative stress e.g., financial problems, illness
The Mind-Body Connection: Physical Responses
The long-term effects of stress on body systems can be devastating
When Stress is Experienced, the complex intricacies of physical and emotional
reactions to it cause the body to wear down over time. – “ diease of prolonged arousal”
Stress and Impaired Immunity
Although prlonged stress responses provide solid evidence of direct/indirect impact on
body organs,
Reasearchers seek more answers regarding physiological mechanisms leading to
specific dieases
Called : Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) : Science of the interaction between the mind
and body, in particular with the immune system
Focuses on hypothesis of studyng periods of prolonged stress affecting elevated levels
of adrenal hormones (cortisol) and therefore reducing/ destroying ability of white blood
cells ( which combat illness)

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More research needed
The General Adaptation Syndrome
When stress is perceived , the mind and body adjust within an adaptive response
( attempt to restore homeostasis) ( Varies in intensity)
Pattern followed by our physiological and psychological responses to
stress(GAS)
3 stage response to stress (GAS):
Alarm: Autonomic nervous system prepares body for fight or flight
-A stressor is perceived that disturbs homeostasis
-Brain perceives stressor and prepares the body for flight or fight responses
-cerebal cortex triggers the autonomic nervous system (usually regulates
bodily functions and is not consciously controlled)which prepares the body
for action
-Sympathetic: energizes body for either flight or fight (signal sent to
hypothalamus - stimulates adrenal gland – realeases epinephrine (adreline)
causes blood to be pumped with each beat of the heart, dialates avelvoili etc
-parasympathetic : slows all systems stimulated by the stress response
(restores homeostasis)
Stress response of alarm phase also leads to longer term reactions to stress.
Hypothalamus triggers the pituitary gland  releases ACTH hormone  signals
adrenal glands to release cortisol ( facilitates release of stored nutrients) to meet
energy demands. Endorphins can also be released from brain/ body which relieve
pain that may be caused by a stressor.
Resistance Phase
Body reacts to stressor to regain a balanced physical and mental state.
( parasympathetic)
Exhaustion Phase
Depletion of energy associated with stress response
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Chronic stress depletes energy stores and may lead to burnout or serious illness
The physiological and psychological energy used to respond to a stressor has
depleted.
Short term responses to a stress would not deplete all a persons energy reserves , but
chronic ( constant and repeated ) stressors result in recurring states of alarm and
resistence.
When a person no longer has th adaptation energy stores to respond to distressor:
burnout/ serious illness may result
Psychosocial Sources of Stress
Refers to the intellectual , social, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of your
health
Change – anytime there is change in your normal daily routine.( more changes=
Stress!)
Pressure – when you feel forced to speed up slow down, intensify, or shift the direction
of your behaviours to meet a higher standard of performance
Inconsistent goals and behaviours – whenever your behaviours are inconsistent with
your goals ( want good grades but party hard all the time?)
Conflict – when you are forced to make challenging decisions concerning two or more
competitive motives, behaviours , or impulses ( or when you are forced to meet 2
incompatable demands, opportunites , needs, or goals) ( ex. If your best friend chooses
to smoke marijuana and you don’t want to but fear rejection)
Overload – when you experience excessive time pressures, responsibility , lack of
support, excessive expectations. ( too much to do!!)
Burnout – a state of physical/ mental exhaustion caused by too much stress
Other Forms of Psychosocial Stress
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