Health Sciences 1001A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Allostatic Load, Somatic Nervous System, Autonomic Nervous System

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Published on 19 Apr 2013
School
Western University
Department
Health Sciences
Course
Health Sciences 1001A/B
Professor
What is stress?
1. Situations that trigger physical and emotional reactions stressor
2. The reactions themselves stress response
so stress just describes the general physical and emotional state that accompanies a
stress response
physical responses to stress
2 systems in your body control our physical response to stressors: the nervous system
and the endocrine system
the nervous system
brain, spinal chord, nerves
somatic nervous system things under your control
autonomic nervous system unconscious nervous system
o ex. Digestion, breathing
o parasympathetic in action when you are relaxed
helps you digest food, store energy, and grow
o sympathetic activated during times of arousal
exercise, pain, fear, etc…
use neurotransmitter norepinephrine (also called noradrenaline)
uses it to get out your stored energy and use it
the endocrine system
triggered by the sympathetic nervous systm
system of glands tissues and cells
releases hormones and prepares body to react to a stressor
working together fight or flight reaction (sir walter cannon)
the mind registers that you are facing a threat and activates the sympathetic
nerve system
the message goes to the endocrine system and causes a release of key hormones
like cortisol (or hytocortisone) , and epinephrine
hormones trigger psychological changes like:
o heart + respiration rates accelerate to increase O2 flow
o hearing/vision become more accurate
o liver releases extra sugar into the blood stream to boost energy
o perspiration increases to cool the skin
o brain releases endorphins chemicals that can inhibit or block pain
Physical changes vary in intensity but the same physical reactions occur in
response to both positive and negative stressors
o Positive ex a job promotion or working out (eustress)
o Negative writing an exam when you’re scared of them (distress)
the return to homeostasis
parasympathetic division restores homeostasis because it calms you down once
the stressful situation is over
this is your body repairing itself so its ready for the next thing that’s thrown at it
sometimes our bodies prepare us for disaster even when we don’t realize it!
Emotional and behavioral responses to stressors
factors that reduce severity of stress response: successful prediction and perception of
control
effective/ineffective responses
anxiety depression and fear are common
controlled by the somatic nervous system
effective prevention
o ex. Laughing more, doing yoga, things you can improve in every day life
ineffective over reaction, drug/alcohol abuse
tend and befriend
another way that people can respond to stress (in a nurturing way instead of a
distressed way)
depends on bodily functions
oxytosin in women but also in men, is a product of stress (social factor)
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personality and stress
personality sum of cognitive, behavioral and emotional tendencies
effects how people react to stressors
personality types
o type A
competitive, controlling, impatient
higher stress levels
more trouble coping with stress
studies show that this personality could increase risk of heart
disease
o type b
relaxed
less frustrated
o type c
difficulty expressing emotion
feelings of hopelessness and despair
exaggerated response to minor stressors
o type d
distressed
feel but don’t express negative emotion
anxious and worry a lot
expressing emotions is beneficial, not expressing them is problematic
using expression in a way to exaggerate stress is unhealthy though
hardiness personality trait that allows you to deal with stress (see stress as a
challenge not a burden)
resilience social and academic success in at-risk populations like low income
families and those with disabilities
o nonreactive resilience a person does not react to stressor
o homeostatic resilience a person may react strongly but returns to
baseline quickly
o positive growth resilience a person learns and grows fom the stress
experience
its unlikely that you can change your personality to become more stress resistant
but you can develop better coping strategies!
Cultural background
Clashing of cultures can be a big source of stress for students
Different cultures learn to deal with things differently
Learning to accept and deal with other cultures around you can help you be less
stressed
Gender
Gender role the things our culture expects of us based on our gender
some coping mechanisms for stress may be acceptable for one gender and not
another (ex. Boys don’t like to cry)
expected gender roles can be a cause of stress
Experience
Past experiences effect how you deal with stress today
Fun fact: 47% of Canadian university students feel unter strain
The stress experience as a whole
Table 3.1 page 70 symptoms of excess stress
The more intense the emotional response, the stronger the physical response
Basic stress strategies:
Building greater social support through relationships
Participating/contributing to family and community
Setting higher but realistic expectations for yourself
Building life skills like communication, decision making and conflict management
Avoiding the urge to control the outcome of everything
Knowing your limits
Trusting others
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Document Summary

Situations that trigger physical and emotional reactions stressor. The reactions themselves stress response so stress just describes the general physical and emotional state that accompanies a stress response physical responses to stress. 2 systems in your body control our physical response to stressors: the nervous system and the endocrine system the nervous system brain, spinal chord, nerves somatic nervous system things under your control. Autonomic nervous system unconscious nervous system: ex. Digestion, breathing: parasympathetic in action when you are relaxed helps you digest food, store energy, and grow sympathetic activated during times of arousal exercise, pain, fear, etc use neurotransmitter norepinephrine (also called noradrenaline) Uses it to get out your stored energy and use it the endocrine system triggered by the sympathetic nervous systm system of glands tissues and cells releases hormones and prepares body to react to a stressor.

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