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Chapter 3

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Health Sciences
Health Sciences 1001A/B
Shauna Burke

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)  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 Stress and health  More then 75% of Canadians are stressed at least once a month  Many theories have come about that try to explain the relationship between stress and disease  General adaptation syndrome (GAS)  This is a response to stressors  There are pleasant stressors and unpleasant stressors  Eustress reaction triggered by pleasant stressor  Distress reaction triggered by unpleasant stressor  Alarm o in the middle of flight-or-fight stage so person is getting their bodies ready for crisis o can experience indigestion, headaches, disrupted eating/sleeping in this stage o drop in our bodies homeostasis  resistance o with continued stress, body develops more resistance to injury and stress new lever=l of homeostasis o person can cope with normal life and added stress at this stage  exhaustion o first 2 stages involve lots of energy so if the stress keeps happening the body will become exhausted o life threatening state o low resistance to disease o symptoms disorganized thinking and distorted perception rd  other 3 stage recovery o where we don’t see a huge drop in resistance coping  criticisms o assigns limited role to psychological factors o assumes that responses to stress are uniform  Allostatic load  Long term wear and tear of stress  Dependant on genetics, life experiences, emotional/behavioral responses to stressors  High load comes from common stressors and is linked with many health problems (ex. Heart disease, hypertension, obesity…etc)  When your allostatic load exceeds your ability to cope, you are more likely to get sick  Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI)  The study of inteactions between the nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system  The idea is that stress effects the immune system and therefore effects our health  Increased levels of cortisol is linked to a decreased number of immune system cells called lymphocytes  Epinepherin promotes the release of cells but reduces their efficiency  Neuropeptides translate stressful emotions into biochemical events which allows stress to take on a physical component  Acute stress enhancement of immune response  Chronic stress reduces efficiency of immune system  The dalai lama  Joined scientists to discuss how stress effects health  Suggests that stress in life leads to negative emotions such as fear, jealousy, anger, which turned into violence  Believes world peace begins with inner peace, tolerance and compassion  “to understand meaningful dialogue first you must understand others…”  Links between stress and specific conditions  Short term consequences cold, stomach ache (not severe)  Long term CVD, high blood pressure, impaired immune function, accelerated aging, cancer, type 2 diabetes, psychological problems  Cardiovascular disease (CVD) o Heart rate increases, blood vessels constrics, blood pressure rises o Major cause of atherosclerosis disease where blood vessels become permanently damaged and cakes with fat o Because of the blocked arteries, someone with this condition can have a heart attack even with a little stress
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