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Stress, Health, and Human Flourishing Chapter 10

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Presentation on theme: "Stress, Health, and Human Flourishing Chapter 10"— Presentation transcript:

1 Stress, Health, and Human Flourishing Chapter 10

2 Stress, Health, and Human Flourishing
Stress: Some Basic Concepts Stressors – Things That Push Our Buttons Stress Reactions – From Alarm to Exhaustion Stress Effects and Health Stress and AIDS Stress and Cancer Stress and Heart Disease Stress and Health: The Role of Personality

3 Stress, Health, and Human Flourishing
Coping With Stress Personal Control

4 Stress: Some Basic Concepts
Stress is defined as the process by which we perceive and respond to certain events called stressors that we appraise as threatening or challenging.

5 Stress Appraisal Stress arises less from the event itself than from how we appraise it. (Lazarus, 1998)

6 Three Main Types of Stressors
Catastrophes Unpredictable large-scale events Significant life changes Leaving home, getting married, changing jobs, death of a loved one, etc. One is more disease-prone following such changes Daily hassles More significant hassles include low wages, poor health, neighborhood problems Can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems

7 Stress Reactions Stress response involves mind and body.
Walter Cannon (1929) found extreme cold, lack of oxygen, and emotion arousal all trigger release of stress hormones from adrenal glands. Sympathetic nervous system engages fight-or-flight response, which mobilizes energy and activity for attacking or escaping a threat.


9 Stress Reactions Hans Selye (1936) studied animals’ reactions to stressors. Discovered that the body has a common pattern of responding to a variety of stressors, which he called the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS): Alarm Resistance Exhaustion

10 General Adaptation Syndrome

11 Other Ways of Dealing with Stress
Withdraw, pull back, and conserve energy Some may become paralyzed with fear in the face of disaster. Tend-and-befriend – under stress, some people (especially women) often both provide support to and seek support from others May be partly due to oxytocin Men are more likely to withdraw, self-medicate, or become aggressive.

12 Stress Effects and Health
Everything that is psychological is also biological. Psychoneuroimmunology – a relatively new field that studies how psychological, neural, and endocrine processes combine to affect our immune system and health Immune response includes two types of lymphocytes (white blood cells), macrophages, and natural killer (NK) cells. Age, nutrition, genetics, body temperature, and stress all influence your immune response.

13 The Immune Response

14 Immune System Errors Responding too strongly: the immune system may attack the body’s own tissues Arthritis, allergies Underreaction: May allow dormant virus to erupt or cancer cells to multiply Women have stronger immune systems. This makes them less likely to get infections, but more susceptible to self-attacking diseases like lupus and MS.

15 Stress Effects and Health
The immune system becomes less active when the body is flooded with stress hormones. Wounds heal more slowly More vulnerable to colds

16 Stress and AIDS People with AIDS already have a damaged immune system.
Stress and negative emotions speed the transition from HIV to AIDS. Stress leads to a faster decline in those with AIDS. Reducing stress can help control AIDS.

17 Stress and Cancer Stress does not create cancer cells, but:
Stress may weaken a person’s ability to fight off cancer. Studies are inconclusive There is danger in hyping reports on attitudes and cancer

18 Stress and Heart Disease
Stress is closely linked with coronary heart disease – the clogging of the vessels that nourish the heart. Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in North America. Study of tax accountants – risk of heart disease peaks right before April 15.

19 Stress and Health: The Role of Personality
Nine-year study of men, aged At start, they were interviewed and categorized: Type A: competitive, hard-driving, impatient, verbally aggressive, anger-prone, combat-ready Type B: easygoing and relaxed At end of study, 257 heart attacks 69% were Type A Zero were “pure” Type Bs Major problem for type A is negative emotions, especially anger

20 Is Stress All Bad? Stress motivates us, invigorates our lives, makes our life challenging and productive. The stress effect on our disease resistance is the price we pay for the benefits of stress.

21 Stress and Health: The Stress Effect

22 Depression: More on Mental Health Affecting the Heart
Study: Depression increases risk of worsening heart problems by 400% Study: Depression increases risk of death as much as smoking does. How does this work? Possibilities: biological effects on arteries unhealthy depressive lifestyle choices.

23 Human Flourishing Coping With Stress Personal Control
Study: the single trait shared by 169 people over 100 was the ability to manage stress well

24 Coping With Stress Problem-focused coping – addressing stress directly by changing the stressor or the ways we interact with it E.g., talk it out with the person we are fighting with Emotion-focused coping – attempting to reduce stress by avoiding or ignoring a stressor and attending to emotional needs related to our stress reaction can be healthy we feel we cannot change the stressor can be maladaptive when we distract ourselves from addressing a problem that could be solved.

25 Personal Control Personal control is our sense of seeing ourselves in control of our environment. Psychologists study this in two ways: They correlate peoples fellings of control with behaviors and achievements. They experiment, by raising or lowering people’s sense of control and noting the effects.

26 Control, Morale, and Health
Seligman (1975) strapped dogs in a harness and gave them electric shocks When later placed in another situation where they could escape the punishment by simply leaping over a hurdle, the dogs cowered and did not move Other dogs that were able to escape the first shocks did not act this way

27 Control, Morale, and Health
Learned helplessness is the term for the hopelessness and passive resignation an animal or human learns when unable to avoid repeated aversive events. Perceived loss of control predicts health problems. Ability to control one’s environment leads to greater happiness and productivity.

28 Who’s at the Controls? Is your life out of your control? Is the world run by a few powerful people? Do you control your own fate? Is being a success a matter of hard work? External locus of control: the perception that chance or outside forces beyond personal control determine our fate Internal locus of control: the perception that we control our own fate

29 “Internals” and “Externals”
Internals assume an internal locus of control. believe they control their own destiny achieve more in school and work, enjoy better health, and feel less depressed than there counterparts: Externals assume an external locus of control. view that chance or outside forces control their fate

30 Self Control Self Control: The ability to control impulses and delay gratification Self-control is like a muscle: Temporarily weakens after use, regains energy with rest, and grows stronger with exercise Self-discipline in one area may strengthen self-control in general and lead to a less stressed life

31 Is the Glass Half Full? Optimism is the anticipation of positive outcomes Pessimism is the anticipation of negative outcomes Optimists tend to have better health, and may live longer Success requires enough optimism to provide hope, and enough pessimism to keep us on our toes

32 Social Support Feeling liked and encouraged by friends and family promotes both happiness and health. Social support can calm the cardiovascular system and foster stronger immune functioning. Both good and bad habits can travel quickly among networks of friends.

33 Finding Meaning Those with a strong sense of meaning for a purpose for which to live, strong values, and a sense of self-worth. Those who find meaning in a tragic event have fewer adverse health effects and lower rates of depression.

34 Managing Stress Effects
Sometimes we cannot avoid experiencing stress. What can we do to manage it? Aerobic exercise Relaxation Meditation Spirituality

35 Aerobic Exercise Aerobic exercise, sustained activity that increases heart and lung fitness, may reduce stress, depression and anxiety Study: mildly depressed women improved more with exercise than with relaxation exercises

36 Relaxation: Lifestyle Modification
Study with Type A heart attack survivors: a control group was given advice about medications, diet, and exercise. A second group was given this advice PLUS guidance in modifying their lifestyle– Walking, laughing, eating slowly Can we tell which part of the intervention made the difference?

37 Relaxation: Meditation
Relaxation procedures can provide relief from headaches, high blood pressure, anxiety, and insomnia. The relaxation response: Sit quietly in a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Relax your musicles, starting with your feet and moving slowly upward. Breathe slowly, and on the exhale focus on a word, phrase or prayer. Repeat for minutes. Meditation enhances activity in the left frontal lobe, associated with positive emotions. It also improves immune functioning.

38 Spirituality The faith factor: Religiously active people tend to live longer

39 Possible explanations for the Faith Factor?
Religiously active people tend to have healthier life-styles. less alcohol, dietary fat, and smoking Belonging to a faith community is to have access to a support network. Religion encourages marriage, another predictor of health and longevity Religion promotes positive emotion, optimism, a stable world-view, and relaxed meditation. These factors correlate with participation in religious activities, not necessarily with strength of belief.

40 What Accounts for the Faith Factor?

41 How to Flourish Some qualities and influences can help us flourish by making us emotionally and physically stronger: A sense of control Optimistic outlook Healthy habits Social support Relaxation A sense of meaning Spirituality

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