2Stress, Health, and Human Flourishing Stress: Some Basic ConceptsStressors – Things That Push Our ButtonsStress Reactions – From Alarm to ExhaustionStress Effects and HealthStress and AIDSStress and CancerStress and Heart DiseaseStress and Health: The Role of Personality
3Stress, Health, and Human Flourishing Coping With StressPersonal Control
4Stress: 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.
5Stress AppraisalStress arises less from the event itself than from how we appraise it. (Lazarus, 1998)
6Three Main Types of Stressors CatastrophesUnpredictable large-scale eventsSignificant life changesLeaving home, getting married, changing jobs, death of a loved one, etc.One is more disease-prone following such changesDaily hasslesMore significant hassles include low wages, poor health, neighborhood problemsCan lead to high blood pressure and other health problems
7Stress 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.
9Stress ReactionsHans 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):AlarmResistanceExhaustion
11Other Ways of Dealing with Stress Withdraw, pull back, and conserve energySome 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 othersMay be partly due to oxytocinMen are more likely to withdraw, self-medicate, or become aggressive.
12Stress 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 healthImmune 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.
14Immune System ErrorsResponding too strongly: the immune system may attack the body’s own tissuesArthritis, allergiesUnderreaction: May allow dormant virus to erupt or cancer cells to multiplyWomen have stronger immune systems.This makes them less likely to get infections, but more susceptible to self-attacking diseases like lupus and MS.
15Stress Effects and Health The immune system becomes less active when the body is flooded with stress hormones.Wounds heal more slowlyMore vulnerable to colds
16Stress 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.
17Stress and Cancer Stress does not create cancer cells, but: Stress may weaken a person’s ability to fight off cancer.Studies are inconclusiveThere is danger in hyping reports on attitudes and cancer
18Stress 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.
19Stress 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-readyType B: easygoing and relaxedAt end of study, 257 heart attacks69% were Type AZero were “pure” Type BsMajor problem for type A is negative emotions, especially anger
20Is 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.
22Depression: 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 arteriesunhealthy depressive lifestyle choices.
23Human Flourishing Coping With Stress Personal Control Study: the single trait shared by 169 people over 100 was the ability to manage stress well
24Coping With StressProblem-focused coping – addressing stress directly by changing the stressor or the ways we interact with itE.g., talk it out with the person we are fighting withEmotion-focused coping – attempting to reduce stress by avoiding or ignoring a stressor and attending to emotional needs related to our stress reactioncan be healthy we feel we cannot change the stressorcan be maladaptive when we distract ourselves from addressing a problem that could be solved.
25Personal ControlPersonal 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.
26Control, Morale, and Health Seligman (1975) strapped dogs in a harness and gave them electric shocksWhen later placed in another situation where they could escape the punishment by simply leaping over a hurdle, the dogs cowered and did not moveOther dogs that were able to escape the first shocks did not act this way
27Control, 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.
28Who’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 fateInternal 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 destinyachieve 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
30Self ControlSelf Control: The ability to control impulses and delay gratificationSelf-control is like a muscle:Temporarily weakens after use, regains energy withrest, and grows stronger with exerciseSelf-discipline in one area may strengthen self-control in general and lead to a less stressed life
31Is the Glass Half Full?Optimism is the anticipation of positive outcomesPessimism is the anticipation of negative outcomesOptimists tend to have better health, and may live longerSuccess requires enough optimism to provide hope, and enough pessimism to keep us on our toes
32Social SupportFeeling 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.
33Finding MeaningThose 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.
34Managing Stress Effects Sometimes we cannot avoid experiencing stress.What can we do to manage it?Aerobic exerciseRelaxationMeditationSpirituality
35Aerobic ExerciseAerobic exercise, sustained activity that increases heart and lung fitness, may reduce stress, depression and anxietyStudy: mildly depressed women improved more with exercise than with relaxation exercises
36Relaxation: 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 slowlyCan we tell which part of the intervention made the difference?
37Relaxation: 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.
38SpiritualityThe faith factor: Religiously active people tend to live longer
39Possible explanations for the Faith Factor? Religiously active people tend to have healthier life-styles.less alcohol, dietary fat, and smokingBelonging to a faith community is to have access to a support network.Religion encourages marriage, another predictor of health and longevityReligion 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.
41How to FlourishSome qualities and influences can help us flourish by making us emotionally and physically stronger:A sense of controlOptimistic outlookHealthy habitsSocial supportRelaxationA sense of meaningSpirituality