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Chapter 3 Coping with Stress J. Don Chaney, Ph.D. Texas A&M University.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 3 Coping with Stress J. Don Chaney, Ph.D. Texas A&M University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 3 Coping with Stress J. Don Chaney, Ph.D. Texas A&M University

2 Defining Stress Stress: a perception of an event that can result in a physical and psychological response. Stress response: a series of physiological events caused by stressors. Stressors: specific events that disrupt equilibrium and initiate biochemical responses and are very individualized. Hans Seyle, the grandfather of stress research, described stress as “Nonspecific response of the body to any demand.”

3 How We React to Stress General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) includes three distinct phases to the body’s reaction to stress: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. Alarm: the body’s mobilization to meet a threat. Resistance: the body’s return to normalcy. Exhaustion: the result of repeated assaults and can increase one’s susceptibility to illness and disease. Defining Stress

4 Stressors: Where Do They Originate? Primary Stressors: related to a specific event and trigger the stress response. Secondary Stressors: maintain the stress response, e.g. worrying. 4 basic sources of stress are: Physical stressors Environmental stressors Psychological stressors Social stressors Defining Stress

5 Positive and Negative Stress Effects of stress appear with negative and positive events. Distress: known as “bad stress,” e.g. death in the family, fight with a roommate. Eustress: known as “good stress,” e.g. getting married, winning an award. Defining Stress

6 Personality and Stress Type A personality: characterized as excessively competitive, hostile, aggressive, driven, and impatient. Type B personality: characterized as typically patient and relaxed. There is a possible increased risk of heart disease among people with Type A personalities. Defining Stress

7 There is a well-documented connection between stress and incidence of disease. Stress can activate biochemical changes (cholesterol & adrenaline levels). Stress can activate physiological changes (increased heart rate and blood pressure). Stress can activate psychological changes (e.g. anxiety, depression). The Impact of Stress on Health

8 Stress Symptoms Seen in the Physician’s Office Health effects: asthma, amenorrhea, back pain, etc. Subjective effects: anxiety, apathy, boredom, etc. Behavioral effects: being accident prone, drug use, etc. The Impact of Stress on Health

9 Research Findings on Stress and the Immune System Stress made healthy volunteers less resistant to a cold virus. Low levels of stress increased immune system cells. Positive thoughts, even laughter, boost immune system. Psychoneuroimmunology: the study of how the brain affects the immune system. The Impact of Stress on Health

10 At College Transition from high school to college can be highly stressful. Decisions college students make can have long- term consequences. Some examples of college stressors are: Making new friends Facing intellectual challenges Decisions about drugs, alcohol, and sexual behavior Stressors of Everyday Living

11 At Work 40% of American workers are very concerned about stress from work. #1 source of stress: balancing work and family. Workers with little decision-making ability have a 50% higher rate of heart disease. Personality hardiness represents a sense of control, e.g. seeing job tensions as challenges, not threats. Stressors of Everyday Living

12 Coping is an adaptation to stress. Fight-or-Flight is a basic reaction to threatening situations. Defense mechanisms: short-term avoidance or reactions of denial to a stressor. Fight-or-Flight and defense mechanisms are not good coping skills over the long run. Adapting to Stress

13 Coping with Stress Preventive actions to minimize the effects of stress include: Take care of your physical health. Recognize stress and manage it effectively (stressor identification). Coping skills help deal with stressors constructively and include: Changing perception Managing time Managing emotion Adapting to Stress

14 Exercise: A Stress Reducer Physical exercise is an excellent stress reducer. Spiritual activities, like volunteering, reduce stress. Your response, not the stressor, is the key to health. Adapting to Stress

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