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9.1 How do psychologists define stress?

What percentage of Americans do

you believe are under an unhealthy amount of stress? Explain why?

Psychologists define stress as a psychological and physical response to an

event or events which are perceived as harmful or threatening to an
individual. It all depends how the individual perceives the event or stressor.
The degree to which an event is considered a stressor varies from person to
person. However, there are of course common stressors that affect
everyone, especially within a certain culture. Our behaviors and customs as
a culture together can be stressors themselves. I feel that the majority of
Americans are under an unhealthy amount of stress. I feel that American
culture as a whole is highly stressful. We are always rushed, on the go,
doing things at a frantic pace so that we can get ahead, be the best, and
provide for our families. I feel that that mentality is engrained in all of us.
Many don't know how to slow down and enjoy the most simple pleasures in
life. The fact that Americans are under unhealthy amounts of stress shows in
health statistics as well. Obesity is rampant as a result of unhealthier foods,
using foods to cope, and not having the patience to prepare meals at home.
Furthermore, the are is a very high prevalence of cancers, heart diseases,
psychological issues, depression, alcoholism and other results of the direct
and indirect effects of stress in the American population..

9.2 What kinds of external events can cause stress? Please provide external
events that causes stress in your life and the lives of your team members
(ask your team members.)
Many types of external events can cause stress in life. Traumatic events
such as the death of a close family member or friend can be incredibly
stressful. Not only is it difficult to cope and accept that the person has
passed on, but depression can also occur. Having to deal with death while
life goes on and you are also being forced to perform your normal daily tasks
and duties such as working, studying, and caring for family can cause the
most stress. Furthermore, major changes in life such as the loss of a job,
change in work hours, as well as relationships can also cause great stress.
Relationships especially can be a great source of joy and stress. A healthy
relationship can help relieve stress but also have it's own stressful moments
but an unhealthy relationship can be one of the greatest sources of stress in
9.3 What are some psychological factors in stress? Include examples from
your own life, or the life one someone you know well.
Feelings of worry, frustration, doubt, insecurity, and pessimism play large
roles in regulating stress. Managing these feelings and the way one
approaches them greatly affects stress levels. For example, in my own life
recently I have been preparing to apply for graduate programs. This has
been extremely stressful in that I have been extremely worried about
getting in, frustrated with deadlines and requirements, worried about
finishing things in time, insecure about which program to apply to and
overall doubt myself sometimes. I have dealt with this stress by changing
my perspective and how I perceive these challenges. I try to maintain a
positive outlook in order to quell these psychological responses to the
stressors which in turn helps prevent them from manifesting as heavily in
physical form.

9.4 Stress affects the physical functioning of the human body which is called
the general adaptation syndrome. This syndrome has three stages in how
our body will react to stress. They are called alarm, resistance, and
exhaustion. In the alarm stage the adrenal glands release hormones that will
increase blood pressure and heart rate. When we get stressed out for
whatever the reason may be we will notice our heart starts to beat really
fast. In the resistance faze we will notice that when the stress continues, our
body will still continue to release hormones that allow the body to help fight
the stress that is occurring within our body. Also in this faze our body will
not react to pain the same as if we were not stressed out. The next stage is
exhaustion. This takes place when we have no more resources left within our
bodies to rely on for that burst of energy we seek everyday to get our daily
activities done. Exhaustion can later on lead to some diseases like high blood
pressure and or a weak immune system which will prone the body to being
subjected to illnesses more frequent and can lead to more serious health
problems which can eventually cause death.

9.5 Cognitive factors affect the experience of stress by how we think about
the actual stress and how big we tend to make a small problem and turn it
into a huge and major problem. The primary appraisal is the first step in
evaluating the problem at hand. Than we need to take a step back and see if
the stressor is a major threat and put it in a category. The secondary
appraisal is where we have already labeled the stressor a threat and see
what we can do to relieve the stressor and find a solution to calm down.

9.6 What social factors influence stress reactions? Please share social factors
from your own life, which have contributed to stress in your life, and the
lives of your teammates (ask your teammates.)
Society can be a massive source of stress in life. Social standards can be
difficult to adjust to and therefore can cause stress. For Angela, a source of
stress in her life is having to adjust to living with her family at home again.
It has been stressful for her because it can be socially looked down upon or
stressful having to move back in with family as an adult. Furthermore,
having to adjust with living with them is stressful as well. She has been
struggling with misunderstandings between her and her mom. For myself, I
have been struggling with the general change in pace between cultures. I
have lived down in South America for some time and have found that life is
generally slower and more relaxed down here. People generally are not as
concerned about time. Much more emphasis is placed on spending more
time with family. Family is the number one most important thing in Chilean
society. Furthermore, more time is spent simply enjoying each other's
company and on the art of conversation. When I return to the United States,
I am more stressed and short tempered. So much importance is placed on
getting as much done in a day and as quickly as possible. Everything is more
rushed and we spend less time with our families than ever. The lack of rich
relationships and the societal expectation to overwork myself is a major
source of stress in my life when I am in the United States.

9.10 Some ways that I have learned to deal with a lot of stress in my life is
to evaluate where I allow the stress to come in and eliminate it. I have
found that a lot of my stress came from taking on everyone’s problems and
try to fix them and I neglect myself in the process. I found that writing in a
journal works very well because when I write down all my problems,
thoughts, and feelings on paper when I am going through it tends to ease
the stress a lot. I found going to the mountains at night all by myself help
me think real clear and my thought process is clearer than when I just stay
in the stress and don’t remove myself from it. I love to drive out of town and
go for a long drive somewhere. I have a lot of stress in my life because of
the types of people I have in my life and I believe that for some odd reason I
can change them and I can’t. I have disassociated myself with these people
that have done nothing but cause stress and I have seemed a lot happier
since and now the stress that is in my life is because it has to do solely with
me and it is all mine and not someone else’s.

9.11 Coping with stress is affected by religion because when someone is

stressed out and they go to church on Sunday or pray they are leaving the
stress to their Higher Power. Church is a very powerful and positive support
for people while undergoing a major stress time in their life. These social
groups that are available give really good positive advice and make you feel
at peace when you leave and ease the stress from how you felt when you
first walked in. Another way religion helps with coping is when you go to
your church and speak to the Father and you make a confession. Sometimes
there are some things you feel like you cannot trust anybody with what is
stressing you at the time and you walk around and Have this on your
shoulders for a long time and so when you finally do make your confession
and get this stress off of your chest you feel so much better you are not
having to carry it around with you anymore.