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Tutty I.


An unpleasant state of emotional and physiological

arousal that people experience in situations that they perceive as dangerous or threatening to their wellbeing. Stress is a normal, adaptive reaction to threat. If not managed appropriately, stress can lead to serious problems. Stress is a common experience. Stress can have both positive and negative effects.

When do we feel stress?

We may feel stress when we are very busy, have important

deadlines to meet, or have too little time to finish all of our tasks. Often people experience stress because of problems at work or in social relationships Some people may be particularly vulnerable to stress in situations involving the threat of failure or personal humiliation Others have extreme fears of objects or things associated with physical threatssuch as snakes, illness, storms, or flying in an airplaneand become stressed when they encounter or think about these perceived threats.

Negative Effects of Stress

Major life events, such as the death of a loved one, can

cause severe stress. In personal relationships, stress often leads to less cooperation and more aggression Exposure to chronic stress can contribute to both physical illnesses, such as heart disease, and mental illnesses, such as anxiety disorders stress affects bodily functioning

Positive effects of Stress

Fear of things that pose realistic threats motivates us

to deal with them or avoid them. It signals danger and prepares us to take defensive action. motivates us to achieve and fuels creativity Although stress may hinder performance on difficult tasks, moderate stress seems to improve motivation and performance on less complex tasks.

Stressors (sources of Stress)

Stressors vary in severity and duration.
individuals may respond differently to the same

eventwhat is a stressor for one person may not be stressful for another. For an event or situation to be a stressor for a particular individual, the person must appraise the situation as threatening and lack the coping resources to deal with it effectively.

3 General Categories of Stressors

Catastrophic events 2. Major life changes 3. Daily hassles

simply thinking about unpleasant past events or anticipating unpleasant future events can cause stress for many people.

A catastrophe is a sudden, often life-threatening

calamity or disaster that pushes people to the outer limits of their coping capability. Catastrophes include natural disasterssuch as earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, floods, and hurricanesas well as wars, torture, automobile accidents, violent physical attacks, and sexual assaults. Catastrophes often continue to affect their victims mental health long after the event has ended.

Major Life Changes

For adults : death of a spouse or family member,

divorce, imprisonment, losing ones job, and major personal disability or illness. For adolescents : the death of a parent or a close family member, divorce of their parents, imprisonment of their mother or father, and major personal disability or illness. Sometimes, a positive events can have stressful components, i.e. getting a job promotion, getting married

Effects of Stress
Studies have found that ones exposure to daily hassles is

actually more predictive of illness than is exposure to major life events. A person who is stressed typically has anxious thoughts and difficulty concentrating or remembering. Stress can also change outward behaviors: Teeth clenching, hand wringing, pacing, nail biting, and heavy breathing are common signs of stress. People also feel physically different when they are stressed. Butterflies in the stomach, cold hands and feet, dry mouth, and increased heart rate that are associated with the emotion of anxiety.

Stress Response
When a person appraises an event as stressful, the

body undergoes a number of changes that heighten physiological and emotional arousal: 1. the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system is activated the fight-or-flight response 2. the hypothalamus directs the pituitary gland to secrete adrenocorticotropic hormone to fuel the fight-or-flight response

Selyes general adaptation syndrome

The alarm stage is a generalized state of arousal during

the bodys initial response to the stressor. the resistance stage, the body adapts to the stressor and continues to resist it with a high level of physiological arousal. When the stress persists for a long time, and the body is chronically overactive, resistance fails and the body moves to the exhaustion stage. the body is vulnerable to disease and even death.

Stress is a contributing factor in a wide variety of

health problems: cardiovascular disorders , coronary heart disease , gastrointestinal disorders, risk factor in cancer, chronic pain problems, and many other health disorders. These diseases depend upon: person's characteristic way of responding to stress and certain personality types (i.e. type A= competitiveness, impatience, and hostility) seem to be physiologically overresponsive to stress

There is a moderate positive correlation between

extent of exposure to life stressors and cancerthe more stressors, the greater the likelihood of cancer. In addition, a tendency to cope with unpleasant events in a rigid, unemotional manner is associated with the development and progression of cancer.

Decreased Immune Response

Stress appears to depress immune function in two main ways: 1. when people experience stress, they more often engage in behaviors that have adverse effects on their health: cigarette smoking, using more alcohol or drugs, sleeping less, exercising less, and eating poorly. stress may alter the immune system directly through hormonal changes glucocorticoidshormones that are secreted by the adrenal glands during the stress response actively suppress the bodys immune system.

Mental Illness
Stress influences mental health as well as physical

health. People who experience a high level of stress for a long timeand who cope poorly with this stressmay become: irritable, socially withdrawn, and emotionally unstable, difficulty concentrating and solving problems, may start to suffer from extreme anxiety, depression, or other severe emotional problems, anxiety disorders (phobias, panic disorder, obsessivecompulsive, PTSD)

Coping with Stress

Psychologists distinguish two broad types of coping



Problem-focused coping : people try to short-circuit negative emotions by taking some action to modify, avoid, or minimize the threatening situation (behavior change) Emotion-focused coping: people try to directly moderate or eliminate unpleasant emotions (positive thinking, relaxation, denial, and wishful thinking)


The goal of both strategies is to control ones stress level.

Social Support: Support from friends, family members,

and others who care for us goes a long way in helping us to get by in times of trouble. Social support systems provide us with emotional sustenance, tangible resources and aid, and information when we are in need. Biofeedback: is a technique in which people learn voluntary control of stress-related physiological responses, such as skin temperature, muscle tension, blood pressure, and heart rate.

Relaxation: two major methods of relaxation are

progressive muscular relaxation and meditation. Both progressive muscle relaxation and meditation reliably reduce stress-related arousal & have been used successfully to treat a range of stress-related disorders Aerobic exercise: such as running, walking, biking, and skiingcan help keep stress levels down because aerobic exercise increases the endurance of the heart and lungs. People who exercise regularly have higher self-esteem and suffer less from anxiety and depression