Last Updated 09 Apr 2020

Psychology and Stress

Category Psychology
Essay type Research
Words 1497 (5 pages)
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One of things that we all experience is stress. Stress does not judge, it affects the rich, the poor, whites, blacks, male or female, children and adults. Some people may have higher stress levels depending on their livestyles. Stress is the “wear and tear” our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing environment; it has physical and emotional effects on us and can create positive or negative feeling. As a positive influence, stress can help compel us to action that may result in a new awareness and an exciting new perspective.

As a negative influence, it can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, anger and depression, which in turn can lead to health problems such as headaches, upset stomach rashes, insomnia, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke or depression. “Depression is among the leading causes of disability worldwide” World Health Organization. Depression is also the leading cause of suicides, “The second leading cause of death among college students is suicide” Hardy. Many times, however, stress can become chronic and may last for a week or more.

This chronic condition often results from humans’ ability to project their thoughts into the future, such as when a person keeps a recurrent and stressful thought in his or her mind. Stress may be considered as any physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and that may be a factor in disease causation. Physical and chemical factors that can cause stress can include trauma, infections, toxins, illnesses, and injuries of any sort. Emotional causes of stress and tension are numerous and varied.

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While many people associate the term “stress” with psychological stress, scientists and physicians use this term to denote any force that impairs the stability and balance of bodily functions. Stress is the combination of psychological and behavioral reactions that people have in response to events that threaten or challenge them. Stress can be good or bad. Sometimes, stress is helpful providing people with the extra energy or alertness’ they need. Stress could give the runner the edge he or she needs to persevere in a marathon, for example.

Moreover, stress can increase the risk of developing health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and anxiety disorders. This bad kind of stress is called distress, the kind of stress that people usually are referring to when they use the word stress. A convenient way to think about stress is in the terms of stressors and stress responses. Stressors are events that lead to stress, such as having to make decisions, getting married and natural disasters. Stress responses are psychological, psychological and behavioral reactions to stressors.

Anxiety, depression, concentration difficulties and muscle tension are all example of stress responses. The connection between stressors and stress responses however, is not as straight forward as it may seem. Mediating processes, for instance, stand in between stressors and stress responses. Whether stressors lead to stress responses depends on mediating processes like how people appraise potential stressors and how well people are able to cope with the negative impact of stressors. Furthermore, a number of moderation factors, such as personality traits and health habits, influence the links between stressors and stress responses. These mediating processes and moderating factors help determine whether people experience stress-related problems like burnout, mental disorders, and physical illness and are the focus of many stress management techniques that emphasize cognitive-behavioral approaches, relaxation, exercise, diet and nutrition and medication. ” (Smither 1994) Sources of stress stressors, the sources of stress, include three types of events, referred to as daily hassles, major life events and catastrophes. Additionally specific types of stressors occurs within certain domains in life such as family, work and school.

Stressors are daily hassels or annoyances that occurs practically every day, such as having to make decisions, arguing with friends and family, trying to meet deadlines at school or work, and stepping on a piece of bubble gum that someone carelessly spitted out. Although a wide variety of daily hassles can be sources of stress, they often involve conflicts between behaviors people may or may not want to do. Kompier (1994) stated if someone is experiencing an approach-approach conflict, that person has to choose between two attractive alternatives, such as going on vacation or buying a new computer.

Kompier (1994) stated if someone is experiencing an avoidance-avoidance conflict, that person has to choose between two unattractive alternatives, such as having a pet put to sleep or spending the money on an expensive surgical procedure for it. In general, major life events do not appear to be significant sources of stress. Accordingly, major life events generally do not tend to be related to the health problems that accompany stress. Under some circumstances, however, major life events can be sources of stress. Whether major life events involve positive or negative feelings, for instance is relevant.

Major life events that are positive tend to have either trivially stressful or actually beneficial effects, but major life events that are negative can be stressful and are associated with medical problems. Examples of major life events are getting married, getting divorced and being fired from a job. Although they do not happen very often, when catastrophes do occur, they can be tremendous sources of stress. “Stress Responses although the presence of stressors does not mean that stress responses will necessarily follow, when they do, stress responses are the way in which people react to stressors.

They are the experience of being stressed. Stress responses can be divide into three categories: psychological responses, and behavioral responses. ” (Manson, 2000) Psychological responses are when people react to stressors, a wide variety of cognitive and emotional responses can occur. According to Fleishman (1997), “Examples of cognitive responses are as follows: Concentration problems Indecision Forgetfulness Sensitivity to criticism Self-critical thoughts Rigid attitudes. Physiological responses follow what is called the general adaption syndrome. Behavioral Responses People act differently when they are reacting to stressors.

Sometimes the behaviors are somewhat subtle, such as the following responses: strained facial expressions a shaky voice, tremors, or spasms, jumpiness, accident proneness, difficulty sleeping, over eating or loss of appetite. ” The connection between stressors and stress responses stressors prompt stress responses, right? Well it depends. A number of conscious and unconscious things occur in our inner world that determines whether a stressor in the external world will trigger our stress response. Robbins noted that: “These inner world happenings are referred to as mediating processes and moderating factors.

Alternatively, believe that a stressor is controllable, even if it really is not, tends to make it less stressful. When people are exposed to loud noises, for example they tend to see it as less stressful when they are able to stop it, even if they do not bother to stop it. how much more stressful a stressor becomes from feeling a lack of control over it depends, however on the extent to which the cause of the stressor is seen as stable or unstable, global or specific, and internal or external. ” “Stable and unstable causes represent causes that are enduring and temporary, respectively.

Global and specific causes represent causes that are the relevant to many events and relevant to a single occasion, respectively. Internal and external causes represent causes that are the result of personal characteristics and behaviors or the result of environmental forces, respectively. ” (Manson, 2000) Stress is a part of normal life. It is impossible to completely eliminate stress, and it would not be advisable to do so. Instead, we can learn to manage stress so that we have control over our stress and its effects on our physical and mental health. Stress comes in all forms and affects persons of all ages and all walks of life. No external standards can be applied to predict stress levels in individuals – one need not to have traditionally stressful job to experience work place stress, just as a parent of one child may experience more parental stress than a parent of several children. ” (Robbins). The degree of stress in our lives is highly dependent upon individual factors as you’ve read such as our physical health, the quality of our interpersonal relationships, the amount of support we receive from other and the number of changes or traumatic events that we have recently occurred in our lives.

Works Cited "Facts on Stress. " Washington Post. The Washington Post, 23 Jan. 2007. Web. 05 Mar. 2013. <http://www. washingtonpost. com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/19/AR2007011901430. html>. Hardy, Marcelina. "Statistics on College Student Stress. " LoveToKnow. N. p. , n. d. Web. 05 Mar. 2013. <http://stress. lovetoknow. com/Statistics_on_College_Student_Stress>. Kompier, M. (1994). Stress at work: Does it concern you? Shankill, Ireland: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living & Working Conditions. Robbins, S. (1996).

Organizational behavior: concepts. Controversies, applications. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall Inc. Smither, R. D. (1994). The psychology of work and human performance. New York: Harper & Row. Fleishman, E. A. (1997). Stress and performance effectiveness. Hillsdale, N. J. :L. Erlbaum Associates. Manson, L. (200). Facts about stress [on-line]. Available: http://stress. about. com/cs/copingskills/a/stress101a. htm http://www. statisticbrain. com/stress-statistics/ http://stress. lovetoknow. com/Statistics_on_College_Student_Stress

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