Chapter 3 managing stress restoring mind body harmony
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Chapter 3 Managing Stress: Restoring Mind–Body Harmony. How Stress Occurs. Stress occurs as a result of the interplay of environmental situations and life events and the mental, emotional, and physical reactions. Harm-and-loss situations: Stress occurs because an important need is not met.

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Chapter 3 Managing Stress: Restoring Mind–Body Harmony

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Chapter 3Managing Stress: Restoring Mind–Body Harmony


How Stress Occurs

  • Stress occurs as a result of the interplay of environmental situations and life events and the mental, emotional, and physical reactions.

    • Harm-and-loss situations: Stress occurs because an important need is not met.

    • Threat situations: Perceived or interpreted as potentially causing harm or loss.

    • Challenge situations: Major life transitions that are opportunities for growth.

    • Positive challenges create eustress;negative challenges create distress.


The Mental Component of Stress

  • The appraisal of a situation as absolutely or potentially damaging to one’s physical or psychological well-being or a threat to one’s survival

  • Believing that one’s personal resources are insufficient


The Emotional Component of Stress

  • Consists of unpleasant emotions that arise from one’s appraisal of a situation as harmful or threatening and one’s resources for protection as limited


The Components of Stress


Factors Affecting the Experience of Stress

  • Predictability

  • Control

  • Belief in outcome

  • Social support


The Fight-or-Flight Response

  • The response activates coordinated discharge of sympathetic nervous system and portions of the parasympathetic nervous system and of hormones, especially epinephrine.

  • Emotions arise in the limbic system, and subsequent physiological response is mediated by the hypothalamus.


The Fight-or-Flight Response

Fight-or-flight responses include:

  • Elevated heart rate

  • Elevated blood pressure

  • Constricted blood vessels

  • Dilated pupils

  • Alert, aroused state

  • Liberation of glucose and fatty acids for quick energy


Hypothalamo-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis

  • Stressful thoughts activate secretion of corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF) from the hypothalamus.

  • CRF stimulates release of ACTH from the pituitary.

  • ACTH stimulates releases of cortisol from the adrenal glands.

  • Cortisol helps provide energy for responding to stress.

  • Extended cortisol release suppresses the immune system.


Hypothalamo-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis


How Stress Contributes to Illness

  • Causes the mind to become worn down

  • Weakens immunity

  • Motivates unhealthy behaviors in an attempt to deal with stress


Illness from Stress

  • Emotions from stress change physiology:

    • Impairment of heart and immune function

  • Trying to modify stressful emotions can foster unhealthy behaviors:

    • Smoking, drinking alcohol, other drug use

  • Not engaging in health-promoting activities:

    • Regular exercise, proper nutrition, sufficient sleep


General Adaptation Syndrome

  • Prolonged stress produces a characteristic response called the general adaptation syndrome (GAS).

  • Activation of GAS can lead to profound changes in vital body organs.

  • Animals receiving mild electric shocks develop ulcers.

  • Air traffic controllers have high incidence of ulcers and other gastrointestinal illness.


General Adaptation Syndrome

  • Three phases:

    • Stage of alarm: A person’s ability to withstand or resist a stressor is lowered by the need to deal with the stressor, no matter what the stressor is.


General Adaptation Syndrome

  • Stage of resistance: The body adapts to the continued presence of the stressor by producing more epinephrine, increasing alertness and blood pressure, and suppressing the immune system; if prolonged, the ability to resist is depleted.

  • Stage of exhaustion: When the ability to resist is depleted, the person becomes ill; this can take months or years.


General Adaptation Syndrome


Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious, long-lasting psychological condition produced by stress.

  • PTSD results from stress caused by involvement in war, living through a natural disaster, rape, physical assault, life-threatening illness, or any other traumatic experience.


Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

  • Diagnosis based on the following symptoms:

    • Flashbacks to the traumatizing event or recurrent thoughts and dreams of the experience

    • Difficulty sleeping

    • Outbursts of anger

    • Being hyperalert and easily startled

    • Little interest in daily activities

    • Feeling cut off from others

    • A sense of having a limited future


Managing Stress

  • Eliminate interaction with the stressor.

  • Change beliefs and goals.

  • Seek support from those you trust.

  • Use a variety of strategies to cope with stress.

  • Practice versatile coping and passive coping.


What You Can Do About Stress

  • We often contribute to our own stress.

    • Be mindful to decrease the time your mind swirls around the stress in your life.


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