Modules 38 & 39. Health and Stress. Health Psychology – studies how biological, psychological and social factors influence health, illness and treatment. Biopsychosocial Model. Health Psychology Understand the relationship between Mind and Body
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Health and Stress
Health Psychology – studies how biological, psychological and social factors influence health, illness and treatment.
- large number of people
- Patterns (correlations) between lifestyle and health outcomes
- look for risk factors of disease.
Stressors: Events or situations that are perceived as harmful, threatening, or challenging and thus trigger stress response.
Stress –play role in 50% to 70 % of all physical
Stress is a Reaction to a Stressor.
followed by increased rates of psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety that can be long-lasting.
Social Readjustment Scale
- any change, whether negative or
positive is inherently stress producing.
or mental health.
Social/cultural Stressors: poverty, low social status, discrimination
Approach-Approach conflict – win/win
easily resolved and not too stressful
People feel stuck and experience
Stress and anxiety.
Triggered whenever your mind determines that
you are under threat. Response is the same
regardless of the type of stress!
Fight-or-flight response (Cannon)—rapidly occurring chain of internal physical reactions that prepare people to either fight or take flight from an immediate threat
- activates Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS)
Heart rate, BP, release of epinephrine,
adrenaline, and endorphins.
Increases general arousal level
and reduces concentration.
Net loss of amino
Glucocortical Stress Hormones
epinephrine and norepinephrine
Short term elevation (20 to 60 mins)
Triggers fight or flight response
Reduced inflammation and enhance tone of circulatory system.
In long run they weaken important systems, lower immunity and lead to illness.
Prolonged stress also linked to depression & other psychological symptoms.
Stage 1. Alarm
- SNS response.
- good for short term stressors, but when
prolonged . . .
Stage 2. Resistance
- prolonged period of moderate arousal
- continued high levels of hormones that elevate
blood sugars -- increase metabolism
- increase immune response
- prolonged metabolic increase decreases
Alarm Resistance Exhaustion
Burnout - psychological, physical and behavioral
dysfunction in response to continuous, chronic
Shortening of Telomeres
normally occurs with age.
Stress appears to increase the rate of shortening!
Stress does age people.
Presidents actually tend to
live pretty long: WHY?
Access to superior medical
care, good education, and it
takes an inherently healthy
person to endure the rigors of a presidential campaign and administration.
SNS is a direct link between CNS and the physical systems of the body.
Lymphocytes – white blood cells that fight
viruses and bacteria
Lymphocytes have receptors for neurotransmitters and hormones AND they also produce these chemical messengers.
Problems develop when the immune system is either underactive or overactive.
Underactive - does not protect against disease.
Overactive – Immune system may attack one’s own body tissue.
Woman have stronger immune systems than men. Also more susceptible to autoimmune disorders!
Type A - competitive, workaholic, impatient, quick to anger.
Type B - less competitive, easy-going, less hostile
Cynical Hostilityis the most predictive Type A behavior for Heart Disease.
Type A individuals are more susceptible to negative effects of stress, including vulnerability to heart disease, with anger and hostility being primary factors.
1) Assess Stressors
- reduce those you do not need.
2) Cognitive Appraisal
- Sense of Control
- Predictability - plan to cope
- time management
Optimism!! Positive outlook
unstable (temporary) and specific.
- commitment to activities
- see their activities as worthwhile
- see potential stressors as a challenge
- sense of control
5) Journal Writing
Moderate exercise adds
two years to your life!
Text lists many benefits – but misses one.
That physical exertion often tricks the SNS into thinking that the threat is over -- Turns off fight or flight response!
Taking one’s mind off problems can help when the stressor involves a waiting period (i.e., did I get the job) but if it is distracting for coping with the stress, it can make it worse!
We do not have voluntary control over it.
We do however have indirect control.
Components of Relaxation
Control of Breathing
- changes SNS response
responds to imagery the same
way it does to reality. Calming
thoughts and images activate
PNS turning off Fight or flight
- systematic tensing and relaxing of muscle groups