Chapter 3 Stress Management
Learning Objectives Define stress, eustress, and distress. Describe the body's stress response. Explain why chronic, long-term stress is harmful. Identify common sources of stress. Describe strategies for effectively managing stress. Assess the sources of stress in your own life. Create a personalized plan for stress management.
Did You Know? Year after year, college students report stress as the number one obstacle to their academic achievement. In a recent survey, 19.3% of college students reported that sleep difficulties negatively affected their academic performance. 29% of adults aged 18–29 report feeling extreme stress levels of 8, 9, or 10 on a 10-point scale.
What Is Stress? The collective psychobiological condition that occurs in reaction to a disruptive, unexpected, or stimulating stimulus. Stressor: Any physical or psychological condition, event, or factor that causes stress.
Types of Stress Eustress: Stress resulting from positive stressors. Distress: Stress resulting from negative stressors. A reflection of the harmful effects these stressors often have on the mind and body.
The Body’s Stress Response The specific psychobiological changes that occur as the body attempts to cope with the stressor and return to homeostasis, or balance.
Physical Responses to Stress Increased heart rate and blood pressure. Rush of adrenaline. Trembling, sweating, rapid breathing. Adrenal glands produce cortisol and adrenaline. Pupils dilate. Circulatory system produces blood-clotting factor. Digestive system slows and liver releases glucose into bloodstream.
Fight-or-Flight Response Kicks in any time you face a stressor. Evolved as a survival mechanism to help humans escape physical danger. Temporarily boosts strength and reflexes to physically enable avoidance or confrontation of danger. Can be unhelpful or even harmful. Most modern-day stressors are not the extreme physical threats the fight-or-flight response is designed for. Fight-or-flight experienced too often can take a powerful toll on body and health.
General Adaptation Syndrome Developed by Hans Selye The body’s attempt to stay in physiological balance (homeostasis) Three stages Alarm Resistance Exhaustion
General Adaptation Syndrome Alarm When first confronted by a stressor, your body activates the fight-or-flight response, boosts levels of stress hormones, and increases heart rate.
General Adaptation Syndrome Resistance As the stressor continues, your body continues to turn to its internal resources to deal with the stressor and try to restore balance.
General Adaptation Syndrome Exhaustion After long exposure to the stressor, your body’s ability to adapt eventually wears out, and you cannot continue to function normally.
Allostasis and Allostatic Overload Allostasis: The short-term adaptive processes that help the body deal with the challenges of stress. Allostatic overload: The feeling of being mentally and physically stressed out.
Symptoms of Chronic Stress: Physical Fatigue Lying awake at night Headache Upset stomach Muscle tension Change in sex drive • Teeth grinding • Dizziness • Chest tightness • Change in menstrual cycle (for women)
Symptoms of Chronic Stress: Psychological Feeling angry or irritable Lacking interest or motivation in daily activities Feeling anxious or nervous Feeling sad or depressed
Health Effects of Chronic Stress Increases your risk of heart disease. Can result in digestive problems (stomachache, constipation, diarrhea). Weakens your immune system. Compromises your mental health. Chronic stress syndrome: A collection of symptoms resulting from the long-term effects of prolonged exposure to the body’s physiological stress responses.
Stress Overload: Emotional Warning Signs Anxiety Sleep disruption Anger and agitation Trouble concentrating Unproductive worry Frequent mood swings Depression
Stress Overload: Physical Warning Signs Stooped posture Sweaty palms Chronic fatigue Weight loss or weight gain Migraine or tension headaches • Neck aches • Digestive problems • Asthma attacks • Physical symptoms a health-care provider can’t attribute to another condition
Stress Overload: Behavioral Warning Signs Overreaction to problems or difficult situations Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs Unusually impulsive behavior Withdrawal from relationships or contact with others Feeling “burned out” on school or work Frequent bouts of crying Feelings of anxiety or panic
Common Causes of Stress Financial stressors Daily hassles Academic pressure Job-related issues Social stressors (friends, relationships) Major life events (marriage, injury, divorce, job loss) Environmental stressors (pollution, noise) Internal stressors
The Multi-Tasking Myth • Discussion Questions • Have you ever driven while you were distracted: talking on a cell phone, texting, changing your music selection, looking at the navigation system? Have you experienced a close call while doing something that reduces your concentration on driving? • How often each day do you check your emails or other social networking accounts? Have you ever tried accessing these electronic messages on a schedule? • When is the best time during your day for you to experience uninterrupted deep thought?
Strategies for Reducing Stressors and Managing Stress • Live a healthier lifestyle. • Manage your time effectively. • Get enough sleep. • Eat well. • Exercise. • Strengthen your support network. • Communicate. • Take time for hobbies and leisure. • Keep a journal.
Getting Enough Sleep • Sleep deprivation can add stress to your life. • Stress also affects sleep quality. • One-third of Americans sleep less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. • Sleep deprivation can affect physical, emotional, social, and mental health. • Sleep debt is caused by sleeping less than needed. • It cannot be made up, but can be avoided by getting enough quality sleep each night.
Tips to Get a Better Night’s Sleep Go to bed a bit earlier. Keep regular bedtime hours. If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and stay busy until sleepy. Make your bedroom dark, quiet, and a little cool. Avoid caffeinated drinks after lunchtime; avoid alcohol and cigarettes before bed. • Exercise earlier in the day. • Put aside stressful things to deal with in the morning. • Avoid all-nighters and don’t work in bed. • Give yourself time to wind down before bed. • Try not to nap or to sleep in on weekends.
Fatal Insomnia • Discussion Questions • What happens to someone who has fatal familial insomnia(FFI)? How can FFI eventually lead to death? • How does insomnia affect someone after just one single night without sleep? • Have you ever experienced sleep deprivation? If so, describe the ways it affected you both physically and mentally.
Relaxation Techniques Listening to music Meditation or prayer Progressive muscle relaxation Visualization and guided imagery Massage Biofeedback
Reframe Your Thinking Rewrite internal messages; how do you talk to yourself? Set realistic expectations. Build your self-esteem. Be proactive. Tackle problems head-on. Have a sense of humor. Take the long view. Accept that you cannot control everything. Share your feelings.
Seek Help from Health Professionals Consider counseling. Talk with a doctor. Use caution with alternative remedies. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
Assess Your Stressors Complete the self-assessment in this chapter. Complete the Behavior Change Workshop. Choose a stress management plan that will work for you. Remember that managing stress is a long-term commitment.