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March 30, 2019
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March 30, 2019

Stress And Health

I’m so stressed out!

•I have too much to do.

•I don’t know where to start, so I end up doing nothing.

•I wake up in the middle of the night.

•I can’t fall asleep.

•I’m tired all the time.

•I procrastinate.

•My stomach has butterflies in it all the time but they don’t feel very pretty.

•Is it normal to feel this way?

•I can’t stop thinking.

•I don’t want to eat.

•I only want to eat.

•I need to get rid of this!

 Stress. Life events and demands that impose or exceed our adaptive capacity (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). What? Things are happening in our lives that exceed our ability to deal with them. Did you know that stress is perceived? What you think is stressful is different than what I may think is stressful. Some life events such as unemployment (Frasquilho et al., 2016) or having a low income (Panjwani et al., 2016) are frequently found to be stressors across cultures, and more so than other variables. This isn’t really much of a surprise, is it? Other stressors may depend upon the individual, upbringing, personality, family support, gender, race, and a myriad of other factors.

 What does stress do to our health? The perception of stress, can influence the pathogenesis of disease by causing negative affective states. What are negative affective states? Some of the symptoms are listed above and describe feelings of anxiety and depression. These symptoms then exert direct effects on our physiological processes that influence our risk for disease (Cohen, Janicki-Deverts, & Miller, 2007). Look at this quick video at WebMD that outlines that 5 ways stress can affect your body: https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/video/stress-body (opens in a new window). This is a more detailed view on what is going on inside your body during times of increased stress: https://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-stress-affects-your-body-sharon-horesh-bergquist  (opens in a new window). Think stress is just something we should just all learn to live with as it is now? Hmmm… maybe not so much.

 Sometimes, we can’t do much about our situation and it is an increasingly a part of our lives. We need to learn to protect ourselves from its long term effects and how to deal with it day to day. There are many ways to cope with stress. Each coping skill and the effectiveness of each technique depends on the type of stress, the individual, and the particular situation. Of course, when it comes to coping, not all techniques are good choices. Overeating, drugs, smoking, drinking too much etc.. would represent unhealthy ways to cope with stress.

 For your discussion board assignment this week, take the Perceived Stress Scale found at this site: https://das.nh.gov/wellness/docs/percieved%20stress%20scale.pdf (opens in new window). Read the directions carefully and score yourself.

In the discussion board area, share your score and:

If you fall in the high or moderate range – find a healthy coping mechanism to share with your classmates that you have not tried before that you are willing to try. You may not select one someone has already chosen (so yes, you have to read previous responses). Why do you think this would work for you?

If you fall in the low range – Share with your classmates why you think you are in this range? Is it genetic or learned behavior? Why? Do you have coping skills you can share with your classmates? Were you always this way?

 References: 

Cohen, S. and Janicki-Deverts, D. (2012) Who’s stressed? Distributions of psychological stress in the United States in probability samples from 1983, 2006, and 2009. Journal of Applied Social Psychology,42, 1320-1334. 

Frasquilho, D., de Matos, M. G., Marques, A., Gaspar, T., and Caldas-de-Almeida, J. M. (2016). Distress and unemployment: the related economic and noneconomic factors in a sample of unemployed adults. Int. J. Public Health, 61.

Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress,appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer.

Panjwani, N., Chaplin, T. M., Sinha, R., and Mayes, L. C. (2016). Gender differences in emotion expression in low-income adolescents under stress. J. Nonverbal Behavior, 40, 117–132.

Important guidelines to follow:

If you fall in the high or moderate range – find a healthy coping mechanism to share with your classmates that you have not tried before that you are willing to try. You may not select one someone has already chosen (so yes, you have to read previous responses). Why do you think this would work for you?

If you fall in the low range – Share with your classmates why you think you are in this range? Is it genetic or learned behavior? Why? Do you have coping skills you can share with your classmates? Were you always this way?

Use APA Formatting Guide to create accurate citations and documentation to give credit for any resource material used in your response. Use at least 300 words.

 

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