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Psychological stress

1. Causes and Types of Psychological Stress: – Stress is a non-specific response influenced by individual perception. – Stressors can be physical or psychological events […]

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1. Causes and Types of Psychological Stress:
– Stress is a non-specific response influenced by individual perception.
– Stressors can be physical or psychological events perceived as threats or challenges.
– Stress can result in distress or eustress based on individual differences.
– Stressors include crises/catastrophes, major life events, daily hassles, and ambient stressors.
– Chronic, disruptive, or uncontrollable stressors can impact health.

2. Impact of Different Stressors:
– Crises/catastrophes are unforeseen and uncontrollable stressors like natural disasters.
– Major life events such as marriage or moving can cause stress.
– Daily hassles like meeting deadlines are frequent stressors.
– Ambient stressors, such as noise pollution, can contribute to chronic stress.

3. Stressor Measurement and Assessment:
– Life events scales like the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale assess stressful experiences.
– Scores indicate the risk of illness, with >300 being high risk.
– Various methods like self-assessment, physiological measurements, and valid questionnaires are used for evaluation.
– Physiological responses like oculomotor function can indicate stress levels.

4. Effects of Psychological Stress:
– Physical effects include the release of hormones like cortisol and changes in energy levels.
– Emotional effects can lead to anxiety, depression, and irritability.
– Behavioral effects may include changes in eating habits and increased substance abuse risk.
– Cognitive effects can impair concentration, memory, and decision-making abilities.

5. Coping Strategies and Interventions for Stress:
– Coping mechanisms like exercise and meditation can help manage stress.
– Social support is crucial in reducing the emotional impact of stress.
– Cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness practices are effective in addressing the cognitive and emotional effects of stress.
– Stress management techniques can help modify behavioral responses to stress.

Psychological stress (Wikipedia)

In psychology, stress is a feeling of emotional strain and pressure. Stress is a type of psychological pain. Small amounts of stress may be beneficial, as it can improve athletic performance, motivation and reaction to the environment. Excessive amounts of stress, however, can increase the risk of strokes, heart attacks, ulcers, and mental illnesses such as depression and also aggravation of a pre-existing condition.

Psychological Stress
A man expressing stress

Psychological stress can be external and related to the environment, but may also be caused by internal perceptions that cause an individual to experience anxiety or other negative emotions surrounding a situation, such as pressure, discomfort, etc., which they then deem stressful.

Hans Selye (1974) proposed four variations of stress. On one axis he locates good stress (eustress) and bad stress (distress). On the other is over-stress (hyperstress) and understress (hypostress). Selye advocates balancing these: the ultimate goal would be to balance hyperstress and hypostress perfectly and have as much eustress as possible.

The term "eustress" comes from the Greek root eu- which means "good" (as in "euphoria"). Eustress results when a person perceives a stressor as positive. "Distress" stems from the Latin root dis- (as in "dissonance" or "disagreement"). Medically defined distress is a threat to the quality of life. It occurs when a demand vastly exceeds a person's capabilities.

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