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Effects of Stress on Psychological Functions – Stress (PSY,BIO)

by Tarry Ahuja, MD
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    00:01 Okay, so let's take a look at the effects of stress on psychological function.

    00:05 Now if you have small amounts of low to moderate stress like I said, this can actually improve psychological functioning.

    00:11 So this is kind of a good thing.

    00:13 Specially when it's acute or in short periods.

    00:15 So it can provide more energy.

    00:17 Motivation for cognitive activities.

    00:19 You are very,very focused.

    00:20 You are aroused.

    00:21 And you are doing well whatever you need to do.

    00:23 Now the flip side is, if you had a sub-optimal condition, so this could be something where it could be really, really, low or unusually high.

    00:33 So unusual levels of stress aren't necessarily a bad thing but they are not going to spark your psychological function.

    00:40 So if you're sitting completely relaxed in your apartment, fully rested, nothing to worry about in the world, psychologically you're not as sharp as if I was to say, "Things are looking pretty good." You have a full night to study.

    00:56 And you have a small test tomorrow.

    00:57 So the task is considered not overly difficult.

    01:01 So you are not stressed out.

    01:02 But there's a little bit of stress because it's a three question quiz and you have the full night to study.

    01:07 That's a good situation to be in.

    01:10 The flip side is, I'm going to give you 10 page exam in one hour go, your stressed out.

    01:16 That be also sub-optimal because you're above your normal range of what you would consider optimal, okay.

    01:23 And situations like that it actually lead to fatigue, irritability, inability to concentrate and even lead to depression over time, okay.

    01:30 Now, if stress is accompanied by a lack of control, and I mentioned that in a couple, few moments ago, overtime this can lead to something called "Learned helplessness." So what are we referring to here.

    01:45 Learned helplessness is a sense of exhaustion and the lack of belief in one's ability to manage situation.

    01:49 So let's break that down in English for you.

    01:51 So what I'm saying is you are in a situation that is extremely stressful, and you have no control over that situation, that' fairly difficult on you.

    02:00 You might feel helpless.

    02:02 Okay, now when you say it's learned helplessness, you know that there's nothing I can do that to myself out of this situation.

    02:09 And the people, individual, yourself might feel like, "Whoa, there's nothing I can do about it." I've no control.

    02:15 I'm just going to sit here and take it.

    02:17 So as opposed to, if I say you have a difficult task ahead of you, you know your resources, your appraise at something that's manageable, you'll say, "Okay, I'm not helpless I have some control." Versus, I'm going to say to you, "You're going to like this exam, This MCAT exam in 5 minutes from now.

    02:32 I'm going to actually tie your hands.

    02:34 You won't be able to study.

    02:35 And I'm going to slap your around for few minutes.

    02:38 And there's nothing you can do about it.

    02:39 How are you going to feel? You are going to feel pretty helpless.

    02:41 And at that point you say, "I have no control over this." "I have no lack in my abilities." "I have no belief in my abilities." "I'm just going to deal with it whatever happens, happens." That's a pretty difficult situation to be in and we don't like to be in those situations.

    02:55 Now back to my example of catastrophes, those are situations where you have very little control.

    03:01 You don't know what's going on.

    03:03 And there's nothing you can do to remedial situation.

    03:05 If bombs are going off and you are stuck in the middle of the city center and you don't know where the next bomb is going to be.

    03:10 You don't know whether run.

    03:11 You don't, we don't have any of the equipment or tools you need to deal with that situation.

    03:14 That's pretty helpless.

    03:17 It's not a lot you can do there.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Effects of Stress on Psychological Functions – Stress (PSY,BIO) by Tarry Ahuja, MD is from the course Responding to the World.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Fatigue
    2. Increased concentration
    3. Determination
    4. Happiness
    5. Increased alertness
    1. Learned helplessness
    2. James-Lange theory
    3. Cognition
    4. Appraisal
    5. Consciousness
    1. Trying to drive through bad weather
    2. Competing in an advanced competition with 2 months of training
    3. Studying at the beach
    4. Preparing for a final two weeks away
    5. Continually being behind on rent and utilities

    Author of lecture Effects of Stress on Psychological Functions – Stress (PSY,BIO)

     Tarry Ahuja, MD

    Tarry Ahuja, MD


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