The Nature of Stress – Stress (PSY)

by Tarry Ahuja, PhD

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    00:01 Okay, so let's move on and in this module we are going to take a look at stress.

    00:05 More specifically we are going to look at the nature of stress.

    00:08 So right now, you are sitting at your desk, and I'm pretty sure you are little bit stressed out.

    00:14 You are preparing for the MCAT exam.

    00:16 You are thinking about, where am I going to apply.

    00:18 Am I going to pass? This is fairly stressful.

    00:21 So let's walk through what that looks like.

    00:23 Now stress is made up of a couple of things.

    00:27 Psychological and physiological components at the same time.

    00:31 That's pretty straight forward.

    00:33 I think that makes logical sense.

    00:34 When you're stressed out it has an impact on your mind.

    00:36 And it has an impact on your body.

    00:38 So that's grouped as physiological body and psychological mind.

    00:43 Now I think you've heard this before as well, people say well little bit of stress is actually good for sure.

    00:49 And that's true to some extent.

    00:52 So acute stress which means short periods of stress can be actually positive and they've been shown to actually increase your performance out of specific tasks.

    01:01 So say for example, you're going into write your MCAT exam.

    01:05 You have prepared.

    01:07 You have read all the books.

    01:08 You've watched this lecture.

    01:10 And you are uberly ready to write this exam.

    01:13 So you really should not be that stressed out.

    01:16 But when you go to the testing facility and you're sitting at your desk, and you have your type 2 pencil in your hand and you're looking down, you know, you are going to be a little bit stressed.

    01:25 It might come off as excitement, arousal, whatever, it is a form of stress.

    01:30 It's short lived.

    01:32 Usually for the period of the exam or at least the first part of the exam.

    01:35 And then you start getting into this zone.

    01:36 Now, when you are stressed out, that moment that's actually increasing, increasing your performance.

    01:43 Because it's helping with memory recall, it's helping with your focus.

    01:46 It's helping with a lot of things.

    01:48 What I want you to get out of that, it's short period that stress is actually a good thing.

    01:52 The flip side, let's take a look at somebody's whose perhaps, who you want to be, a doctor.

    01:58 And you are in the ER.

    02:00 And you are one of the best in the country.

    02:02 So you're in high demand.

    02:03 You're working all the time and you are saving lives.

    02:05 You're a rockstar.

    02:06 That's great.

    02:08 That was your dream.

    02:09 In reality doing that full time, all the time, can be quiet stressful.

    02:14 No sleep, lot of pressure.

    02:15 Life and death in your hands that is called chronic stress.

    02:19 Meaning a longer period of time.

    02:20 Now chronic stress can actually be a negative thing.

    02:25 Because we know that over a long period of time that can actually do things like suppress your immune system.

    02:31 Immunosuppression.

    02:32 It can cause hypertension.

    02:34 And it can actually make you more prone to illness.

    02:36 So we're going to walk through that in a little bit more detail.

    02:40 Now the first thing you got to do, is figure out, is this thing actually is stressful.

    02:46 So we go through a process of appraisal.

    02:48 Like anything we do in life, we need to assess the situation.

    02:52 So the response evoked by a stressor is individual based on appraisal.

    02:55 So what we're saying here, is me, you, the girl sitting next to you, all assess stress individually.

    03:04 So if I were to say to you, I'm going to need you to write this MCAT exam right now, even though you are not done studying, that might be stressful.

    03:12 Now you might ask the girl besides you, who has been studying for months, and for her, she's like, "Sure, bring it on." And if you would ask me, I would start crying because I would probably fail.

    03:23 Okay, so each of us assessed it differently.

    03:25 Based on our individual appraisal of our resources, our ability to handle that stress, okay.

    03:32 So we say appraisal is how individual interprets an event and as stressful/threatening or not, okay.

    03:38 Now if appraise is a challenge than this can actually be a motivator.

    03:43 So like I said the girl sitting next to you who has studied, she might say,"Right on, I'm so ready for this." "This is going to be a fun challenge for me because I'm prepared." "Because I'm smart, I'm going to kill this exam." As opposed to if I asked you, and you have not being studying, you might be threatened and afraid that this is a difficult thing for you to do.

    04:06 So another type of threat might be if there is something that's causing potential harm to your safety.

    04:13 So for example, a stressor might be a burning house.

    04:17 As you can see here.

    04:18 This poor girl seems a little bit stressed out because she is in front of her house which is not on fire.

    04:23 So is that a threat to you, yes.

    04:26 Is that appraised as a stress, for sure, okay.

    04:29 So the more uncontrollable event is, the greater the stress response.

    04:33 So you can imagine a sliding scale.

    04:34 So you know, if you are in your house and if there is smoke at the stove, that's stressful.

    04:40 If you walk in and your kitchen is on fire, that's even more stressful.

    04:44 If you walk up to your house and your house is on fire, and your 14 kittens are in the house, that's extremely stressful.

    04:51 So each of those you can see can evoke more increasing amount of stress and the appraisal of each is different.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture The Nature of Stress – Stress (PSY) by Tarry Ahuja, PhD is from the course Responding to the World.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Psychological and physiological
    2. Emotional and psychological
    3. Emotional and physiological
    4. Emotional, psychological, and physiological
    5. Cognitive, physiological, and psychological
    1. Mary sitting in the examination hall, feeling pressurized to perform well
    2. Amanda coping with her house and her job of being a renowned surgeon
    3. Jack heartbroken by his spouse’s death
    4. Alex being in a traumatic bonding relationship with her husband
    5. Josh living a homeless life for several years
    1. Sweating, palpitations, arousal, feeling overwhelmed, and nervousness
    2. Depression and long-term unhappiness
    3. Isolation and loneliness
    4. Anger and irritability
    5. Mood swings

    Author of lecture The Nature of Stress – Stress (PSY)

     Tarry Ahuja, PhD

    Tarry Ahuja, PhD

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