Answers to unit 6

1. Explain in your own words what you understand stress is. Include examples of stress and the mental effects of stress.

Some stress is good for you it keeps you alert and protects you in times of danger or when you need to think or act fast. It is normal to feel stressed about exams as it can help to keep you focussed. Prolonged or unwanted stress can be harmful.
Stress can have many effects on an individual; research has shown that stress is associated with various illnesses, including heart attacks and the common cold. One reason for this is that stress generally reduces the ability of the immune system to fight off invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Stress can also interfere with your sleep, your ability to do your job and coping with the basic day to day life.

When psychologists talk about stress they refer to the causes of stress reactions, “Stressors” or to the effects of stress reactions on our physical and mental functioning. The term stressor is used to refer to demands which throw the body out of balance and force it to respond. Examples of stressors are factors like work overload, life changes, daily hassles and noise. Psychologists are interested in the causes of stress and the ways in which stress affects us. Stress management is very important in today’s very busy and stressful lives.

The term stress was introduced into psychology by Hans Selye. He was the first researcher to conduct detailed studies of the psychological changes that take place under conditions of short term and long term stress. Much of his research was based on experiments with animals exposing them to a variety of stressors, for example, bacterial infections, toxins, physical restraint and extreme heat and cold. Based on his results, he argued that all stressors produce much the same reaction, the same general bodily response – the GAS.

Hans Selye 1956 study GAS, or General Adaptation Syndrome represents the body’s defence against stress....