University of West Alabama
According to Taylor (2012), stress is a negative emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological, cognitive, and behavioral changes that are directed either toward altering the stressful event or accommodating to its effects (p. 139). There are two types of stress; distress and eustress. Eustress is considered positive stress and motivates a person and is short-term. Distress is considered negative stress, can cause anxiety, and is long or short-term. It is hard to categorize stressors as eustress or distress. Stressors are events in life that causes stress on an individual. Stressors can include money, employment, family dynamics, health issues, and/or the economy. Stressors are different for each person. What is considered stressful for one may not be stressful for someone else.
Stress causes the fight or flight response. Fight refers to the aggressive reaction to stress and flight refers to the fleeing from what is causing the stress. Flight can also be attained by substance abuse. In the experience of stress, one uses primary and secondary appraisals. Primary appraisal is the determination of whether the stress is a threat, causes harm, or a challenge. Harm is perceived as damage that has already been done by an event. A threat is perceived as possible future damage. A challenge is perceived as a potential future event that can be beneficial (Taylor, 2012). Secondary appraisals is the initiation of the person’s response and coping strategies to the stress.
Stress can take a toll on a person’s body. The cerebral cortex is responsible for labeling an event threatening or harmful. The hypothalamus gets information from the cerebral cortex to initiate the flight or fight response also known as sympathetic nervous system arousal. This arousal stimulates the medulla of the adrenal glands which then secrets epinephrine and norepinephrine (Taylor, 2012).
References: Taylor, S. (2012). Health psychology. (8 ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.