Psychology of Physical and Mental Health
Stress is a negative emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological, cognitive and behavioural changes that are directed either toward altering the stressful event or accommodating its effects (Taylor, 2012).
It can be described as the difficulties and strains experienced by living organisms as they try to adapt to changing or new environmental conditions. All situations that require adjustment can be regarded as potentially stressful (Butcher, 2012) Stress is the effect on the organism and is a dynamic construct because it reflects the interaction between the organism and the environment over time (Monroe, 2008).
Stress is a reaction to a stressor. Stressors are demands made by an individual’s internal or external environment that upset the balance, thus affecting psychological and physical well-being and requiring action to restore balance (Lazarus & Cohen, 1977) The anticipation of a stressor can be as stressful as its actual occurrence and sometimes more (Wirtz et al, 2006). For example, for students the thought of exams can be more stressful than actually doing them.
Selye (1974) suggested that stressors can occur in negative situations (e.g. for some taking an exam) and in positive situations (e.g. a 21st birthday party) therefor affecting the person’s physiological and psychological health negatively and positively. He described the negative experience distress can be damaging and unpleasant and the positive experience as eustress. If a student experiences eustress before an exam it can sometimes be beneficial as the characteristics are; heightened awareness and increased mental alertness which may result in better cognitive and behavioural performance (Rice, 1999).
The sources of student stress
There can be many sources student stress which include time management (part time jobs, setting priorities, setting deadlines), financial problems,
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