Understanding Stress and Stress Management
1.1 Define what is stress
Stress may be defined as a response or reaction to something in the environment perceived as a threat or physical or mental change.
The transitional model of stress most popular among psychologists is:
A mismatch between the perceived demands of the environment and the perceived ability to cope with those demands.
Cardwell, M et al. (2004). Psychology - Psychology for AS/A2 Level. 3rd ed. London: Collins. p77-113.
1.2 Research and identify different types of stress including positive, negative, physical and emotional.
Hans Seyle, a researcher into stress, brought to light that stress can be related to positive experiences in addition to negative. He referred to positive stress as ‘eustress’ and negative as ‘distress’, where eustress, ‘…is the amount of stress needed for an active, healthy life.’
Psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson conceived the Yerkes – Dodson Law 1908. The law dictates that performance increases up to an optimum level of physical arousal; if arousal continues to increase (past the optimum level), performance declines; i.e. in order to do well in an exam or competition you need to be ‘keyed up’.
If we refer back to the transitional model of stress, ‘a mismatch between the perceived demands of the environment and the perceived ability to cope with those demands’, it would be safe to say that people who overestimate the demands of their exams whilst underestimating the resources they have created for themselves by preparing, experience negative stress.
Seyle proposed that in humans and non-human animals the body responds to a range of psychological and physical stressors with two pathways of physiological activation. He fabricated the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) model which illustrates the short term effects of stressors on the body and suggested that in some circumstances could lead to...
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