Healthy Personalities - (Henry Dreher, The Immune Power Personality)
Tend to be attuned to their own mind-body signals of pleasure and pain, including such things as fatigue, anger and sadness.
Have the capacity to confide their secrets, traumas, and feelings to others instead of keeping such things locked inside.
Exhibit the three C's: a sense of control over their health and quality of life; a strong commitment to work, creative activities or relationships; and an ability to see stress as a challenge rather than a threat.
Are appropriately assertive about their needs and feelings.
Tend to form relationships based on unconditional love rather than frustrated power.
Are altruistically committed to helping others.
Demonstrated willingness to explore many different facets of their personalities, which gives them strengths to fall back on if one fails.
Definitions of Stress
the rate of wear and tear within the body (Hans Selye, 1976)
the mismatch between an individual's coping skills and the demands of his/her environment (Dan Taylor, 1989)
arises when the perceived demands of a situation exceed the perceived capabilities for meeting the demands (Velma Walker, Lynn Brokaw)
Types of Stress - (Selye)
Eustress - good stress or short term stress that strengthens us for immediate physical activity. Gives us energy, enthusiasm. We have a sense of control, we feel we can make choices and influence outcome.
Distress - negative or harmful stress that causes us to constantly readjust or adapt. We feel we have no control, few or no choices, perhaps the source of the stress is not clear, it is prolonged or there are several sources existing simultaneously. We feel tension, pressure, anxiety. The key is our ability to cope.
Hyperstress - or overload occurs when stressful events pile up and stretch the limits of our adaptability. We can not cope with too many changes at once that we are not prepared for.
Hypostress or underload occurs when we are bored, lacking stimulation or unchallenged (job satisfaction, for example)
Causes of stress- stress consists of an event (stressor) and how we feel about it, interpret it, and what we do to cope with it.
Anticipated life events -- graduation, a job promotion, entering college, marriage, birth, etc.
Unexpected life events -- a serious accident, separation, financial problems, sudden death, etc.
Accumulating life events -- a dead-end job, traffic, deadlines, on-going conflict, etc.
Stress is dynamic, not static. At certain times in life we may encounter more stress, usually when there are CHANGES.
Mental - Your thoughts, how you perceive an event: "stressors"
Early Danger Signs of Overstress - (CareerTrack, Stress Reduction Workshop for Women Workbook)
Increase in physical problems and illnesses
More problems with relationships
Increase in negative thoughts and feelings
Significant increase in bad habits
The Effects of Stress
Dr. Hans Seyle (1974) determined the body had a 3-stage reactions to stress, the "General Adaptation Syndrome"
Alarm -- your body recognizes a stressor and prepares for fight or flight. (hormones released; increased heartbeat, respiration; raised blood sugar level; slowed digestion)
Resistance -- recovery and stabilization, return to homeostasis. The person tries to adapt or cope with stress, and if successful there is effective functioning.
Exhaustion -- if stress persists and becomes long term. If you are under continuous stress, physiological and behavioral changes are likely to occur. A number of illnesses
are linked to stress.
Examples of Physical Effects of Stress (Miller and Smith, 1993; Davis et al., 1988): Headaches, dermatitis, ulcers, asthma, colitis, common colds, skin rashes, allergies, hyperventilation, vaginal discharges, dizziness, muscle spasms, hypertension, rapid heart rate, impotence, indigestion, diarrhea, stomach aches, fatigue, aching back and limbs, neck and shoulder tension, excessive sweating, blurry vision, burning stomach, vomiting, delayed menstruation
Examples of Behavioral Effects of Stress (Miller and Smith, 1993; Davis et al., 1988):
Nervous tics, door slamming, fist clenching, insomnia, tears, frowning, hair twisting, jaw tightening, nail biting, grinding of teeth, temper tantrums, apathy, visible fears, clammy skin, withdrawal, depression, irritability, acts of violence, impatience, changed eating habits, changed drinking habits, changed smoking habits, worry, boredom.
*Source for this material except where otherwise noted is Velma Walker and Lynn Brokaw, 'Chapter 8 Managing Stress' in Becoming Aware: A Look at Human Relations and Personal Adjustment. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Sixth Edition.
**Walker and Brokaw, 'Chapter 8' in Becoming Aware.
***Primary source for Managing Stress is Kevin W. King, Counseling Psychologist, 'Chapter 25 Managing Stress' in John W. Gardner and A. Jerome Jexler, Your College Experience Expanded Reader Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1997. Other sources are noted. This information was modified and augmented by Karen Wilson and Betty Michaels for Kaleidoscope Women's Health Conference, 10/98.