Essay on Stress

3299 Words 14 Pages
Stress

(spring 1997)
At one time or another, most people experience stress. The term stress has been used to describe a variety of negative feelings and reactions that accompany threatening or challenging situations. However, not all stress reactions are negative. A certain amount of stress is actually necessary for survival. For example, birth is one of the most stressful experiences of life. The high level of hormones released during birth, which are also involved in the stress response, are believed to prepare the newborn infant for adaptation to the challenges of life outside the womb. These biological responses to stress make the newborn more alert promoting the bonding process and, by extension, the child's physical survival.
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Hans Selye (1982) points out that few people define the concept of stress in the same way or even bother to attempt a clear-cut definition. According to Selye, an important aspect of stress is that a wide variety of dissimilar situations are capable of producing the stress response such as fatigue, effort, pain, fear, and even success. This has led to several definitions of stress, each of which highlights different aspects of stress. One of the most comprehensive models of stress is the Biopsychosocial Model of Stress (Bernard & Krupat, 1994). According to the Biopsychosocial Model of Stress, stress involves three components: an external component, an internal component, and the interaction between the external and internal components.
The external component of the Biopsychosocial Model of stress involves environmental events that precede the recognition of stress and can elicit a stress response. A previously mentioned, the stress reaction is elicited by a wide variety of psychosocial stimuli that are either physiologically or emotionally threatening and disrupt the body's homeostasis (Cannon, 1932). We are usually aware of stressors when we feel conflicted, frustrated, or pressured. Most of the common stressors fall within four broad categories: personal, social/familial, work, and the environment. These stressful events have been linked to a variety of psychological physical complaints. For example bereavement

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