Definitions Related to Stress Stress Management

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1 Definitions Related to Stress Stress Management Allan M. Judd, PhD Department of Physiology and Developmental Biology Stress is not just having responsibilities, expectations and needs, or a feeling of being uncomfortable. Stress is any condition that results in an increase of cortisol release from the adrenal gland. A stressor is any physical, emotional, or psychological factor that activates the stress response. Characteristics of Stress Stress affects the whole body. A wide variety of stressors cause the identical response. Therefore, whether the stress is fear, injury, anger, excitement, or some type of infection, the stress response will be the same. Stressors that Cause Physical Damage to the Tissues of the Body Can Cause Short-Term or Long-Term Stress Bacterial, Viral, and Parasitic Infections Are Stressors Injury is a Stressor Bacteria Virus Parasites 1

2 Cancer is a Stressor Psychological Stressors that Cause Short-Term Activation of the Stress Response Danger is a Stressor Anger is a Stressor Psychological Stressors that Cause Long-Term Activation of the Stress Response Work and Work Relationships May Be Stressors 2

3 The Physical and Emotional Health of Loved Ones Can Be a Stressor The Homework, Exams and Study Associated with Education is Often a Stressor Other Types of Long-Term Stressors Emotional or physical abuse Domination by others Loneliness Isolation Rejection Adrenal Anatomy The adrenal gland is a key organ in the stress response. The adrenal gland is two distinct organs. Cortex that releases cortisol into the blood Medulla that releases epinephrine (adrenaline) into the blood. Hypothalamus and Brain Stem Play Key Roles In The Stress Response Hypothalamus Brain Stem Interaction Between Hypothalamus and Pituitary Play an Important Role in the Release of Cortisol Hypothalamus Pituitary 3

4 Stress Response Norepinephrine Sympathetic Nervous System To Body BRAIN STEM HYPOTHALAMUS CRH Sympathetic Nervous System To Adrenal Medulla Adrenal Medulla Epinephrine Stressor CRH ANTERIOR PITUITARY ACTH ADRENAL CORTEX CORTISOL Effects of Epinephrine and Norepinephrine Epinepherine and norepinephrine affect the body by binding to proteins called adrenergic receptors. The binding of epinephrine and norepinephrine to adrenergic receptors results in: Dilated eye pupils Decreased function of the digestive system Bronchial dilatation Increased blood pressure due to narrowing of arteries, the heart beating harder, and the heart beating faster Effects of Epinephrine and Norepinephrine The binding of epinephrine and norepinephrine to adrenergic receptors results in: Increased glucose in the blood Decreased effects of insulin on blood glucose Increased fat and cholesterol in the blood Increased memory; therefore, stressful events can be remembered in great detail Increased force of contraction of muscles with short-term exposure; decreased force of contraction of muscle (weakness) with long-term exposure Effects of Cortisol Decreases the effects of insulin on blood glucose Increases blood glucose Increases fat and cholesterol in the blood Increases breakdown of proteins into amino acids. Decreases inflammation, immune system function, and healing. Decreases memory due to inhibition and/or death of brain cells. Therefore, over time memory and problem solving skills are reduced. Cortisol increases the number of receptors for epinephrine and norepinephrine. Therefore, the effects of epinephrine and norepinephrine are increased. Thus, blood pressure increases more, heart rate goes up more, etc. Are Cortisol, Epinephrine and Norepinephrine Good Hormones or Bad Hormones? Although these hormones are often characterized in the popular literature and various advertisements as being bad hormones, they are essential for life. In the correct range, cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine promote proper function of the brain. Cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine promote proper function of the circulatory system. Changes in cortisol are involved in the normal sleep/wake cycle. Cortisol serves to keep the inflammatory and immune systems of the body under control and thus prevents these systems from destroying the tissues of the body. Stages of Stress Alarm stage Resistance stage Exhaustion stage 4

5 Alarm Stage of Stress Characterized by increased heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood flow to muscle Mediated by epinephrine and norepinephrine Lasts about 1-2 hours Changes that occur in the body during this phase prepare the body for flight or fight Resistance Stage of Stress Mediated by the effects of cortisol on the body Changes in the function of the body during this phase help the body deal with any long-term consequences of flight or fight, such as injuries that may have occurred Exhaustion Stage of Stress Decreased function of the body due to the long-term biochemical changes mediated by cortisol Often caused by infection due to immune deficiencies Stress Response and Modern Society For most of human history, the stress response worked well because the stress response prepares an individual for flight or fight. In earlier societies, much less of the stress was long-term emotional or psychological stress. In modern society, most stress is related to long-term emotional or psychological events. However, the typical flight or fight response does not work well in modern society. Because we cannot generally change these stresses, chronic stress results. We Cannot Hit the Boss We Cannot Run Away From Deadlines, Assignments, Etc. 5

6 Examples of Chronic Stress-Related Diseases Therefore, Chronic Stress Results Coronary heart disease Hypertension Tension headaches Stroke Backache Autoimmune diseases Asthma Ulcer Impotence Frigidity Eczema Acne Flashbacks Amenorrhea Post-traumatic stress syndrome Depression Fatigue and lethargy Insomnia Overeating Anorexia Factors Affecting Adaptation to Stress Things we cannot change Age Genetic factors Rapidity of onset of stress Factors we can modify Previous experience General health when the stress occurs Nutritional status Psychological and social factors Choosing to Do Nothing About Stress Can Affect Your Health An easy first suggestion. Eat some dark chocolate. Strategies that Aid in Managing Stress Dark chocolate lifts a person s mood and helps a person relax. Dark chocolate also contains substances that help reduce blood pressure and the probability of heart attack. However, moderation in all thing. Therefore, about 1 oz of dark chocolate daily appears sufficient. 6

7 Humor and Stress People who see the humor in day to day life and the humor associated with stressful situations handle stress better than those that take life overly seriously. Therefore, lighten up. Participate in Activities Each Day that Promote Relaxation Look at art or produce art Spend time in peaceful places such as gardens, parks, and trails. Work in a garden Soothing music Interacting with pets Yoga and other relaxation training including biofeedback training Warm baths, hot tubs, steam rooms etc. Aroma therapy Beauty Promotes Relaxation Good Relationships with Others Help in the Management of Stress Good family relationships Feeling of belonging Proper Attitude About Life Aids in Living With Stress Cannot do everything now. Proper perspective about what is really important. Positive attitude Proper Nutrition and Exercise Aid Individuals in Coping with Stress Proper nutrition lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables Moderate exercise increases immune function. In contrast, severe exercise (a potent stressor) inhibits immune function 7

8 Avoiding Mood Altering Substances Aids in Controlling Stress Although many commonly used drugs initially aid in dealing with stress, use of these drugs for extended periods makes it more difficult to deal with stress. Therefore, various drugs that alter mood should be avoided. These drugs include: Nicotine Caffeine Stimulants such as methamphetamines Depressants such as alcohol, morphine, heroine, sleeping pills, etc. The Gospel of Jesus Christ and Stress The Gospel of Jesus Christ helps us deal more effectively with modern society. Therefore, although the various types of stresses are generally not reduced, our responses to the stress are altered. Family Moses 3:18 And I, the Lord God, said unto mine Only Begotten that it was not good that the man should be alone: wherefore, I will make an help meet for him. Feeling of Belonging D & C 20:55 And see that the church meet together often, and also see that all members do their duty. Mosiah 18:8-10 And now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be his people, and are willing to bear one another s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; Yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort Avoid Drugs, Stimulants, Alcohol and Depressants D&C 89:5 That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good. D&C 89:8 And again, tobacco is not for the body D&C 89:9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly Proper Nutrition D&C 89:10-12 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving. Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly D&C 89:16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground 8

9 We Cannot Do Everything Mosiah 4:27 And see that all things are done in wisdom and order: for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order. Prayer 1 Timothy 2:8 I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting. Forgiving Others D&C 64:10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. Proper Perspective Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? D&C 14:7 And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God. Positive Attitude John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. D&C 19:16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they repent. 9

Response to Stress Graphics are used with permission of: Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Benjamin Cummings (http://www.aw-bc.

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