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Stress Reduction


Causes of Stress  Biological  Substance abuse (alcohol, drugs)  Nutritional excess (caffeine, sugar)  Psychological  Perfectionist attitudes  Obsessiveness/compulsiveness  Need for control  Interpersonal  Lack of social skills, shyness, insecurity, loneliness  Environmental strain (noise, temperature)  PERSONAL NOTES: My causes of stress as identified through this class are primarily environmental strain which also affect me psychologically.

Stress is…  What we experience when we face challenges  Can be negative or positive  Distress (e.g., exams, divorce, deadlines)  Eustress (e.g., marriage, graduation, job promotion)  Stressors  External (physical) or internal (fear) challenges  Responses to stress occur:  Cognitively in form of worry  Somatically in form of biological responses

Stress Response  Is initiated when some real or perceived threat or challenge is encountered  Involves the secretion of two kinds of hormones from the adrenal glands:  Catecholamines (epinephrine and nonepinephrine): elevated levels are secreted in situations that presents a challenge to an individual  Cortisol: Generally occurs when an individual is faced with a threat or unpleasant challenge  PERSONAL NOTES: Lab tests have revealed that I have abnormal cortisol levels which I believe are caused by my professions and the resulting stressors it creates.

General Adaptation Syndrome ď‚´ The effects of prolonged stress ď‚´ This response pattern is comprised of three stages. Stage 1: Alarm-reaction

Stage 2: Resistance Stage

Stage 3: Stage of exhaustion (my stage)

Homeostasis and Allostasis  Homeostasis (single point turning):  The ability of an organism to change and stabilize its internal environment despite constant changes to external environment.

 Allostasis (adaptation process):  A wide range of functioning of the coping/adaptation systems, depending on a variety of factors (time of day, internal needs, external demands)

Allostatic Load  The cost of coping/adaptation  Wear and tear on the brain and body  Ongoing stress means that the stress response never “turns off,” which ultimately leads to illness and disease  PERSONAL NOTE AND EXAMPLE OF THE EFFECTS OF CHRONIC STRESS: Chronic stress has lead to my decreased immune function and serious illness multiple times over the last 2 years, memory loss, and increased risk of anxiety and depression.

Hormones & Stress  Role of endocrine system - Hypothalamus - Adrenal gland  Endocrine Responses to stress -Epinephine (widely referred to as "adrenaline“) -Coritsol (also produced by adrenal gland) -Cateholamine (urinary epinehine and norepinehine)  Personality traits as a result of hormonal changes -Type A behavior - Exhaustion (feeling of excessive fatigue, increased irritability, and feelings of demoralization) PERSONAL NOTE: I have been diagnosed within the past year with exhaustion and mental fatigue associated with stress and body clock.

Epinephrine “Adrenaline”  Epinephrine plays a central role in the short-term stress  It is secreted by the adrenal medulla as are other stress hormones  When released into the bloodstream, epinephrine binds to multiple receptors and has numerous effects throughout the body.  increases heart rate and stroke volume,  dilates the pupils, and,  constricts arterioles in the skin and gut while dilating arterioles in leg muscles.  It elevates the blood sugar level by increasing hydrolysis of glycogen to glucose in the liver, and at the same time begins the breakdown of lipids in adipocytes.  Epinephrine has a suppressive effect on the immune system.  PERSONAL NOTE: Currently beginning treatment for leg issues related to stress association with my job – only happens at work!

Cortisol  Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream (like those associated with chronic stress) have been shown to have negative effects:  Impaired cognitive performance  Suppressed thyroid function  Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycemia  Decreased bone density  Decrease in muscle tissue  Higher blood pressure  Lowered immunity and inflammatory responses in the body, as well as other health consequences  PERSONAL NOTE: I have experienced ever consequence of increased cortisol in my system over the last two years.

PERSONAL NOTE: This is me now….

Exercise as Management Why it works‌

Cross-Stressor Adaptation Hypothesis  A stressor of sufficient intensity and/or duration will induce adaptation of stress response systems  Exercise training is thought to develop cross-stressor tolerance:  Habituation: A decreased magnitude of response to some familiar challenge  Sensitization: exercise is augmented source or response to a stressor. Individuals who are highly physically active in their leisure time are 49% times less likely to report high perceived stress and 75% times less likely to report moderate perceived stress as compared - Aldana, Sutton, Jacobson, & Quirk, 1996 to individuals low in PA.

Exercise and Stress  People report feeling less stress following exercise  People are less stressed in general when they are physically active  Study with fit and unfit women determined that aerobic fitness can influence sensitivity to stress  Evidence suggests that fitness or exercise training may provide a more rapid recovery from the stressor once it is no longer present.  Shorter duration of the stress response can reducing the allostatic load and overall wear and tear on the body.  Intermittent but regular exercise can lead to psychological coping, emotional stability, and physiological changes  Physiological changes lead to improved performance in stress situations, enhanced immune system function, and greater stress tolerance

More effects of exercise on stress…  Basic assumption is being fit reduces one reactivity to stress.  Crew and Lander (1987) reviewed 34 studies of the effects of aerobic fitness on stress reactivity.  Fit individuals have sizable smaller stress response than unfit individuals (Crew & Landers, 1987): More efficient coping system Being inoculated to the repeated stressors  Less than 20 minutes of light to moderate exercise has been shown to have a buffer effect on stress

More effects of exercise on stress…  PERSONAL NOTE: Because my physical and mental degeneration is a direct result of my stress, and exercise is proven to lower the hormones activated by the stress response, it makes sense for me.  I have also seen and remember well the difference I felt when exercise was a regular part of my life.  I had none of the physical or mental issues I have now. I had a great sense of self. That is what I’d like to get back. Next is how I plan to…

Technique Exercise

Cardiovascular & Aerobic Training  I’ve recently moved to a great new town with clean parks, tracks and fields all over. I will start out doing light interval training once a week for the following benefits.  Research does suggest that aerobic fitness may produce stress buffers  Aerobically fit individuals may experience a smaller sympathetic response to stress  Individuals who improve significantly in their aerobic fitness experience stress-buffering effects during stress exposure and during recovery from stress

ď‚´ PERSONAL NOTE: This is me when I begin exercising. It looks a lot like me 12 years ago.

Suggested Use of Exercise  Use it to combat daily stressors  Morning exercise: Get’s us ready to face day’s challenges  Lunchtime workout: Gives us a break in the day to recharge batteries  Evening workout: Helps us purge tensions and worries of the day

Barriers What I could let get in my way, like many do‌

Individual Barriers  I don't have the time/money.  I am not the sporty type/no good at exercise.  I don't enjoy exercise.  I am too old/tired/overweight/self-conscious.  There are no facilities close by.  I can't be bothered.  PERSONAL NOTE: Only one of these is the valid reason I am unable to exercise right now – time.

Environmental Barriers  Modern technology reduces energy expenditure because devices and services are explicitly de-signed to decrease physical labor.  No physical activity in a working day typically spent sitting at a desk or standing at a counter or cash register.  Motorized transportation and parking lots built as near to destinations as possible to minimize walking and increase convenience and safety.  Television, video games, and computers and next to sleeping, watching TV occupies the greatest amount of leisure time during childhood

But…  They wont get in my way because I am both mentally and physically ready for change.  For me exercise, in one activity, which I can randomize and still get the same benefits, I can improve every condition I currently suffer because of the stress put on my body from my job.

References   Crews DJ1, Landers DM. A meta-analytic review of aerobic fitness and reactivity to psychosocial stressors. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1987 Oct;19(5 Suppl):S114-20.  Girdano, Daniel A. Controlling Stress and Tension. Pearson. 2012.  Percept Mot Skills. 1996 Feb;82(1):315-21. Relationships between leisure time physical activity and perceived stress. Aldana SG1, Sutton LD, Jacobson BH, Quirk MG.  Squiers, L., Renaud, J., McCormack, L., Tzeng, J., Bann, C., & Williams, P. (2014). How Accurate Are Americans' Perceptions of Their Own Weight?. Journal of Health Communication, Advance Online Publication .  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity and Health:A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NationalCenter for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 1996.

Stress Reduction Through Exercise