Are the overhead lights in my office going to kill me?

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cortisol-thumb.gifAs a person who frequently describes herself as "stressed," I am drawn to Chapter 12: Stress, Coping and Health. The Chapter outline hints at some rich reading and plenty of opportunity to examine the topic at multiple levels of analysis. Stress is a big topic in the culture and something I am interested in for personal as well as academic reasons but the chapter points out that even agreeing on a common definition of stress is challenging. I am eager to learn more about the evolving conception of stress (from an engineering term to physiological phenomena) and about the different approaches to its study: 'stressors as stimuli,' 'stress as transaction,' and 'stress as response.' I'd like to know more about individual variation in stress response and what the current thinking is regarding amelioration of stress-related diseases and other harmful stress effects. Lately I have frequently heard references to the negative health effects of stress hormones, specifically cortisol. I am curious to examine the science so I can decide how freaked out I should be when my co-worker tells me that "THE OVERHEAD LIGHTS IN OUR OFFICE CAUSE STRESS HORMONES TO BE RELEASED ON OUR BODIES!!!"4254333574_95aa20130a_b.jpg Just kidding, chapter 1 made it abundantly clear that we are not supposed to seek easy answers to complicated questions. Seriously though, this chapter looks fascinating. My initial impression is that stress impacts many other things we'll learn about and that it is not a stand-alone phenomena but rather a variable, like genes and environment etc, which interacts with other variables. Finally, I'm curious about Chapter 12 because of the inclusion of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. I'm curious to see how the book judges these strategies and why the author chose to include them in this particular chapter.
If you're looking forward to Ch 12, I recommend this radiolab episode about stress. It's pretty rad.

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I think the most interesting thing about stress is that the body's stress response is working when you don't even know it, or even when you don't necessarily feel "stressed" at the moment. It's like you never realize just how tense your muscles are until you let them relax, and if you're always under stress, then you don't know what the feels like anymore. I also think it's interesting how stress induces weight gain, acne (stress zits!) and I, too, am interested to read about how exactly stress effects us in the long run, and why? What are the evolutionary purposes of stress or anxiety? It's also interesting to think about how stress can manifest itself into anxiety and what determines the line between the two.

The topic of stress is also very interesting to me. It is something that we all live with for our entire lives. I am always looking for ways to help control stress and to why it exists so much more for certain types of people. Learning about in stress in PSYC 1001 was very informative and interesting.

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Pumphrey published on February 2, 2012 11:12 PM.

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