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01.08 Health & Stress

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Overview

  1. Stress
    1. Eustress- good stress
    2. Distress- a negative stress
  2. Sources of stress
    1. Environmental
    2. Psychological
  3. Effects of stress
    1. Physical reaction- fight or flight
    2. Psychosomatic illnesses
    3. Physical illness
  4. Coping with stress
    1. Resiliency
    2. Hardiness and grit
    3. Constructive coping skills

Nursing Points

General

  1. Stress
    1. Eustress- good stress
    2. Distress- a negative stress
  2. Sources of stress
    1. Environmental
      1. Pollution, traffic congestion, crowded living conditions
    2. Psychological
      1. Frustration, change, pressure
  3. Effects of stress
    1. Physical reaction- fight or flight
    2. Psychosomatic illnesses
      1. Ulcers, hypertension, asthma, inflammation
    3. Physical illness
      1. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, endocrine disease, skin rashes, ulcers, migraine headaches, infectious illnesses, emotional disorders, musculoskeletal disease
  4. Coping with stress
    1. Resiliency
    2. Hardiness and grit
    3. Constructive coping skills
      1. Confront directly
      2. Accurately assess the situation
      3. Recognize and manage emotional reactions
      4. Modify self-talk

Video Transcript

Today we’re going to be talking about our health and stress.

Not all stress is bad, in fact, we need stress. Stress motivates us to accomplish things, problem-solve, and get creative. The two types of stress are eustress and distress. Eustress is good stress. We feel accomplished and find meaning when we finish something challenging.  Distress is a negative stress that is prolonged and results in physical and psychological health concerns.

There’s a couple of different sources of stress. One way is through our environment and what we’re exposed to. Living in a big crowded city, traffic delays, noisy conditions, and even pollution cause stress on our bodies over time. We also can create our stress through psychological means like frustration with work, school, or interpersonal relationships, pressure and expectations, and general life changes. 

Prolonged exposure to stress is detrimental to our health. Our bodies’ job is to try to keep us alive. When we were cave people, our bodies would detect a bear running after us and immediately kick into fight or flight mode- our stress response. That was healthy and helpful because it kept us alive. The problem is that our bodies are going into fight or flight mode several times a day when we don’t need it to anymore- we aren’t chased by bears anymore. Our bodies misinterpret the slow diver in front of us or the annoying customer service rep and a bear and react in the exact same way. During fight or flight our bodies get ready to survive the moment. It turns off the systems we don’t need, like digestion and reproduction, it pumps blood to our limbs in case we need to run fast, and our heart rate increases. When we do this too frequently it taxes our bodies. Studies support that exposure to chronic stress is deadly. So deadly that it is estimated that over 75% of physical ailments in primary care doctor offices are directly related to stress.

Psychosomatic illness, physical diseases that are prone to or worsened by mental factors, like ulcers, hypertension, and asthma are all caused or directly impacted by chronic stress. Stress also contributes to many physical illnesses like cardiovascular disease, cancer, endocrine disease, skin rashes, migraines, musculoskeletal disease, infectious illnesses, breast cysts, and emotional disturbances.

We talked about how deadly stress is so let’s talk about ways to cope with stress. Building resiliency is a key part of coping with day to day stress. Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from major stress or negative life events. People that are resilient are not immune to stress and do not possess a magical personality trait, they have simply learned how to manage the stress they have. They’ve learned to adapt, manage, and cope. Hardiness and grit have been used to characterized as having the belief that you have control of your stress, taking on a challenge, and having a sense of commitment. Finally, using constructive coping skills has shown to be effective strategies to react to stress. This includes confronting a problem directly, realistically appraising a stressful situation instead of distorting reality or blowing it out of proportion, recognize your intense emotions, and identifying and modifying your self-talk.

Some key points from this course include the fact that some stress is good and healthy. Stress impacts us physically and mentally, taking a toll on our bodies when we don’t keep it in check. Finally, we must learn effective coping skills to be resilient so that we can minimize the impact on our health.

We love you guys! Go out and be your best self today! And as always, Happy Nursing!

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