Stress is a normal part of everyday life for most of us. Yet, most of us have don’t have much in-depth knowledge about what makes us feel stress, how stress affects us, or ways to better cope with stress. This assignment will give you more knowledge about stress in relation to everything we’ve covered so far this semester.

Your textbook defines stress as “the physical and psychological response to internal or external stressors” (p. 412). This definition hints at the very holistic nature of stress. In fact, every chapter we’ve covered this semester has relevance to the stress reactions and consequences.

1. First, apply the definition of stress (provided above from your textbook) to your own experience with stress. Write an essay describing 1) the specific internal and external things that cause your stress and 2) the way your mind and body react to that stress.

2. Second, choose two of the topics we’ve covered this semester to further explore stress. Your options are:

  • Choose a psychological perspective (psychoanalytic, behavioral, humanistic, cognitive, neuroscience, evolutionary, or social-cultural) and describe how that perspective would explain human stress.
  • Create a research study (using observation, correlation, or experiment) to better understand human stress. (Note: you will not be conducting this study, just designing how one could be done).
  • Identify and explain the parts of the human brain and nervous system, including the role of hormones and neurotransmitters, involved in stress.
  • Explore the relationship between stress and sleep.
  • Discuss the role of stress in human development… how does stress impact prenatal development? How do stressors change over the course of the lifespan? Is stress useful, a hindrance, or both when it comes to development?
  • Create a way to classically condition stress and then discuss how to extinguish this learned response. Additionally, design a way to reduce your stress/increase your use of healthy ways to cope with stress through operant conditioning. Be specific with your strategies!
  • Explore how stress can both facilitate and hinder memory. This could include a discussion of flashbulb memories and/or repressed memories.
  • Identify a personality concept and explain how stress may be experienced by someone with that personality (neuroticism, locus of control, self-esteem, extraversion, etc.)
  • Describe the disorders that may involve an extreme stress reaction and how therapists would attempt to treat this extreme stress.
  • Explore the ways in which being in a group impacts or changes an individual’s stress. This should include a discussion of both the pros and cons of how other people impact our individual stress.

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