Psychology 0f Personal Effectiveness Timothy W. Starkey, Ph.D., ABAP

Psychology 0f Personal Effectiveness
All You Need To Know About How To Live Happily & Effectively
Timothy W. Starkey, Ph.D., ABAP
Miami Dade College
Psyc CLP 1006
Hialeah Campus
Room 1217
4:00-5:30 AM
Oct. 1- Dec. 19 (2007)
305-279-0758 (Home)
305-338-1615 (Cell)
After Dinner Stress
Hours 3:00 to 4:00 PM
On M/W
Stress Mastery vs. Stress Management
• “Stress management” refers to just managing your stress in order
to “survive” it.
• “Stress mastery” refers to doing more than just surviving the stress.
It implies overcoming it in such as way as to actually “thrive” from
stress. You’ve all seen some people who seem to be at their best
when they’re working under very stressful conditions. These are
people who have learned to utilize the stressful experience to grow
from the experience.
• “Stress mastery” is a learned skill; nobody’s born with it (as far as
we know so far, anyway). It isn’t a mechanical or rote memory
kind of thing.
• “Stress mastery” is essentially learning how to cultivate wisdom
Stress Management vs. Stress Mastery
Definition of Stress
• Stress is anything that requires an adaptive response on the part of
the organism. Anything that requires you to make a change or
adjustment is stressful to some degree.
• Stress is an inescapable part of life. A Canadian scientist (Hans
Seyle, who spent much of his life studying stress) once said “stress
is the spice of life”. At times, though, we might wish that or lives
were a little less spicy.
• Seyle differentiated between two types of stress: positive stress
(“Eustress”) and negative stress (“Distress”). Clearly, Seyle didn’t
feel that stress was all bad.
• In one of his stress studies, adult volunteers who were placed in a
completely stress-free environment (a sightless, soundless,
weightless, motionless liquid heated to body temperature) soon
began to show disturbances of mood, thought, action (e.g. they got
Definition of Stress (Cont’d)
• OK, what criticisms of Seyle’s experiment would you make? What
assumptions is it based on that might be questionable?
• Other studies show that many tasks are performed better when the
individual is under moderate levels of arousal. This relationship is
known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law. Probably most tasks that are
challenging are performed best when the individual is feeling a
little anticipatory anxiety about it (e.g. giving a speech to the
class). {Next time I teach my course in “Group Dynamics, take it
and learn precisely how “anxiety/stress level” helps or hinders
different types of performance, and what you can do about it.}
• Do you agree with the equating of (physiological) “arousal level”
with “stress level”? Or is it stretching it a little?
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
Negative Effects of Stress
• Studies have shown that excessive/prolonged stress negatively
affects your physical, psychological, and occupational functioning.
• The relationship between stress and your health is not simple, and
is not yet completely know. The impact of stress on your health is
mediated by a variety of personality and age variables, as well as
your genetic makeup and environment.
• Nonetheless, it is clear from the studies of stress upon health that
under prolonged stress your immune system can be weakened,
creating vulnerability to illness and bodily system breakdown.
• Chronic high levels of stress hormones (glucocorticoids) cause
white blood cells to migrate to the bone marrow and hide out,
making them less available for combating disease.
• Some studies have reported that persons who have recently
suffered a major life crisis are more likely to develop cancer.
• 80% of all visits to doctors’ offices are for stress related disorders
• At least 50% of all deaths in the U.S. are caused by
cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke, in which
stress plays a significant contributing role.
• Most heart attacks occur around 9:00 AM on Monday mornings.
• Cholesterol levels in the bloodstream rise during periods of stress.
• Recent studies indicate that stress plays a significant role in the
development of osteoporosis in women due to increased stress
• Dentists report that a high percentage of patients show signs of
nocturnal bruxing (teeth grinding at night).
• Studies show that during college exam week students possess
lower levels of salivary immunoglobulin, a defense against
respiratory infections.
QuickTim e™ and a
TIFF (Uncom pres s ed) decom pres s or
are needed to s ee this picture.
Psychological Consequences of Stress
• Stress is a key factor in the development of emotional and
behavioral problems.
• Studies have identified stress as a major factor in the development
of anxiety, phobias, panic disorders, depression, PTSD,
obsessions, compulsions, and all major psychiatric disorders.
• According to the WHO, depression (clearly a stress-related
condition) is the number one cause of disability world-wide.
• There are over 30 million Americans suffering from insomnia.
Sales of sedatives are second only to those of aspirin.
• An estimated 24 million Americans are using medications to cope
with stress. The three best-selling medications in the U.S. are
Tagamet (ulcers), Inderal (hypertension), and Xanax (anxiety).
• Alcoholism is the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. Relief
from stress and anxiety is a primary motive for abuse of alcohol.
Physiology of Stress
• The “fight or flight” response is a physiological mechanism that enables to
survive life-threatening situations. It is innate, and is not learned. For our
species, it was a necessary evolutionary development to allow our survival.
• “Fight or flight” involves the hyperactivity of the autonomic nervous system.
Nature intended for it to go on for short periods only, however. After the danger
is over, the autonomic nervous system returns to its normal balance
• Today, however, we do not face the same type of environmental dangers that
our distant ancestors did (e.g. tigers). We face stressors that are impossible to
either fight or flee, and the period of hyperactive autonomic arousal continues
for long periods of time.
• This results in the decline of the immune system and the eventual development
of different kinds of psychosomatic illness. It can ultimately result in death.
• The “General Adaptation Syndrome” (GAS) refers to 1. An alarm reaction
(fight or flight), 2. Stage of resistance (habituation to the stressors), 3.
Exhaustion (in which prolonged stress has overwhelmed our ability to cope)
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
End of Chapter 4
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.