Health: Chemical Components | Biofeedback and Relaxation | Relationships | Religion | Smoking | Exercise | Obesity | Health Sources
Stress: Stress Studies | Stress Response | Appraisal System | Coping Process | Stress Sources | Stress and Memory | Stress and Performance

"The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not." (Mark Twain)
“Thousands upon thousands of persons have studied disease. Almost no one has studied health.” (Adelle Davis)

Introduction to Health:
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Health is a difficult topic to address because it comes from a huge range of studies including stress, mental health, human biology, and chemistry, along with many others. Not only does it draw from all these fields, but health is also a general term enveloping many small specific topics, several of which will be covered in this section.

The topics addressed in this section include biofeedback, relationships, religion, smoking, obesity, exercise, and how these individual factors can affect our health both physically as well as mentally. Biofeedback is an interesting way in which one’s health can be significantly improved by using control over one’s brain waves to provide treatment. All types of relationships, even the most basic daily interactions with one another, play a huge role in one’s health, whether having a positive or negative effect. Religion, on the other hand, often has positive impacts on the psychological health of a patient and can help him or her cope with the present and hope for a better future. Smoking is often negatively depicted in the media today and can also have a negative effect on one's physical state, often leading to cancerous diseases such as lung cancer. Exercising psychological health are related in that in addition to giving us healthy physical benefits, exercising also improves are mood and decreases chances of depression or anxiety. Also relating to exercising is obesity, which partially arises from lack of exercising and eating unhealthily, but may also have more to do with heredity than one may think.

Written by: Minju Lim, Savannah Schwing, and Joy Yamaguchi

Introduction to Stress:
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Photo Credit:

Even though there is little consensus among psychologists about the exact definition of stress, mainstream scientists define stress as the process by which we perceive and cope environmental factors that are appraised as threatening or challenging by our brains. Those factors, known as stressors, could be either physical or psychological in natural. A stressor can be the presence of flood after a storm or nervousness about SATs.

According to the theory of Richard Lazarus, a psychologist from UC Berkeley, there are three types of stressors (also known as stimuli): major cataclysmic changes that affect large numbers of persons; major changes affecting one or several persons; and daily hassles. (Lazarus, 1984)
The first type of stressors may refer to phenomena that are outside anyone’s control. Like natural disasters, wars or uprooting and relocation, they are universally stressful. The stressors themselves could be ephemeral, but the physical and psychological aftermath is long-term. The second category of stressors happen to relatively few people or to individuals. These are events out of the individual’s control, like the death of loved ones, a robbery, or the process of taking AP exams. The daily hassles are little things that distress or irritate: a quarrel with parents, a losing sports game or too much homework.
The above listed stressors all seem to have negative effects and impacts to our life, however, stressors can be positive as well. According to Hans Selye, the father of stress study, there are two types of stress: eustress and distress. Eustress refers to stress that actually allows the body to function as well or better than it does while unstressed. We will discuss this model in following sections.