Applied Social Psychology

I’m so stressed out!

•I have too much to do.

•I don’t know where to start, so I end up doing nothing.

•I wake up in the middle of the night.

•I can’t fall asleep.

•I’m tired all the time.

•I procrastinate.

•My stomach has butterflies in it all the time but they don’t feel very pretty.

•Is it normal to feel this way?

•I can’t stop thinking.

•I don’t want to eat.

•I only want to eat.

•I need to get rid of this!

 Stress. Life events and demands that impose or exceed our adaptive capacity (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). What? Things are happening in our lives that exceed our ability to deal with them. Did you know that stress is perceived? What you think is stressful is different than what I may think is stressful. Some life events such as unemployment (Frasquilho et al., 2016) or having a low income (Panjwani et al., 2016) are frequently found to be stressors across cultures, and more so than other variables. This isn’t really much of a surprise, is it? Other stressors may depend upon the individual, upbringing, personality, family support, gender, race, and a myriad of other factors.

 What does stress do to our health? The perception of stress, can influence the pathogenesis of disease by causing negative affective states. What are negative affective states? Some of the symptoms are listed above and describe feelings of anxiety and depression. These symptoms then exert direct effects on our physiological processes that influence our risk for disease (Cohen, Janicki-Deverts, & Miller, 2007).

 Sometimes, we can’t do much about our situation and it is an increasingly a part of our lives. We need to learn to protect ourselves from its long term effects and how to deal with it day to day. There are many ways to cope with stress. Each coping skill and the effectiveness of each technique depends on the type of stress, the individual, and the particular situation. Of course, when it comes to coping, not all techniques are good choices. Overeating, drugs, smoking, drinking too much etc.. would represent unhealthy ways to cope with stress.

In the discussion board area, share your score and:

If you fall in the high or moderate range – find a healthy coping mechanism to share with your classmates that you have not tried before that you are willing to try. You may not select one someone has already chosen (so yes, you have to read previous responses). Why do you think this would work for you?

If you fall in the low range – Share with your classmates why you think you are in this range? Is it genetic or learned behavior? Why? Do you have coping skills you can share with your classmates? Were you always this way?


Cohen, S. and Janicki-Deverts, D. (2012) Who’s stressed? Distributions of psychological stress in the United States in probability samples from 1983, 2006, and 2009. Journal of Applied Social Psychology,42, 1320-1334. 

Frasquilho, D., de Matos, M. G., Marques, A., Gaspar, T., and Caldas-de-Almeida, J. M. (2016). Distress and unemployment: the related economic and noneconomic factors in a sample of unemployed adults. Int. J. Public Health, 61.

Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress,appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer.

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