The Concept of Stress

Imagine that you have an important exam coming up in your chemistry class. You've waited until two nights before the exam to start studying. When you finally decide t start studying and begin looking for your class notes, you realize that you left them at your parents' home when you were visiting there last weekend. You go into a panic and finally call your parents, who agree to put them into overnight mail to you s you will have them the next day . You are pretty anxious now and cannot fall asleep for several hours after you go to bed, as you are worrying about this upcoming exam. The next day you are tired from not sleeping well. The class notes arrive, but you have other classes during the day , so you will have to study that night at your apartment. That night, as you are getting ready to study , your roommate reminds you of the party he had planned for this evening, about which you forgot. Now you have to go somewhere else to study , an unfamiliar environment, such as the library . You rush to the library and settle into a secluded area to study. Although it is quiet in the library , you are so tired and anxious that you cannot seem to concentrate on the material. At midnight, the library closes and you rush back to your apartment. The party is still going, and it continues until 2:00 a.m. Meanwhile, you are impatiently trying to study in your room but are distracted by the people and the music. Finally , you feel so overloaded you just give up and go to bed after the people leave. But even now you cannot sleep. You are anxious and frustrated and feeling totally unprepared for the important exam you have in the morning. In fact, you see that the exam will be held in just a few hours. Things are out of your control. You notice that

Studying for an exam can be stressful or not, depending on whether the situation controls you or you control the situation. Stress occurs when events seem uncontrollable and threatening. Taking control by keeping up with homework, planning each day, and preparing in a timely fashion can make studying less stressful.

Studying for an exam can be stressful or not, depending on whether the situation controls you or you control the situation. Stress occurs when events seem uncontrollable and threatening. Taking control by keeping up with homework, planning each day, and preparing in a timely fashion can make studying less stressful.

you have a painful headache, and, even though you are lying in your bed, your heart is pounding and the palms of your hands are sweaty . You are not sure what to do. You want to study , but you also know it would be good to sleep a few hours. And you cannot seem to do either .

This is stress. It is a feeling of being overwhelmed by events that you cannot seem to control. Events that cause stress are called stressors, and they appear to have several common attributes:

1. Stressors are extreme, in the sense that they produce a state of feeling overwhelmed or overloaded, that one just cannot take it much longer .

2. Stressors often produce opposing tendencies, such as wanting and not wanting an activity or object—as in wanting to study but also wanting to put it of f as long as possible.

3. Stressors are uncontrollable, outside our power to influence, such as an exa we cannot avoid.

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