CHAPTER 16††† MANAGING STRESS

 

I.        Individual differences in the stress-response: some pleasing examples

A. Successful aging

1.        Variance increases with age

2.        Glucocorticoids increase with age ŗ damage hippocampus, etc.

a.         Meaney: some old rats are just fine, normal glucocort., normal hipp.: neonatal handling and active mothering!!!!!

††††††††††† B.†††††††† Coping with catastrophic illness

††††††††††† 1.†††††††† Parents of dying children

a.         Displace worry onto something less threatening:she will be lonely while Iím gone.

b.         Denial

c.         Religious rationalizaton: view cancer, Alzheimerís disease, the Holocaust, your own death as part of a loving plan ŗ greatest source of support imaginable†††

B.        Differences in vulnerability to learned helplessness

1.        internal locus of control

2.        non-lab bred animals: less learned helplessness

C.       More stress management lessons from the baboons

1.        Social success: social and political skills, control, etc.

2.        Low glucocort., males: high ranking 3X longer: social affiliation; donít get hassled by current rulers

II.†††††††† Coping with stress: some success stories

A.       Changes: exercise, psychotherapy, relaxation techniques

B.        Parachute jumpers: confine stress response to appropriate moment

C.       Control predictability, social support, outlets for frustration

II.                 Self-medication and chronic pain syndromes†††††

A.       Total amount of painkillers decreased!

B.        Control, also no peaks and valleys of drug levels.

IV.†††††† Increasing control in nursing homes

A.       Few outlets for frustration; treated like a child

B.        More responsibility ŗ half the death rate

C.       Staff encourage ŗ task performance improved; staff help ŗ perf. declined

D.       Student visits to nursing homes:control and predictability helped

V.††††††† Stress management: reading the label carefully

A.       Stress management: control; view bad situations as discrete; outlets for frustration; social support

B.        This works only in certain circumstances:ďDonít tell an overwhelmed single mother living in some inner-city hellhole about the stress-reducing effects of a daily hobby.Ē

C.       The low glucocort. parents of cancer victims: during denial, low glucort.; when disease returned: highest levels.

D.       Nursing home: students stopped coming ŗ people were worse than before students came.

E.        Rules:

1.        Social affiliation is not always the solution:

a.       massive stress response when first put with group.

b.      Bad marriages ŗ immune suppression

2.        Increased predictability not always good.(timing; how likely to occur; overabundant info.)

3.        Too much sense of control can be crippling

a.       Radcliffe: divide India and Pakistan

b.      Disease not own fault.

c.       Sense of control best for mild stressors

F.Heaven and hell: studying the holy books:our perceptions and interpretations

VI.              Some conclusions and tentative prescriptions

A.       Pick battles carefully.

B.        Donít try to control something that doesnít need correcting.(control over future, not past)

C.       Hope for the best (denial helps), but prepare for the worst.

D.       Learned optimism:good news=pervasive; bad news=discrete

E.        Find outlet for frustrations

F.        Series of small footholds

G.       Seek predictable, accurate information, unless itís too much, too late, or unnecessary.

H.       True affiliation is not the same as mere socializing

I.          Serenity to accept what I cannot change; courage to change what I can change, and wisdom to know the difference.