Please see Chapter 3 Human Strengths and Meeting Life Challenges Exam Questions Class 12 Psychology below. These important questions with solutions have been prepared based on the latest examination guidelines and syllabus issued by CBSE, NCERT, and KVS. We have provided Class 12 Psychology Questions and answers for all chapters in your NCERT Book for Class 12 Psychology. These solved problems for Human Strengths and Meeting Life Challenges in Class 12 Psychology will help you to score more marks in upcoming examinations.
Exam Questions Chapter 3 Human Strengths and Meeting Life Challenges Class 12 Psychology
Very Short Answer Type Questions
Question. What are stressors?
Answer : Any event or a situation that gives rise to stress is called a stressor. The stimulus events include a large variety of external and internal conditions called stressors.
Question. What is life-style?
Answer : Life-style refers to an individual over all behavioural patterns and decision-making that determines a person’s health and quality of life.
Question. What is distress?
Answer : Many times it is found that high levels of stress lead to greater strain. They create distress. It is harmful. Consistent distress may lead to problems.
Question. Describe the meaning of burn out.
Answer : • The state of physical and psychological exhaustion is technically called burnout.
• It is seen in the signs of chronic fatigue, weakness and low energy.
Question. What is strain?
Answer : Strain is overt manifestation of stress. Stress is the external event or stimulus and strain is the resultant effect, mostly in terms of health consequences.
Question. Define Stress.
Answer : Stress can be defined as the pattern of responses an organism makes to the stimulus event that disturbs the equilibrium and it exceeds a person’s ability to cope.
• It is neither a stimulus nor a response, it is a transactional process between the
individual and his environmental demands.
• Hans Selye defines stress as “the known specific response of the body to any demand”. It means regardless of the cause of threat, the individual will respond with the same physiological pattern of reactions.
Question. What is coping?
Answer : Coping is defined as the process of managing external and/or internal demands that tax or exceed the resources of the person.
Question. What is hardiness?
Answer : • The concept was given by Kobasa.
• It is set of views regarding oneself, the environment and interaction between the two.
Question. What is psychoneuroimmunology?
Answer : It is a branch of psychology which focuses on the links between the mind, the brain and immune system. It studies the effects of stress on the immune system.
Question. What is the function of immune system?
Answer : • The basic functions of the immune system are detecting and identifying antigen, neutralizing them and removing them from the body.
• It is the mechanism through which our body recognizes and destroys potentially harmful substances and intruders.
Question. How stress is a basic ingredient of life?
Answer : • Stress is a basic ingredient of life.
• Our biological system is equipped with some stress alarms that are essential for survival and allow one to function effectively in many situations.
• Without undergoing stress, there can be no constructive and creative activity.
• For examples, (a) certain level of stress is necessary to perform better in the examinations.
Question. What are life skills?
Answer : Life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enables the individual to deal effectively with stressful situations.
Question. What is positive stress or eustress?
Answer : Sometimes we also experience positive stress or eustress. It occurs when we have positive experiences or uplifts, which are welcome. It is healthy and provides positive reinforcement.
Short Answer Type Questions
Question. How stress and life-style are related to each other?
Answer : • Life-style is the overall pattern of decisions and behaviours that determined a person’s health and quality of life.
• Stress can lead to unhealthy life-style because stressed individuals may be more likely to expose themselves to pathogens, which are agents causing physical illness.
• Stressed people develop poor food habits, sleep disturbances and are likely to engage in behaviours like smoking and alcohol abuse.
• Such health impairing behaviours develop gradually and provide pleasant experiences temporarily however ignore their long-term damaging effects.
Question. Explain the various types of stressors/stress.
Answer : There are three major types of stress, viz. physical and environmental, psychological and social.
1. Physical and Environmental Stress:
Physical stresses are demands that change the state of our body. For example, disabilities, malnutrition, injury, etc.
Environmental stresses are aspects of our surroundings that are often unavoidable such as air-pollution, noise, crowding, heat, etc. They can also be catastrophic events or disasters such as fires, earthquakes or floods.
2. Psychological Stress [Internal Sources of Stress]
This is stress that we generate ourselves in our minds. These are personal and unique to the person experiencing them and are internal sources of stress. Some of these are:
(a) Frustration: Results from the blocking of needs and motives by something or someone that hinders us from achieving a desired goal. There could be a number of causes of frustration such as social discrimination, inter-personal hurt, low grades in school, etc.
(b) Conflict: It may occur between two or more incompatible needs or motives. e.g., whether to study psychology or sociology.
• Internal Pressures: It refers to expectations. Stress from beliefs based upon expectation from inside us to ourselves such as, ‘I must do everything perfectly’.
• Social Pressures: It may be brought about from people who make excessive demands on us. This can cause even greater pressure when we have to work with them. Also, there are people with whom we face inter-personal difficulties. e.g., ego issues.
3. Social Stress:
It is induced from external factors and results from interaction with other people. Social events like death or illness in the family, strained relationships, rapid social change, poverty, discrimination and lack of social support are examples of social stress. These social stresses vary widely from person to person.
e.g., living in a colony where extremely heterogeneous socio-economic groups live together.
Question. We know that certain life-style factors can cause stress and may lead to diseases like cancer and coronary heart disease, yet we are unable to change our behaviour. Explain why?
Answer : Life-style is the overall pattern of decisions and behaviours that determine a person’s health and quality of life. An individual, when stressed, is more likely to expose himself/ herself to pathogens—agents causing physical illness.
Stressed individuals have poor nutritional habits, disturbed sleeping patterns, tendency to engage in health-risking behaviours such as intake of stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs like tranquil lies such health impairing behaviours develop gradually and provide pleasant experiences temporarily, but have detrimental long-term consequences.
As they are addictive, and pleasurable, individuals using these psychoactive substances are unable to give them up.
• Such type of life-style ultimately cause serious health hazards like cancer, diabetes and coronary heart diseases.
• Knowing that faulty lifystyle causes various physical and psychological hazards. Still people continue, because the consequences and side effects are not likely to occur immediately. Their effects get manifested after several years. So people ignore them. Because they are aware with the side effects. They develop anxiety because of inconsistency in their attitude and behaviour but because this lifestyle becomes a part of their habit pattern. So they find it very difficult to change and continue such hazardous lifestyle and ultimately it causes a stage of burn out.
Question. How adaptation is different from adjustment?
• Adaptation is a biological term.
• It is structural or functional change that enhances the organism’s survival value.
• Biological adaptation is property of phenotypic features or organisms relative to selection demands of the environment.
• A well-adjusted person is someone who engages in behaviour that are appropriate for the culture and a given inter-personal situation.
• Adjustment is a condition of harmonious relationships between the social and physical environments.
• The concept of adjustment refers to active and creative efforts to live effectively and satisfactorily.
• Adjustment is the psychological process by which an individual manages or copes with various demands.
• An adjustment is the outcome of individual’s effort of coping.
• We are considered well-adjusted when we deal successfully with our situations such as in home, schools and work places without much problem.
• Adjustment is the outcome of coping.
• Adjustment is a process which has four parts—
(i) a need or motive in the form of a strong persistent stimulus,
(ii) the thwarting or non-fulfillment of the need,
(iii) varied activity, or exploratory behaviour accompanied by problem-solving, and
(iv) some response that removes or at least reduces the initiating stimulus that brings satisfaction and completes the process of adjustment.
• Adjustment is a subjective process. It varies from culture to culture and is a continuous process.
Question. How does stress affect the immune system?
Answer : Stress can cause illness by impairing the workings of the immune system. The immune system guards the body against attackers, both from within and outside.
The white blood cells (leucocytes) within the immune system identify and destroy foreign bodies (antigens) such as viruses. It also leads to the production of antibodies. There are several kinds of white blood cells or leucocytes within the immune system, including T cells, B cells and natural killer cells. T cells destroy invaders, and T-helper cells increase immunological activity. It is these T-helper cells that are attacked by the Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (HIV), the virus causing Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). B cells produce antibodies. Natural killer cells are involved in the fight against both viruses and tumours.
Question. What is the relationship between stress and health/illness?
Answer : • Stress may play a role in 50% to 70% of all physical illness.
• Stress has been implicated in the occurrence of heart disease, high blood-pressure, hardening of the arteries, ulcers and even diabetes.
• Evidence suggests that stress upsets our complex internal chemistry.
• It interferes with efficient operation of our immune system. Studies with humans suggest that disruptions in inter-personal relationships, loneliness, academic pressure, and even daily hassles can produce imbalances in the immune system and causes burn out. Uncontrollability is one of the features shared by stressors.
• Research has shown that optimism, regular exercise and feelings of control over stressful events are associated with well-being of the individual.
Question. How resilience and health are related to each others?
Answer : • Resilience has been described as the capacity to ‘bounce back’ in stressful situations.
• It is manifested in the form of self-worth, self-confidence, independence and self-reliance.
• Resilient children can face adversity and lead psychologically healthy and meaningful life.
Now-a-days resilience is being defined in the perspective of three resources.
(a) I have [social strength e.g., trust in people around]
(b) I am [inner strength i.e., high self-esteem]
(c) I can [inter-personal and problem-solving skills]
To develop resilience, children and adolescents need to have more than one of these strengths.
Question. Given what you know about coping strategies, what suggestions would you give to your friends to avoid stress in their everyday lives?
Answer : High school students these days avoid extremely stressful lives, with increasing completion, expectations and demands. Therefore, I would suggest ‘task-oriented strategy’ as explained by Endler and Parker, to be an effective means in coping with stress.
Task-oriented coping involves:
1. Obtaining information about a stressful situation.
2. Deciding our priorities.
3. Dealing directly with the stressful situation.
Such an approach helps during exams and project deadlines.
I would also suggest the adoption of positive attitude and thinking which promotes health and well-being.
A positive attitude where the individual has a fairly accurate perception of reality; ability to take credit for success and blame for failure; acceptance and tolerance for other’s view- points.
Positive thinking interns of being optimistic. Optimism points towards the inclination to expect favourable life outcomes. An optimist will always use problem-focused coping and try and find the source of stress. Relaxation Techniques, Exercise, Balanced Diet all contribute significantly to stress reduction.
Question. How positive health and well-being can be achieved through positive attitude?
Answer : Positive health and well-being can be realized by:
(i) Perceiving the reality fairly accurately.
(ii) Tolerating and understanding different points of view.
(iii) Having a sense of purpose in life.
(iv) Having a sense of responsibility, accepting blame for failures and taking credit for success.
(v) Being open to new ideas, activities, or ways of doing things.
(vi) Having a good sense of humour, to be able to laugh at oneself and absurdities of life helps to see things in their proper perspective.
Question. Discuss cognitive theory of stress.
Answer : Stress is a dynamic cognitive state. It is state of mental disequilibrium.
• According to Lazarus, an individual’s response to stressor largely depends upon the perceived event and how they are appraised or interpreted.
• Primary appraisal refers to the perception of a new or changing environment as positive, neutral or negative in its consequences.
Negative events are evaluated for their possible harm, threat or challenge.
(a) Harm is the assessment of damage already been done.
(b) Threat is the assessment of possible future damage.
(c) Challenge is associated with confidence to cope with stressor, overcoming it and taking advantage of the event.
• If we perceive an event as stressful on the basis of primary appraisal, we most probably try to make secondary appraisal.
• Secondary appraisal is the assessment of ones coping and resources available to meet the harm, threat and challenge of the event.
• These appraisals are very subjective and based on many factors like stressors intensity durability, complexity and predictability.
It also depends on person characteristics like physical health, mental health, temperament, self-concept and cultural background.
Appraisals are also determined by individual’s resources like money, medical care, skills, coping style, social and professional support and last but not the least is spirituality in the individual.
Question. “Social support is positively related to psychological well-being.” Discuss.
Answer : Social support is defined as “the existence and availability of people on whom we can rely upon, people who are caring and sharing.” Someone, who believes that he or she belongs to a social network of communication and mutual obligation, experiences social support.
Social support can be viewed as:
(i) Perceived Support: The strength and quality of social support that can be provided only by individuals which is positively related to health and well-being.
(ii) Social Network: The number of people who are available to provide support, i.e., the quantity of social support is unrelated to well-being, because it is very time- consuming and demanding.
Social support has three forms:
(a) Tangible Support: It refers to assistance involving material such as money, goods, services, etc. For example, an individual provides financial support to his unemployed friend.
(b) Informational Support: Family and friends provide this support. For example, if an individual lost his job and is searching another job then his elders, friends or senior colleagues may provide ways and means to search new job.
(c) Emotional Support:
• During stress, we all have experience strain.
• Anxiety, loss of self-esteem, frustration, pressure and general manifestation of stress are experienced by everybody.
• Supportive friends and family provide emotional support by reassuring the individual that he/she is loved, valued and cared for.
Research has demonstrated that social support effectively reduces psychological distress.
Question. What is stress resistant personality?
Answer : Studies by Kobasa have shown that people with high levels of stress but low levels of illness are labelled as stress-resistant personality. They share three characteristics which are referred to as the personality traits of Hardiness.
Hardiness is a set of beliefs about oneself, the world and how they interact. It consists of ‘the three C’s:
• Commitment in terms of a sense of personal commitment to what one is doing.
• Stress-resistant personalities have commitment to work, family, hobbies and social life.
• An individual should have a sense of control over his life.
• Stress-resistant personalities have control in terms of a sense of purpose and direction in life.
• An individual should always be ready to face challenges in life.
• Stress-resistant personalities view changes in life as normal and positive rather than as a threat.
Question. “Many people are their own enemies and do precisely those things that are bad for their health.” Discuss.
Answer : People develop different styles and habits, many of which are health-impairing. Many people are their own enemies and do precisely those things that are bad for their health. Some people drink heavily, even when they know that it is damaging their liver.
• Smoking is another health impairing habit. It is found that lung cancer and heart disease kill the largest number of smokers.
• Alcohol and drug abuse are very common health-impairing habits.
• The addiction to alcohol and narcotics damage the liver, respiratory system, intestine and can cause neurological and infectious diseases as secondary complication.
• Many of these drugs can also damage one’s ability to think logically and coherently.
• Most of the people who engage in such harmful habits have a tendency to underestimate the risk of damaging their health.
• The modern life-style has led to violation of many basic principles of health and paid little attention to what do we eat, where do we live and how do we think.
Question. Give an example of a life event which is likely to be stressful. Suggest reasons why it is likely to cause different degrees of stress to the person experiencing it.
Answer : • Loosing a long-term job is a life event which is likely to be a cause of stress to an individual.
• A person’s response to stress largely depends on how the events are appraised or interpreted.
• This was explained by Lazorus in his Cognitive theory of stress.
• According to this theory, stress depends on his primary or secondary appraisal. A new or changing event is positive, negative or neutral.
• A negative event, such as loosing a long-term job, can be appraisal for its harm, instead a challenge.
• If it is appraised as a threat, which may result in future damage, it will result in high levels of stress.
• If it appraised as a challenge, then the individual, who lost the job, will have more confident expectations of the ability to cope with the stressful event, overcome it.
• If appraised as a harm, assessment of the damage, which has already been caused by the event, will result in high stress.
• Through secondary appraisal, one’s coping abilities and resources are analysed as to whether they are sufficient in meeting the harm, threat or challenge.
Question. What are the stress management techniques?
Answer : Stress is a silent killer. It plays a significant role in physical illness and disease. Stress can be managed. Some of techniques of stress management are as follows:
• It is a skill that reduces symptoms of stress and decreases the incidence of illnesses such as high blood-pressure and heart diseases.
• Deep breathing is used along with muscle relaxation to calm the mind and relax the body.
• Relaxation starts from the lower part of the body and progresses towards facial muscles and ultimately relaxes whole body.
• It is a yogic exercise of withdrawing the mind from all external stimuli.
• Meditation consists of refocusing of attention that brings about an altered state of consciousness.
• It involves such a thorough concentration that the meditator becomes unaware of any outside stimulus.
• It is a procedure to monitor and reduce the physiological aspect of stress by providing feedback about current physiological activity.
• It is often accompanied by relaxation training. It involve three stages:
1. Developing an awareness of the particular physiological response. e.g., heart- rate, blood-pressure, etc.
2. Learning ways of controlling the physiological response in quiet condition.
3. Transferring that control into the conditions of everyday life.
• Creative visualization is the technique of using ones imagination to create what one wants in his/her life. It is creating clear image, idea or feeling of something an individual wishes to manifest.
• It is a subjective experience that uses imagery and imagination.
• Before visualizing, one must set oneself a realistic goal.
• It helps to build confidence and one must prevent the interference of unbidden thoughts.
• Deriving creative energy in which solving problem in daily life.
(a) For example Make some very positive, affirmative statements to yourself (allowed or silently) such as “Here I’m spending a wonderful weekend in the mountains. What a beautiful vacation!”
(b) You can end your visualization with the firm statements to yourself : “This, or something better now manifest for me in totally satisfying and harmonious ways, for the highest good of all concern.”
(c) Do this process only as long as you find it enjoyable and interesting.
Cognitive Behavioural Techniques:
• CBT is developed by Meichenbaum. It is also known as enoculation training.
• The technique aims to reduce stress by replacing negative and irrational thoughts with positive and rational ones. There are three main phases:
1. Assessment: Discussing the nature of the problem with empathy.
2. Stress reduction techniques: Relaxation training and self instruction
3. Application and follow through: The individual imagines using the stress reduction techniques learned in the second phase in difficult situations, and/or engages in role play of such situations with the therapist. Finally, the technique is used in real life situations.
• Exercise can provide an active outlet for the physiological arousal experienced in response to stress.
• Regular exercise improves the efficiency of the heart, enhances the function of the lungs, maintains good circulation, lowers blood-pressure and improves the body’s immune system.
• Exercises may be aerobic and may be stretching.
• Exercise reduces stress.
• At least four times of a week for thirty minutes at a time is effective.
Long Answer Type Questions
Question. What is positive psychology? How positive psychologists have identified virtues and strengths of human beings?
Answer : • Contemporary psychologists have shown increasing interest in understanding what makes life good and meaningful. This development is termed as positive psychology.
• Positive psychology systematically investigates the positive aspects that is the strengths and virtues of human beings.
• Positive psychologist seek “to find and nurture genius and talent”, and “to make normal life more fulfilling, not just to cure mental illness”.
• Martin Seligman has provided leadership to the movement of positive psychology.
• On the basis of researches on around two hundred texts from various spiritual books, they were able to identify a set off human virtues shared by various traditions. These are as further:
A. Wisdom and Knowledge:
1. Curiosity/Interest in the World: An openness to experience; flexibility about things that don’t fit your preconception.
2. Love of Learning: Taking pleasure in learning new thing; taking every opportunity to expend your knowledge and expertise.
3. Judgment/Critical Thinking/Open-Mindedness: Thinking things thoroughly and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being objective.
4. Ingenuity/Originality/Practical Intelligence: Finding new and practical ways of achieving results; creativity; ‘street wisdom’.
5. Social Intelligence/Personal Intelligence/Emotional Intelligence: Understanding your own and others’ motives and feelings; acting in socially effective ways.
6. Perspective: Able to adopt the ‘big picture’ so as to act wisely; good at problem- solving and giving advice.
1. Valour and Bravery: Willing to confront challenges and difficulty; prepared to adopt unpopular or dangerous positions.
2. Perseverance/Industry/Diligence: Finishing what you start; prepared to take on difficult projects; doing what you say you’ll do – and more.
3. Integrity/Genuineness/Honesty: Living in a genuine, authentic way; down to earth and without pretence.
Humanity and Love
1. Kindness and Generosity: Helping to higher people; putting others’ interests as highly as your own.
2. Loving and Allowing Oneself to be Loved: Valuing and engendering close and intimate relations with others.
1. Citizenship/Duty/Teamwork/Loyalty: Working hard for the success of the group; valuing group goals and purposes; respecting authority.
2. Fairness and Equity: Avoiding any personal bias; being guided by principles concerning equality; talking prejudice.
3. Leadership: Organizing activities well and seeing that they happen; maintaining good relationship in and between groups.
1. Self-Control: Checking your own impulses when appropriate; repairing negative feelings; managing yourself.
2. Prudence/Discretion/Caution: Being careful; no saying things you might regret; resisting short term.
3. Humility and Modesty: Not seeking the spotlight; letting your accomplishments speak for themselves; unpretentious.
1. Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence: Appreciating excellence in all domains; able to feel awe and wonder.
2. Gratitude: Not taking things for granted; expressing gratitude to other; appreciating life.
3. Hope/Optimism/Future-Mindedness: Maintaining a positive stance towards the future; expecting the best; leading a goal-directed life.
4. Spirituality/Sense of Purpose/Faith/Religiousness: Strong and coherent set of beliefs about larger purpose or meaning; acting in accordance with these beliefs.
5. Forgiveness and Mercy: Forgiving those who hurt or offend you; able to transform how you feel; generosity of spirit.
6. Playfulness and Humour: Laughing and creating laughter; seeing the light side of life.
7. Zest/Passion/Enthusiasm: Throwing yourself and soul into activities; inspiring others.
Question. Describe the GAS model and illustrate the relevance of this model with the help of an example.
Answer : Hans Selye’s GAS Model explains the influence of stress on the body.
• From his studies, he found that there was a similar pattern of bodily responses in animals to a variety of stressors.
• According to Hans Selye, stress refer to non-specific bodily reactions. He believed that stresses may be many but responses are only physiological reactions. Selye is known as ‘father of modern stress researches’. He did many experiments on animals in extreme climatic conditions as well as he observed chronic patients and concluded that reaction of stress is the same.
• On the basis of his experimental conclusions, he gave a pattern of stress reactions. He called this pattern the General Adaptation Syndrome and it involves three stages:
1. Alarm Reaction: The presence of a harmful stimulus or stressor leads to activation of the adrenal-pituitary-cortex system.
This triggers the release of hormones which produces the stress response and prepares the individual for fight or flight.
2. Resistance: If stress is prolonged, the parasympathetic nervous system calls for more cautious use of the body’s resources.
During this stage, an individual makes an effort to cope with the threat.
3. Exhaustion: Continued exposure to the same stressor or additional stressors drains the body of its resources and leads to burn out.
The physiological systems involved in the first two stages become ineffective and susceptibility to stress-related diseases like high blood-pressure increases.
This model is widely criticized because it focuses only on physiological aspects of stress and ignores the psychological dimension of stress.
Question. Explain the concept of stress. Give examples from daily life.
Answer : The pattern of responses an organism makes to stimulus event that disturbs the equilibrium and exceeds a person’s ability to cope. Origin in the Latin word ‘strictus’, meaning tight/narrow and ‘stringere’ (to tighten). Stress may get manifested in two forms :
(a) Eustress : The level of stress that is good for you and is one of a person’s best assets for achieving peak performance and managing minor crises. This is positive, healthy and inspiring.
(b) Distress: Manifestation of stress that causes our body’s wear and tear. It is negative, unhealthy and demotivating.
Stressors: Events that cause our body to give the stress response. Whatever causes stress is known as stressor.
Strain: Reaction to external stressors is known as strain.
Hans Selye (Father of modern stress research) defined stress as a non-specific response of the body to any demands.
Basic Features of Stress:
1. Different stressors may produce different patterns of stress reaction.
2. Stress is embedded in the ongoing process that involves individuals interacting with their social and cultural environment. Stress is a dynamic mental/cognitive state. It is a disruption in homeostasis/imbalance that gives rise to resolution of the imbalance/restoration of homeostasis.
Perception of stress is dependent on an individual’s cognitive appraisal of events and the resources available to deal with them.
Question. Explain Behavioural effects of stress.
Explain the effect of stress on psychological functioning.
Answer :Physiological Effects: When the human body is placed under physical or psychological stress, it increases the production of certain hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. It causes:
• Changes in heart-rate, blood-pressure levels, metabolism and physical activity.
• Slowing down of digestive system.
• Constriction of blood vessels.
Cognitive Effects: High levels of stress can lead to:
• Mental overload.
• Impairment in the ability to make sound decision.
• Poor concentration.
• Reduced short term memory.
Emotional Effects: Those who suffer from stress are more likely to experience:
• Mood swings.
• Erratic behaviour.
• Maladjustment with family and friends.
• Feeling of anxiety and depression.
• Increased physical and psychological tension.
Behavioural Effects: Stress affects our behaviour in the form of:
• Eating less nutritional food.
• Increasing intake of stimulants such as caffeine or excessive consumption of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.
• Disrupted sleep pattern.
• Reduced work performance.
Question. State the symptoms and sources of stress.
Answer : • Everyone has higher own pattern of stress response. So the warning signs may vary, as may their intensity.
• Some of us know our pattern of stress response and can understand the depth of the problem by the nature and severity of our own symptoms or changes in behaviour.
• These symptoms of stress can be physical, emotional and behavioural.
A wide range of events and conditions can generate stress; among the most important of these are major stressful life events such as death of a loved one or personal injury, the annoying frequent hassles of everyday life and traumatic events that affect our lives.
(i) Recent Life Events:
• Changes, both big and small, sudden and gradual affect our life from the moment we are born.
• We learn to cope with small, everyday changes but major life events can be stressful because they disturb our routine and cause trouble.
• If several of these life events that are planned (e.g., moving into a new house) or unpredicted (e.g., break-up of a long-term relationship) occur within a short period of time, we find it difficult to cope with them and will be more prone to the symptoms of stress.
(ii) Daily Hassles: There are daily hassles from which we have to cope like noisy surroundings, quarrelsome neighbours, electricity and water shortage, traffic jams, and so on.
The more stressed people report as a result of daily hassles, the poorer is the psychological well-being.
(iii) Traumatic Events:
• These include being involved in a variety of extreme events such as fire, train or road accident, robbery, earthquake, tsunami, etc.
• The effects of these events may occur after some lapse of time and sometimes persist as symptoms of anxiety, flashbacks, dreams and intrusive thoughts etc.
• Severe trauma can also strain relationships.
Question. “Stressors result in a variety of stress reaction.” Discuss.
Answer : 1. Stressors result in a variety of stress reactions, which may be physiological, behavioural, emotional and cognitive.
2. Physiological level arousal plays a key role in stress-related behaviours. The hypothalamus initiates action along two pathways. The first pathway involves the autonomic nervous system. The adrenal gland releases large amount of catecholamines (epinephrine and norepinephrine) into the blood stream. This leads to physiological changes seen in fight-or-flight response. The second pathway involves the pituitary gland, which secretes the corticosteroid (cortisol) which provides energy.
3. The emotional reactions to experience of stress include negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, embarrassment, anger, depression or eve denial.
4. The behavioural responses are virtually limitless, depending on the nature of the stressful event. Confrontative action against the stressor (fight) and withdrawal from the threatening event (flight) are two general categories of behavioural responses.
5. Cognitive responses include beliefs about the harm or threat an event poses and beliefs about its causes or controllability. These include responses such as inability to concentrate, and intrusive, repetitive or morbid thoughts.
Question. Enumerate the different ways of coping with stress.
Answer : Coping is a dynamic, situation-specific reaction to stress. It is a set of concrete responses to stressful situations that are intended to resolve the problem and reduces stress.
Endler and Parker gave following Coping Strategies:
1. Task-oriented Strategy:
• It is goal management through confrontation with the problem.
• This involves obtaining information about the stressful situation and making best use of resources available.
• It also involves prioritising and acting so as to deal directly with the stressful situation.
• Mostly it is used by optimists.
Task-oriented strategies are particularly effective when the resources in the environment are within the control of the individual.
It is cognitive response to stress.
2. Emotion-Hyper oriented Strategy:
• It is emotion management.
• This strategy involve efforts to maintain hope and to control one’s emotions. Individual works on his emotions rather than situations and goals.
• This mainly happens when the stressful event is such that it can not be manipulated in any way eg. loss of spouse or a family member.
• The individual deals with his emotions of anxiety, helplessness, hopelessness etc. and tries to gain hope and happiness again in his life.
• It can also involve venting feelings of anger and frustration or deciding that nothing can be done to change things.
• Emotion oriented strategies are particularly effective when the resources in the environment are beyond the controlled of the individual.
Avoidance–Hyper oriented strategy
• It is avoiding stressful event by indulging in different activities. Individual does not want to accept that he is facing such a stressful situation.
• This involves denying or minimising the seriousness of the situation.
• It also involves conscious suppression of stressful thoughts and their replacement by self protective thoughts.
• Watching T.V., attending parties or going to sleep are example of this type of coping.
• It is basically escapism by using defense mechanisms.
According to Lazarus and Folkman, coping responses can be divided into two types of responses:
• It includes taking direct action to solve the problem.
• It is seeking information that will be relevant to the solution for, e.g., developing a study schedule to cope up with the semester demands and thereby reduce examination pressure.
• It is basically confronting with the problem using all the available resources.
(b) Emotion-Focused: It refers to reduction of the negative emotional reaction to stress. e.g., by distracting oneself from the problem, relaxing or seeking comfort from others.
Question. Describe briefly four factors which facilitate development of positive health.
Discuss the factors that lead to positive health and well-being.
Answer : Factors facilitating positive health and well-being are:
1. Diet: Diet can affect health independently or may enhance or modify the effects of stress in combination with other factors:
(a) How much nutrition one needs depends on one’s activity level, genetic structure, climate and health history. In fact, there is no one diet, which is ideal for everyone, in all situations.
(b) Stress is supposed to affect diet and weight in many ways. People, who are under stress or in a negative moods are often seen eating more. They seek ‘comfort foods’ or foods that make them feel better.
(c) Stress may increase consumption of less healthy foods. Such people gain weight and loose stamina to fight stress.
(d) Obesity and weight gain is a problem for a section of the society. A much larger section of the society, which is below the poverty line, suffer from malnutrition.
(e) In the condition of poverty, women are the one who are most malnourished. Studies have shown that in India diets of female children and women are inadequate due to discriminatory practices.
• Exercise is directly related to promoting positive health.
• Two kinds of physical exercises essential for good health are ‘stretching exercises’ such as yogic asanas and ‘aerobic exercises’ such as jogging, swimming and cycling.
• Stretching exercises have a calming effect.
• Aerobic exercises increase the arousal level of the body.
• Yogic asanas provide systematic stretching to all the muscles and joints of the body and massages the glands and other body organs.
• Regular exercise reduces stress because it improves efficiency of vital body organs and improves immune system.
• Positive health and well-being come through a positive attitude of the mind.
• Positive health is the state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being. It is not merely the absence of disease.
• Positive health comprises high quality of personal relationships, a sense of purpose in life, self regard, mastery of life skills and resilience to stress, trauma and change.
3. Positive Attitude:
Positive health and well-being can be realized by:
• Perceiving the reality fairly accurately.
• Tolerating and understanding different points of view.
• Having a sense of purpose in life.
• Having a sense of responsibility, accepting blame for failures and taking credit for success.
• Being open to new ideas, activities, or ways of doing things.
• Having a good sense of humour, to be able to laugh at oneself and absurdities of life helps to see things in their proper perspective.
4. Positive Thinking:
• Positive thinking leads to a belief that adversity can be handled successfully whereas negative thinking and pessimism anticipate disaster.
• Optimism, which is the inclination to expect favourable life outcomes is directly linked to psychological and physical well-being.
• Optimists use more problem-focused coping and seek advice and help from others. This optimism function helps the individual to cope up stress effectively.
Question. Describe how life skills can help meet life’s challenges.
Answer : Life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enables individual to deal effectively with stressful situations.
Few such skills are as follows:
• It helps to communicate, clearly and confidently, our feelings, needs, wants and thoughts.
• It is ability of an individual to say ‘no’ to a request which is against his wishes.
• If one is assertive then he or she feels confident high self-esteem and maintains his/her identity.
(ii) Time Management:
• Learning time management determines quality of life.
• It is setting the priorities, goals and values in life.
Each day making list of things one wants to accomplish:
• Arranging work schedule.
• Changing perception of time.
• Setting aside time in schedule for exercise and leisure activities
• Learning to plan time.
(iii) Rational Thinking:
• It is challenging the distorted thinking and irrational beliefs.
• Deriving the anxiety provoking thoughts.
• Making positive statements.
• It is learning to ignore negative thoughts and images.
(iv) Improving Relationship: It consists following essential skills:
(a) Listening to what the other person is saying.
(b) Expressing what one feels and thinks.
(c) Accepting the other person’s opinions and feelings, even if they are different from your own.
(d) Avoiding jealously and sulking behaviour.
(v) Self-care: Healthy mind in healthy body.
• Learning right pattern of breathing i.e., relaxed, slow, stomach-centered breathing from diaphragm.
• Avoiding environmental stress like pollutions, because it affects our mood.
(vi) Overcoming Unhelpful Habits: Perfectionism, avoidance, procrastination and our strategies which provides short-term gain but makes the individual vulnerable to stress.
Perfectionists want to get everything just as they want which is not always possible.
Avoidance is ignoring the issue and refusal to face it or accept it.
Procrastination means putting off what we know we need to do, i.e., postponing the things like ‘I will do it later’ just to avoid confrontation due to the fear of failure.