Causes and consequences of stress. Interplay between cognitive social and biological aspects
AuthorNolen, Kristi Shannon
The purpose of this article is to explore the roles of cognitive, social and biological reasons for stress and to relate practical interventions to them. Understanding stress and how it can play out is pivotal in managing it. The physiological stress response works much in the same manner in individuals everywhere; first observing something that is potentially perceived as a threat to the self, and then processing this in the brain. Different parts of the system then react to the alarm and finally outwardly noticeable signs of physiological change occur, such as sweating and increased heart rates. Naturally the system responds to obvious biological threats without conscious choice. There are differences, however in the reasons for the stress response becoming active. One key appears to be in the internal interpretation of dangers in the environment. What stimuli are picked up as relevant for the system depend on prior learning and evaluations which are based on cues from emotions that ultimately guide the individual towards their goals. The process relies on using cognitive evaluations as well as understanding social contexts, and then attempting to find equilibrium in those states. This interplay has dimensions to it, which can have imbalances; if one of the three (cognitive, social or biologically based) aspects is out of balance, it is more likely that the individual will enter heightened experiences of stress. If the imbalanced state perseveres, the other two remaining categories will also be affected.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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