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Introduction to Stress

Introduction to Stress

            People respond differently to life stressors. An activity or something that is considered to be a stressor by one person may fail to elicit the same response in another person. Stress presents with physical, emotional, or behavioral manifestations. Early identification of the stressors and avoiding them can help to manage stress. Exercise, relaxation techniques, and focus groups can be used to manage and prevent stress.

My Stress Quiz Results

I scored 92 percent on the stress IQ quiz. Out of the twelve questions, eleven were answered correctly. None of the answers surprised me. Stress creates tension in the head, neck, and the muscles of the shoulder, and this can cause migraines and headaches. It is scientifically proven that muscular tension can cause pain and inflammation in the body. Therefore, the answer to the question that I gave a contrary opinion is scientifically correct.

The Most Misunderstood Concept

Most people believe that stress is always bad for their health. Most people focus on the negative impacts of stress. Such effects include hypertension, heart failure, diabetes, depression, and the risk of obesity due to a comfort-food eating habit that accompanies stress. However, properly managed stress is not detrimental to the health of an individual.

Stress-induced anxiety can be useful in situations where new skills are being learned or when a crisis is encountered. This is because it can lead to the generation of new brain cells and improve brain activity (Rudland et al., 2020). Properly managed stress can lead to success by increasing the accomplishment of set goals and objectives. This is achieved by increasing the sense of awareness and focus on a particular activity (Rudland et al., 2020). A stressful condition should be viewed from a positive perspective and put in the effort to overcome it. Stress can lead to the production of catecholamines and prepare the body for the flight or fight response (McCarty, 2016). The response helps to evade danger and ensure the wellbeing of the individual.

Summary of the Video’s Message

Chronic stress can affect the size, structure, and function of the brain. Stress leads to the activation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the subsequent release of cortisol. Chronic stress increases the levels of cortisol. High cortisol levels reduce electrical signals in the hippocampus and weaken the HPA axis. Increased cortisol levels shrink the size of the brain by decreasing synaptic connections between neurons. It also hinders the generation of newer brain cells in the hippocampus. This can lead to anterograde and retrograde amnesia, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Stress effects can affect the brain’s DNA. Experiments have revealed the ability of rats to respond to stress is determined by the nurturing they receive early in life. Properly nurtured rats have a better response to stress. This is because their brains develop more cortisol receptors. Poorly-natured rats became more sensitive to stress. The study classified the observations as epigenetic changes.

The Influence of Cognitive Stress on the Body’s Response to Stress

Cognitive stress has the most impact on the body’s response to stress. The brain controls the functions of all body parts. Cognitive stress can lead to the shrinkage of the brain and cause both retrograde and anterograde amnesia (Lupien et al., 2018). It can also affect the ability to focus on a task and decrease productivity. Therefore, cognitive stress has the most impact on the body’s response to stress.

Impact of Short-Term Versus Long-Term Stress on the Brain

Short-term stress has various impacts on the brain. It can lead to disorganized thoughts, impaired judgment, a reduction in the ability to concentrate, and amnesia (van Oort et al., 2017). Long-term stress causes changes in the structure, size, and function of the brain. It causes brain atrophy to decrease synaptic connections between neurons (Joëls et al., 2018). This can compound depression, lead to amnesia, and increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

How Stress Can Be a Good Thing

Stress could be a good thing if managed effectively. It can lead to the generation of new brain cells and improve brain activity (Rudland et al., 2020). This is useful when a person is learning a new skill. It increases the sense of awareness and focuses on a particular activity. This enables the accomplishment of set goals and objectives. Therefore, proper management of stress can lead to beneficial results.


The impact of stress differs among individuals. Both short-term and long-term stress can have detrimental effects on the brain. However, stress could be a good thing if managed effectively. This is because it can improve brain activity, increase the sense of awareness, and enable the fulfillment of set goals.


Joëls, M., Karst, H., & Sarabdjitsingh, R. A. (2018). The Stressed Brain of Humans and Rodents. Acta Physiologica, 223(2), 1–10.

Lupien, S. J., Juster, R. P., Raymond, C., & Marin, M. F. (2018). The Effects of Chronic Stress on the Human Brain: From Neurotoxicity to Vulnerability, to Opportunity. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 49(May), 91–105.

McCarty, R. (2016). The Fight-or-Flight Response: A Cornerstone of Stress Research. In Stress: Concepts, Cognition, Emotion, and Behavior: Handbook of Stress. Elsevier Inc.

Rudland, J. R., Golding, C., & Wilkinson, T. J. (2020). The Stress Paradox: How Stress Can be Good for Learning. Medical Education, 54(1), 40–45.

van Oort, J., Tendolkar, I., Hermans, E. J., Mulders, P. C., Beckmann, C. F., Schene, A. H., Fernández, G., & van Eijndhoven, P. F. (2017). How the Brain Connects in Response to Acute Stress: A Review at the Human Brain Systems Level. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 83(November), 281–297.


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Introduction to Stress

Case Assignment
“Stress, like Einstein’s theory of relativity, is a scientific concept which has suffered from the mixed blessing of being too well known and too little understood.” (Dr Hans Selye)

In this assignment, you will be exploring your own knowledge of stress and how this compares with the current research on short- and long-term effects of stress on the brain.

Take the quiz at the following link:
Test Your Stress IQ. WebMD. Retrieved from

After completing the quiz, read about the most common myths about stress described by the APA at the following links:

Case Questions:

Introduction to Stress

Introduction to Stress

Answer the following questions to complete your Case assignment. Please see the assignment expectations below for additional details on completing your essay for Module 1.

  1. Describe your quiz results from the APA. How well did you do? Did any of the answers surprise you? Why?
  2. After viewing the most common myths associated with stress from the APA website, discuss which concept you believe is the most misunderstood. Give support for your reasons (using your own research and sources for support).
  3. Watch the following video on “How Stress Affects Your Brain.” Learn how chronic stress can affect brain size, structure, and function, right down to the level of your genes.
  4. How is the brain affected differently by short-term stress versus long-term stress? Provide examples for both types of stress.
  5. There’s been a lot of research into how chronic stress changes the brain. Do you think stress could be a good thing if managed effectively? Why (in what potential situations?)

Assignment Expectations

  • Organize this essay assignment using subtitles that summarize the topic from each question above. For example, to answer Question 1, use a descriptive subtitle like the following: My Stress Quiz Results.
  • Answer each question under the subtitle using complete sentences that relate back to the question. Be sure to use APA formatting throughout your essay, with 1-inch margins, 12-pt font, and double spacing throughout. Include a title page, introduction, answers to the questions with subtitles, and concluding paragraph. Remember to include in-text citations within the body of the essay referencing your resources (i.e., Murray, 2014). Also, be sure to include a reference section at the end of your assignment listing all required readings and any additional resources you used to complete your essay. See the Trident guide to APA Style, 7th edition.
  • Direct quotes should be limited and must be designated by quotation marks. Paraphrased ideas must give credit to the original author, for example (Murray, 2014). Direct copying from “homework help” websites will not receive credit. Once you have completed your assignment within a word document, please upload your final version to the Module 1 Case Assignment dropbox. Please also note your Turnitin originality score and make revisions as needed (this may take some time to gene

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