Sunday, February 9, 2014
This week's reading, Chapter 13, focused primarily on how social situations can heavily influence our health and mindset as a result of the relationship between our stress levels and our perceived social environment. As a psychology major currently learning studying anxiety and social phobia, I find this chapter particularly interesting and very much relevant. The chapter brings about a very familiar example to college students, alluding early on in the reading to how elevated stress levels is directly correlated with weakening of the immune system. This reminds me of several instances in my college and even high school career when I caught a cold or virus immediately before finals week, or before going out on a date, etc. I even had to reschedule a final last year as a result of catching a virus for the first time in years, which also so happened to be the morning of a very important in-class essay. I can say fairly confidence, from first-hand experience, that stress really affects our health in regards to social situations, probably more than you think. Perceived high-level social threats correlate to an increase of cortisol, the hormone which serves to regulate our stress output. High-level social threats include traumatic familiar events, change of residence, quarrels with important people in one's life, and other like events and situations. I believe that preparation of some of these factors (i.e. change of residence and/or schools) and avoidance of other factors (i.e. quarreling and arguments) is essential in maintaining a balanced stress level, correlating to a stronger immune system, and while stress is never completely avoidable, I recommend keeping causes of stress at a minimum in our lifetimes.