Psychological and Physiological Effects, Models

“Stress, stressors and their effects on health”

In this assignment, the overview regarding the mental and physical impact of stress on the body is to be discussed. Thereafter, three key models of stress are to be evaluated and the stress management methods are to be examined.


The experience of stress can be positive such as experiencing job promotion, greater responsibility, and others as well as it can be negative such as challenging situation, lack of relaxation and others (Dong and Zheng 2020). Negative stress adversely impacts the body both psychologically and physiologically which leads to the hindered health of the patients. The psychological effects of stress include a feeling of restlessness, lack of motivation in executing work, anger or depression (Dong and Zheng 2020). The presence of chronic stress is considered to negatively affect the 5-HT receptors which are presynaptic and responsible for modulating serotonin release from the brain that is the hormone responsible for stabilising mood and mental well-being (Dong and Zheng 2020). Thus, the hindered serotonin release leads to bad mood as an effect of stress which eventually impacts the person by developing depression. The stress leads to lower the motivation of executing any action and involving themselves in social occasions because it makes people more aware of their situation and face discomfort avoidance in performing the task because of fear of failure and lack of energy as well as stable mood (Dong and Zheng2020).

Stress impacts physiologically by making people develop increased risk of developing heart disease. This is because increased stress creates a surge of hormones in the body to allow them to cope with the condition which eventually leads to increase blood pressure within the arteries and raises heartbeat. This leads to hindered blood flow to the heart and create changes of cardiac problems to be faced by the stressed individuals. The physiological stress effects the body causing respiratory issues to develop or worsening of existing respiratory problems such as asthma. This is because stress causes the release of stress response in the body which causes quick distribution of oxygen-rich blood to be body parts to cope with the condition and in turn, raising the respiratory functioning and breathing (Hagström et al. 2018).

The presence of stress creates physiological impacts on the body such as raising blood sugar and worsening diabetic condition in people. This is because stress causes cortisol hormone to be released as a result of flight-or-fight response which provides the body with increased glucose by influencing protein stores through gluconeogenesis in the liver. The existing presence of elevated cortisol caused by chronic stress creates a higher level of glucose in the body, in turn making the person develop increased blood sugar leading to diabetes (Seng et al. 2018). The physiological impact of stress includes weight gain or loss and experiencing gastrointestinal problems. This is because stress creates a likely-hood among people to develop an increase or decrease in appetite due to an imbalanced emotional state, leading to unexplained weight loss or gain which may cause gastrointestinal problems (Cordova et al. 2017).

One of the key models of stress is Diathesis–stress model which states that stress as a psychological disorder results from interaction occurring between the environmental stressors and inherent vulnerability in individuals (Colodro-Conde et al. 2018). The model mentions that each individual possesses some natural inherent vulnerability known as diathesis for experiencing or developing any disorder. The development of the disorder may be triggered by any stress in the environment but the extent to which the level of intensity develops needs to be present and depends on the inherent vulnerability of the individual to instigate the disorder (Cox et al. 2020). The strength of Diathesis–stress model is that it can be used in a psychological field to understand the way stress has gradually developed in any individual. Thus, it helps in developing psychopathology of the stress disorder (Colodro-Conde et al. 2018). However, the limitation of the model is that it is static and fails to identify the threshold for stress-related problems (Colodro-Conde et al. 2018).

The psychosomatic model of stress mentions that stress is developed as a result of connection between mind and body and they act as mutually dependent entities in causing the disorder (Gu et al. 2019). For example, individuals suffering from psoriasis on their body may react differently to the situation and based on their response, they will experience different level of stress (Rousset and Halioua, 2018). The strength of using the psychosomatic model of stress in explaining the condition is that it informs the way reflex in the brain is triggered by any hindered belief or stress (Gu et al. 2019). Thus, it informs the way behaviour and internal body reflexes are linked in supporting development of stress. However, the limitation of the model is that it does not explain the way environmental stressors are responsible in causing development of stress and are linked with the mind and body to raise the disorder among individuals (Gu et al. 2019).

In comparison, the Lazarus model of stress states that stress in certain relationships between the environment and the individual may manifest in taxing or increasing their resources and endangering their well-being. The relationship is developed through two essential phases that are coping and cognitive appraisal (Biggs et al. 2017). The cognitive appraisal categorises any encounter or situation in respect of the significance of well-being for the individual and their ability to cope in their cognitive behaviour and in order to reduce, master and tolerate their external or internal demands created by stressful transactions (Biggs et al. 2017). The strength of the model is that it helps in accounting for individual participant differences and allows determining a way to make change in individuals. However, the limitation of the model is that of lack empirical evidence in supporting explanation made regarding stress development (Biggs et al. 2017).

In managing stress, one of the key techniques used is making individuals perform physical exercise. This is because physical exercise helps in enhancing the mood of individuals by promoting release of endorphins that are hormones which interact with brain cells to reduce perception of pain or adversity (Accattato et al. 2017). In addition, the study by Masmouei et al. (2019) mentioned that during stress, the muscles of individuals become tensed. In this condition, the relaxing of muscles through physical activity helps the muscles loosen and makes the individual feel better and they gradually overcome stress (Masmouei et al. 2019). As argued by Lin et al, (2018), sleeping is considered a powerful stress reducer among individuals. This is because an enhanced sleeping routine assists in calming the body and restores psychological elements such as enhanced concentration, improved mood, strengthened judgement as well as decision-making. It makes the stressed individual dealing with an issue improve their problem-solving and develop the ability to cope with the condition responsible for causing them stress. Thus, sleep is effective in reducing stress as it helps in enhancing their physical energy and their mental capacity theerby improving their problem-solving ability in overcoming stress (Accattato et al. 2017).

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The inclusion of healthy diet in everyday life helps individuals in coping with stress. This is because healthy foods such as oatmeal helps in raising the serotonin level in the brain acts to create a calming impact on the mind of the individual making them feel relaxed and less anxious in regards to their stress related problem (Fuentes Artiles et al. 2019). The study by Trajkovska Petkoska and Trajkovska-Broach (2021) mentioned that a healthy diet leads to resolve and helps overcome stress by assisting with the lowering of cortisol and adrenaline levels in the body, Raised levels of these are responsible for raising stress. The healthy diet also helps in improving the immune system and lower blood pressure which helps in overcoming the physiological adverse impact of stress (Fuentes Artiles et al. 2019). As mentioned by Null and Pennesi (2017), deep breathing exercise helps in reducing stress because during deep breathing messages are sent to the brain to relax and calm down reducing the level of stress.

The combination of yoga and mindfulness exercise are effective ways of resolving stress. The mind is found to be constantly active while racing from one thought to another creating possible scenarios for future and dwelling in past raising levels of stress and tiring the mind. In this condition, yoga involves practising different physical poses with controlled breathing and meditation that results in creating a relaxation response within the body and helps overcome stressful conditions (Riley et al. 2017). Mindfulness exercise helps an individual create greater focus on their existing present problem and develop recognition of the the way to overcome the negative thoughts that cause their stress and anxiety (Riley et al. 2017). Thus, mindfulness leads individuals to identify ways to achieve control of their negative emotions and enhance their thoughts to overcome stress. This indicates mindfulness exercises are an effective management technique which can implemented in people suffering from stress.

The above discussion argues that the impact of stress causes mood to lower among individual and also increases the likely-hood of physiological problems including heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The management of stress can be successfully achieved through use of exercise, enhanced sleeping, meditation, healthy balanced diet and others.


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Colodro-Conde, L., Couvy-Duchesne, B., Zhu, G., Coventry, W. L., Byrne, E. M., Gordon, S. and Martin, N. G. 2018. A direct test of the diathesis–stress model for depression. Molecular psychiatry.23(7), 1590-1596.

Cordova, M. J., Riba, M. B., and Spiegel, D. 2017. Post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer. The Lancet Psychiatry, 4(4), 330-338.

Cox, R. C., Jessup, S. C., Luber, M. J., and Olatunji, B. O. 2020. Pre-pandemic disgust proneness predicts increased coronavirus anxiety and safety behaviors: Evidence for a diathesis-stress model. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 76, 102315.

Dong, M., and Zheng, J. 2020. Letter to the editor: Headline stress disorder caused by Netnews during the outbreak of COVID‐19. Health expectations: an international journal of public participation in health care and health policy, 23(2), 259.

Fuentes Artiles, R., Staub, K., Aldakak, L., Eppenberger, P., Rühli, F., and Bender, N. 2019. Mindful eating and common diet programs lower body weight similarly: Systematic review and meta‐analysis. Obesity reviews, 20(11),1619-1627.

Gu, B., Tan, Q., and Zhao, S. 2019. The association between occupational stress and psychosomatic wellbeing among Chinese nurses: A cross-sectional survey. Medicine, 98(22).78-90.

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Hsu, Y. W., and Chang, C. P. 2020. Stress of life events and anxiety as mediators of the association between insomnia and triglycerides in college students. Journal of American College Health, 1-7.

Lin, P. H., Lin, C. Y., Wang, P. Y., and Yang, S. Y. 2018. Association between sleeping duration and health-related behaviors in college student. Social Health and Behavior, 1(1), 31.;year=2018;volume=1;issue=1;spage=31;epage=36;aulast=Lin

Masmouei, B., Harorani, M., Ghafarzadegan, R., Davodabady, F., Zahedi, S., and Davodabady, Z. 2019. The effect of progressive muscle relaxation on cancer patients’ self-efficacy. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 34, 70-75.

Null, G., and Pennesi, L. 2017. Diet and lifestyle intervention on chronic moderate to severe depression and anxiety and other chronic conditions. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 29, 189-193.

Riley, K. E., Park, C. L., Wilson, A., Sabo, A. N., Antoni, M. H., Braun, T. D., ... and Cope, S. 2017. Improving physical and mental health in frontline mental health care providers: Yoga-based stress management versus cognitive behavioral stress management. Journal of workplace behavioral health, 32(1), 26-48.

Rousset, L., and Halioua, B. 2018. Stress and psoriasis. International journal of dermatology, 57(10), 1165-1172.

Seng, J. S., Li, Y., Yang, J. J., King, A. P., Low, L. M. K., Sperlich, M., ... and Liberzon, I. 2018. Gestational and postnatal cortisol profiles of women with posttraumatic stress disorder and the dissociative subtype. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing, 47(1), 12-22.

Trajkovska Petkoska, A., and Trajkovska-Broach, A. 2021. Mediterranean Diet—A Healthy Dietary Pattern and Lifestyle for Strong Immunity. In Analysis of Infectious Disease Problems (Covid-19) and Their Global Impact (pp. 279-305). Springer, Singapore.

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