Stress and Illness

Health psychology is the study of how emotions, reactions, and attitudes influence our health. Specifically, those who have a sense of hopelessness or reduced optimism are more susceptible to bad health. One example of this effect of hopelessness is stress and illness.

I don’t experience stress often (practically never), but when I am stressed, it definitely effects my health. My junior year of high school was one of the hardest years ever. Right before the semester ended before Christmas, I felt like the world was against me. I had one of the most rigorous academic schedules ever, basketball season was underway, and my friends were bringing all sorts of their personal problems to me. The Saturday before finals started I woke up with a serious case of bronchitis. The cold winter combined with my stress levels created an even more stressful situation for me: taking finals while sick. The bronchitis was so bad that I still have a small cough as result of being sick.

This is a perfect example of how stress affected my health. Another example of stress and illness that the book gave is of “carefree procrastinating students” who have low stress and illness early in the semester but higher stress and illness late in the semester. This example is an almost perfect example of my study habits. Every semester I tell myself that I am going to change the way I study and do homework, but I lack the motivation to actually change because I know that now my stress levels never get high, and that I’ll get the work done no matter what. So, I can always count on my cough being worse during midterms and finals week, and I can usually count on getting a cold too.

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  1. #1 by cdodart on June 7, 2012 - 1:07 AM

    I felt like I could definitely relate to your post! Every time I get extremely stressed out I almost always begin to develop a cold. I have also struggled with the study habits and being more on top of my homework. Its almost guaranteed that during finals week and midterms I won’t be getting much sleep, and the lack of that with the increase of stress normally leaves me feeling ill. I can totally see the relation of high stress and illness.

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