Discrimination – Blog7

Definition
Discrimination is also linked back to Classical Conditioning and has to do with how we react to certain situations.
We learned last blog that generalization is pairing similar things to the Conditioned Stimulus to the Conditioned Response. Discrimination means you only have a Conditioned Response to the Conditioned Stimulus and nothing that looks/is similar.

Application
Again, I will add to my last blog to give you an example of discrimination. I had mentioned that after my first dentist procedure I had become terrified of the dentist. Over time I had paired that fear with anything that reminded me of the dentist or did work on my mouth.
When I had gone to the orthodontist I had been nervous for weeks before my first appointment. Once I got there they did x-rays and I am sure my heart was beating the fastest it ever has. They did impressions and I wanted to be sick. They talked to my mother and I and I was sure they were going to tell me that I had to get four teeth pulled. After the appointment, I was in no pain and I could breathe.
After going to multiple ortho appointments I realized that just because someone is working on your teeth does not that it will always be painful. Now that I am aware of this I have a discrimination mindset towards the dentist. Whenever I hear the drill or see the freezing needle I get anxious, but that is it. I can chew bubble gum, watch a dentist on the TV, and even use fluoride.

Before and After
Now that I am aware that I have a discrimination mindset towards the dentist, I would like to keep it that way. Hopefully I get to the point where I am not scared of the dentist at all, but until that point I want keep it at just being anxious over two things.

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Generalization – Blog 6

Definition
Generalization is connected back to Classical Conditioning, and happens when we have the same Conditioned Response (CR) to similar objects that represent the Conditioned Stimulus (CS).

Application
I will add on to my last blog and the example I gave about the dentist to create an image of Generalization.
After that dentist I paired fear with the sound of dentist instruments. Over time I found that if I saw a dentist on TV I was reminded of the painful procedure. Before I went back to the dentist the next time I was completely terrified of anything that reminded me of the dentist. If I saw one on TV, if I smelled something that smelled like my dentist office, if I heard a drill of any sort. I paired all of those with the fear and uneasiness that I got from that first procedure.
A couple years later I had to go in and get examined for braces. I found myself unable to sleep for the week leading up to that appointment. I was terrified because I knew that they did something to teeth. I had generalized my fear of the dentist to anything that sounded, felt, tasted, looked, smelled, or worked on your teeth.

Before and After
Like I said in my last blog, I knew that I was afraid of the dentist, but I was not aware of why I was as afraid as I was. I did not think that bubble gum (which tastes like the flavour of fluoride I got) made me nauseous. Now that I know I can make myself more conscious of the setting and realize that the bubble gum I am chewing has nothing to do with the dentist.

Intro to Generalization and Discrimination – Blog 5

Definition
The next blog topics will be about Generalization and Discrimination, but before I get into those you will need an understanding of Classical Conditioning.

Classical conditioning is “a simple form of learning in which a neutral stimulus comes to evoke by another stimulus by being paired repeatedly with the other stimulus” (Rathus, Maheu, & Veenvliet, 2012). In other words, it is how you react to a certain situation because the two have been paired time and time again.

Here are the steps to Classical Conditioning:
1: The unconditioned stimulus (UCS) will draw out an unconditioned response (UCR).
Ex: A certain person (UCS) brings out happiness for Tom (UCR).
2. UCS becomes paired with the Conditioned Stimulus (CS).
Ex: Mary (UCS) wears a vanilla scented perfume (CS) every time she sees Tom.
3. The CS has been paired with the UCS and has created a Conditioned Response (CR).
Ex: Every time Tom smells vanilla scented perfume (CS) he becomes happy (CR) because he has paired it to how he feels when he sees Mary.
4. Neutral Stimulus is the CS, but before it had any meaning.
Ex: The vanilla scented perfume did not use to cause happiness until he met Mary and paired the two.

Application
As a child I was never afraid of going to the dentist, I actually really liked it because I loved the fresh and clean feeling after they were done. When I moved to Riverview we got a new dentist and a couple years after I had gotten my first cavity. When I went in to get my cavity filled, the freezing needle was a little scary, but I dealt with it and knew that after that I would not be able to feel anything.
The dentist came back five minutes after and started filling the cavity. It turns out I was not completely frozen yet and could feel everything that he was doing. I had mentioned that I could feel it and he asked me if I could bare through it because he was almost done. I ended up sitting through the whole procedure being able to feel everything and instantly became afraid of the dentist whenever I heard the sound of their instruments.

Before and After
Before psych I was aware of the fact that I was scared of the dentist, but I never really knew why. It was not until after Classical Conditioning that I could look back and pin point where the fear had all started. I can now also  tell what will set off the fear.

References

McLeod, S. (2014, April 19). Classical Conditioning | Simply Psychology. Retrieved November 23, 2015, from http://www.simplypsychology.org/classical-conditioning.html

Rathus, S., Maheu, S., & Veenvliet, S. (2009). Psych (2nd ed.). Toronto: Wadsworth

Exercise – Blog 4

Another thing that is a great stress reliever is exercise. A lot of people claim to not have time to go to the gym or go for a run, but I would highly recommend it. Exercise reduces stress by an amazing amount. “Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. About five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects” (Otto, 2011). If only five minutes starts reducing stress, just imagine what an hour would do.

Application
It was not until University that I decided to give the whole gym thing a try. When I went to university last year we were given a free membership. My roommate went to the gym almost every day to reduce her stress. There was one afternoon that I was feeling overwhelmed with my work load and she invited me along with her. I decided to give it a go because I did not see anything else helping me at that time.
When I got there, I did her work out with her and ended up really enjoying it. I was happier, calmer, and just happier in general. When I got back to my room I was much more positive about the situation and I was a lot more focused. I finished my work that day and had never felt better about myself and my work ethic.

Before and After
Before university I never really took the time to exercise because I was always a busy kid. It never was important to me because I could keep up to everyone in gym class, I have always been smaller, and I just never used to have the time to do so. Even before I did this project I was not aware of how great the results of exercising to reduce stress were. Now that I do, I make sure to go to the gym at least four times a week or whenever I feel stressed.

References

Otto, M. (2011, September 14). Exercise for Stress and Anxiety | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. Retrieved November 23, 2015, from http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety

Humour and Socialization – Blog 3

Now that you know to define how you cope, access the stressor, and avoid, alter, or adapt to the event, I’ll write about one of the best ways to turn any negative stressful situation into a good one. Everyone has experienced an event that has gotten a little overwhelming and they feel like they just cannot cope with it anymore. According to a lot of studies, laughter is the best medicine. “It stimulates the output of endorphins, which might enhance the functioning of the immune system. Another is that the benefits of humour may be explained in terms of the positive cognitive shifts they entail and the positive emotions that accompany them” (Rathus, Maheu, & Veenvliet, 2012). So not only does it improve your mood, it could also enhance your immune system and keep you from getting sick.

Humour and socialization with family or friends will increase your mood and decrease your stress. There have been many tests and studies done that prove socialization can help reduce stress. The science behind laughter reducing stress is, “[It] stimulates circulation and aids muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress” (Gendry, 2012).

Application
When I was a teenager, I could not keep my room clean. I was very busy and never really home. When I was home it was to drop stuff off, pick something up, change, or sleep. This resulted in a lot of dumping stuff on the floor, moving stuff from one pile to another, trying on different outfits and leaving the ones I did not want on the bed, and right before crawling into bed I would take the clothes off my bed and create a new pile for them on the floor. After a couple weeks, my mom would have enough and get me to clean my room and I would put it off for as long as I could. I did so because when I walked into my room to clean it,  I was automatically overwhelmed. Cleaning my room was stressful because I never knew where to start.
One day I decided to invite my friend over that lived across the street. She sat on my bed and talked to me while I tackled my room. We laughed and talked about the things happening in our lives and before I knew it, my room was cleaned. Ever since then I always invite a friend over when I clean my room because time passes so quickly and I never feel overwhelmed.

Before and After
Before learning about how socialization reduces stress, I never really spent time around my friends. I knew that when I was stressed I was grumpy or sad. I did not want to bug them if I was going to be like that. After I learned about it, I make sure that if I am feeling extremely overwhelmed I take some time to be with a friend. Now that I’m living with roommates and living so close to my best friend, I honestly feel less stressed.

References

Gendry, S. (2012, January 9). Why More Laughter = Less Stress = Better Health And More Energy – Laughter Online University. Retrieved November 23, 2015, from http://www.laughteronlineuniversity.com/laughter-less-stress-better-health-energy/

Rathus, S., Maheu, S., & Veenvliet, S. (2009). Psych (2nd ed.). Toronto: Wadsworth.

Assessing Stress – Blog 2

In the first blog I talked about determining how you deal with stress. Another way to deal with stress is accessing then avoid, alter, or adapt to the situation. A part of doing this is called Primary and Secondary Appraisal.

Definition
Primary Appraisal – Accessing a potential stressful situation and determining if it will be positive or negative.
Secondary Appraisal – Determining how you will cope with the situation.
This is where you determine if you can avoid, alter, or adapt to the stressor. Once you have done both of these steps you will have a full grasp on the situation and how to deal with it.

After following steps from the first and second blog, you will know how you react to stress, if the situation is harmful or not, and how you are going to cope with the situation.

Application
When I was going into grade three, my family had moved from Fredericton to Riverview, NB. If you are not familiar with the area, there is a two hour distance. My family had to completely start over and I was starting at a new school and knew no one. Understandably this was a stressful event, especially for a seven year old. I remember the night my mom had done her best job to help me deal with the stress using primary and secondary appraisal.
She sat me down and asked me how I was feeling. I knew that I was going to a new school, but I did not really understand that everything was going to be different. She explained to me that none of my old teachers would be there, I would have to get used to the new layout of the school, I would have to make new friends, and our schedule would be different. I think I asked her a hundred questions, but she patiently answered them all. I finally understood the situation I was going to face the next day (primary appraisal) and the panic began.
She asked me what I was scared about and she made sure she answered each one before we went on to the next one (secondary appraisal). The only question I really remember is, “who will walk me to my class?” She asked me who I wanted to take me so the other one could go with my brother. Me being a daddy’s girl, I chose my daddy.
The next morning we followed the plan we had made and the day could not have gone any better.

Before and After
Before talking about this in Psych, I was not aware that it was an actual thing; however, I have always done it. My mother is a very problem-focused person and has everything figured out before the situation happens. She has always tried to pass this onto my brother and I. I think that now I know it is a thing, I will be more conscious of it and make sure I take time to determine and avoid, alter, or adapt to the stress I face.

Coping with Stress – Blog 1

Definition
Stress is something humans feel quite often. It is “the physical and psychological response of the body to any demand that is made on an organism that requires it to adapt, cope, or adjust” (Rathus, Maheu, & Veenvliet, 2012). In other words it is the physical and mental strain from negative and/or demanding situations. Eustress is a healthy form of stress that is short-lived and helps with personal growth. Long-lived stress, also known as distress, is the type of stress people need to keep an eye on.  Over the next four blogs, I will discuss four separate things that will help you deal with stress before it becomes an illness.

Emotion Focused vs. Problem Focused
A good way to cope with your stress is determine how you cope with stress. The two coping strategies: Emotion-Focused and Problem-Focused.
Emotion-Focused is acting emotionally to a stressful situation. These people can react to negative situations in a positive way.
Ex: Someone being diagnosed with a terminal illness and choosing to get out and do things they have always wanted instead of staying home and being a grump about it.
Problem-Focused is acting active and strategic to a stressful situation. These people often find the source of stress, creating solutions to the problem, and eliminating the stress.
Ex: If someone had a handful of projects, they would create a schedule, ask  for an extension, complete one project each day, etc.

It is helpful to know how you will react to stressful events so you can plan around them. You will also learn strategies to help you in these events instead of hurt you more.

Application
I personally act to different types of stress differently. When it comes to work stress I definitely handle it in a problem-focused manner, but all other types (social, mental, or physical) I react with a emotion-focused manner. It is easier to sit down, organize, and complete homework rather than stressful social situations. For other situations I often have a melt down before I am able to fix a situation. I find when life becomes very overwhelming I am never motivated to confront issues with people. Melt downs end up helping me hit rock bottom and realize it can only go up from there. That is when I am motivated to do what I need to do.

Before and After
Before I learned about this in Psych I thought I was good at dealing with my stress. I am now aware that I am mostly a emotion-focused problem solver. As I continue growing as a person I want to challenge myself to become a problem-focused person to any stressful situation. If I cannot do that, I hope I someday reach a point where my emotions are positive and not something that cause more chaos in my life.

References

Rathus, S., Maheu, S., & Veenvliet, S. (2009). Psych (2nd ed.). Toronto: Wadsworth.