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Homeostasis and Adaptation to Stress Video

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  • 0:01 Meaning of Homeostasis
  • 1:20 Effects of Stress
  • 2:00 Example of Stress and…
  • 3:27 Another Example of Stress
  • 4:39 Solution-Focused…
  • 5:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Emily Lewis

Emily has been a nurse for over ten years and has specialized in Pediatrics. She has a Masters degree in nursing as a Nurse Educator from Grantham University.

Homeostasis can seem complicated, but really it's just a balancing act. This lesson will look at how stress can affect us and the important part it plays in maintaining homeostasis.

Meaning of Homeostasis

Yikes! Homeostasis? What does that mean? Because it sounds pretty complicated! Well, it's actually quite a simple concept once it's broken down. The not so simple part is how we maintain homeostasis. Now that's a process!

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has a few different definitions of homeostasis, but we are going to focus on the two that are straight from the medical dictionary. Let's start with the first one. Homeostasis is the maintenance of relatively stable internal physiological conditions (such as body temperature or the pH of blood) in higher animals under fluctuating environmental conditions. Hmm, okay. Kind of complicated.

The second definition of homeostasis is the process of maintaining a stable psychological state in the individual under varying psychological pressures or stable social conditions in a group under varying social, environmental, or political factors. This may be a little easier to understand, but it's still pretty complicated. Okay, the bottom line is, 'homeo' means 'same' and 'stasis' means stable.

So, in other words, our minds and bodies work best when they remain the same and stable. But how often does that really work? Probably not as often as we would like.

Effects of Stress

So, what can affect homeostasis in our mind and bodies? The answer is stress. Negative stress is something that can cause strain or tension, either physically or mentally, in our daily lives.

It's impossible to define specific negative stressors because everyone experiences things differently and responds differently to them. What causes a great deal of stress for one simply slides off another.

While one feels more emotional pressure, others might feel more of a physical strain and find themselves feeling ill during periods of chronic negative stress. Regardless of how it affects us, the overall process of homeostasis is disrupted, so we become unbalanced.

Example of Stress and Ways to Adapt

Let's take Lena, for example. Lena is a registered nurse in a busy emergency room. She deals with life and death situations regularly at work without missing a beat. She finds that if she doesn't take time out occasionally for herself by exercising and spending time with her family and friends, she is not quite as effective as she would like to be. But she thinks it's really nothing to worry about.

One day, however, she receives a phone call at work to find out that her father has had a stroke. Initially, Lena takes it in stride and tells herself 'everything will be fine.' After three months of physical therapy in a long-term care unit, Lena decides that her father will have to come and live with her and her family so she can help care for him on a daily basis.

She underestimated just how demanding this would be, and she begins to notice that she is not sleeping as well. One day at work, she unintentionally makes a critical mistake and gives a patient the wrong medication.

It becomes obvious that although Lena can manage a great deal of stress in her life, at this point, she's taken on too much. She decides she needs help to care for her father and hires an agency that provides home visits to take care of her father four times a week.

With this small amount of extra time, Lena makes self-care a priority and begins exercising regularly, adding in meditation and massages occasionally. After a short time, Lena begins to feel more like herself and finds that she responds to the stress in a more productive way. She begins to have a better relationship with her father and family and is regaining her confidence at work as well.

Another Example of Stress

Now, let's take a look at Laura. Laura is a personal trainer and a yoga instructor. She maintains a 100% organic diet and is very environmentally conscious. Her clients rely on her to help them maintain their own healthy lifestyle, so it is important that Laura set a good example for them in her own day-to-day life.

The reason Laura began practicing yoga was to help her clear her mind. She often found herself worrying about things in her life that she had no control over yet couldn't keep herself from being anxious about.

One day, a client told her that he could no longer afford her services and he would be leaving. Laura instantly began to worry that she had done something wrong and that the client was not satisfied with her and that is why he was leaving. She found herself reflecting on every interaction they had had in their time together and started questioning some of her tactics.

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