The stress model of Lazarus is a psychological model that explains how individuals cope with stress. It is a widely used model in the field of psychology and has been influential in shaping our understanding of stress and its effects on the human body.
According to the stress model of Lazarus, stress is a normal and necessary part of life. It is a response to a perceived threat or challenge, and it is the body’s way of preparing itself to deal with that threat or challenge. In other words, stress is a natural response to a situation that we perceive as potentially harmful or dangerous.
When we are faced with a stressor, our bodies respond by releasing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones prepare our bodies for action, increasing our heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. They also cause the release of glucose into the bloodstream, providing our bodies with a burst of energy that can help us respond to the stressor.
Perception Makes Stress Good or Bad
The stress model of Lazarus also explains that the way we perceive a stressor is critical in determining how we respond to it. If we perceive the stressor as manageable and within our control, we are more likely to respond to it in a positive way. On the other hand, if we perceive the stressor as overwhelming and beyond our control, we are more likely to experience negative emotions and stress-related symptoms.
According to the stress model of Lazarus, there are three stages of coping with stress. In the first stage, we experience the initial response to the stressor, including the release of hormones and the activation of our “fight or flight” response. In the second stage, we engage in primary appraisal, where we evaluate the stressor and determine how we are going to respond to it. In the third stage, we engage in secondary appraisal, where we evaluate our coping abilities and resources and determine how we can best manage the stressor.
One of the key ideas in the stress model of Lazarus is that we have a choice in how we respond to stressors. We can either engage in problem-focused coping, where we focus on finding a solution to the stressor, or emotion-focused coping, where we focus on managing our emotional response to the stressor. Both types of coping can be effective in different situations, and the key is to find the right balance between the two.
Lazarus Stress Model Examples
According to this model, stress can cause illness when an individual perceives that they have little control over a stressful situation and that the situation is threatening to their well-being. Here are a few examples of how the Lazarus stress model might apply in real-world situations:
- A person who is laid off from their job may experience stress if they perceive that they have little control over their financial situation and that this situation threatens their ability to support themselves and their family.
- A student who is overwhelmed by a heavy course load may experience stress if they perceive that they have little control over their academic performance and that their grades are threatened.
- A person who is dealing with a chronic illness may experience stress if they perceive that they have little control over their health and that their condition threatens their ability to live a normal life.
In each of these examples, the individual experiences stress because they perceive that they have little control over a situation that threatens their well-being. This stress can then lead to illness if it is not managed effectively.
Overall, the stress model of Lazarus provides a useful framework for understanding how we cope with stress and the factors that influence our response to it. By recognizing the three stages of coping and the role of perception in determining our response to stressors, we can learn to better manage stress and improve our overall well-being.