Understanding stress


Why zebras don't get ulcers.

I watched a documentary on stress by biologist/professor and author of Why Zebras don’t get Ulcers, Robert Sapolsky. He provides some fascinating information on stress based primarily on his longitudinal research in Africa with a single baboon troop. Here are some of the findings that stuck with me:

Stress levels changed based on the order in the social hierarchy. This was true for baboons and for people in the workplace. The higher in the hierarchy, the lower the stress. Stress was measured physiologically, not psychologically.
Stress reactions caused neurons to dramatically decrease in size.

All animals, including humans, release stress hormones in response to stress, which aids in the stress response when a threatening situation arises. Humans also have stress responses that are work or money related, etc., so that the stress response inevitably becomes chronic causing a host of ailments and disorders such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and ulcers.
Social isolation is a huge cause of stress. Contact, care, nurturing and compassion all significantly reduce stress.

There are so many things we can do to mitigate stress including exercise and meditation.

You can rent Sapolsky’s documentary on Netflix.

By David B Younger, PhD, CGP, PC

- See more at: http://www.dbyounger.com/blog/?paged=2#sthash.l37j1m03.dpuf

This article was originally published at David B. Younger . Reprinted with permission from the author.