Thursday, October 9, 2008

Stress: just how unhealthy is it?

Really, really unhealthy.

A documentary recently aired on PBS that follows Stanford professor, Robert Sapolsky's, detailed study about the effects of stress -

The gist:

Animals living on a Kenyan National Reserve experience high levels of stress for a few moments when trying to escape being eaten and then returning to normal

Typical humans in western civilization experience equally high levels of stress for rather mundane, non-life threatening situation, and have a hard time letting those stress levels go back down to the original - non-stressed levels.

There's also a section where he talks about his own stress - and he's a pretty high-strung guy. In it he shares how, while it works for others, meditating for a few minutes a day would cause him even more stress. Of course it would, it's not easy from having a head that's been running around quite quickly shift into low gear. That would be like reliving one of my worst cinema double-feature experiences - watching
Run Lola Run followed by The Straight Story.

Yet, we still have to ask ourselves - is the damage being done by maintaining the faster pace worth the "productivity"?

(Thanks to Scott for the link that inspired this post)