Monday, February 13, 2012


"A large body of evidence suggests that stress-related disease emerges, predominately, out of the fact that we so often activate a physiological system that has evolved for responding to acute physical emergencies, but we turn it on for months on end, worrying about mortgages,relationships, and promotions."(p.6) In the book Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, Robert M. Sapolsky makes a great comparison between animals and humans and how stress affects our bodies. Looking from a zebras perspective, the things which stress us out on a daily basis are ridiculous. Meanwhile they stress out over survival, we don't think of major disasters or death on a daily basis so we look into smaller irrelevant things to worry about. For example mortgages, relationships and promotions, not even one of those relates to our health or our survival chance yet they are among the top things which we stress over about. I have read once that the more you stress out about certain situation or even the less likely it is going to happen, and from experience I believe it to be true. For example asking a person on a date and stressing out all the different possibilities of them rejecting you or something going wrong, but in the end everything works out great, or messing up at work and stressing about getting fired meanwhile your boss might not even notice, or doesn't see it as a horrible situation.


  1. I also thought it was interesting that the majority of people spend their time stressing out over somewhat trivial matters at the cost of their health. To be honest, it made me feel a bit guilty for having such spoiled responses to everyday "stressors". After thinking about it, however, I can understand why we have evolved this way as a society. In times of stress, it can indeed feel like our well-being depends on our success in everyday matters like mortgages, relationships, and promotions. While a daunting mortgage payment may seem mundane in comparison to a lion attacking a zebra, it is a representation of our ability to secure a shelter for ourselves. The way I see it, it's not that we've begun to fixate on irrelevant things to worry about, its just that our lifestyles are so different, that our survival just depends on different variables. Even bacteria have been observed to undergo physiological changes in response to stress (sporulation, for example). It's all relative!

  2. It's strange to think that the things that matter to us the most, the things we stress over such as papers, exams, mortagages, etc., have the most detrimental effects on our health in the long run. These stressors reveal the pressure created as a result of the way we have socialized, and just how different one society norms differs from another's. The difference in stressors between human beings and animals is telling of how important human interaction is to our species. We thrive on feedback from others. We base our clothes choices, career choices, food choices, etc. on how we want to be perceived in the world and how we think we are being perceived. None of this actually matters to our health, but it is important to the survival of human beings as socially interactive animals.

  3. I completely agree with this post because we as humans do stress over the silliest things sometimes but honestly we just can't help it. Who wouldn't stress if they really liked or had feelings for someone and ten got blatantly rejected by them? I think it is safe to say that all of us have experienced something like this before in our lives at some point. Humans have a lot of different stressors than animals. While mating of course is important to them, they do not stress over it, rather it is just part of their everyday lives to have certain mating rituals and to get rejected but they do not have the evolved brains that we o to dwell on situations such as these. Additionally, other animals do not have stressors such as school, good grades, decent education, building up a resume and getting to the point of a steady career. This stressor I believe is the most important because without good education and good careers we would be like the Zebra falling prey to the lion, helpless and without a good life. To say the very least, we would be very stressed and have a hard time living. So, while all living things do have stress, each species I believe has different stressors and different important ones that contribute to good or bad survival.