Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Don't Think Your Way to Stress

Clever illustration from Times article uses a combination of an Ugly Doll and vintage glass teddy bear eyes to document stressed-out humans.
Vicious Stress Loop

Brain Is a Co-Conspirator in a Vicious Stress Loop
Published: August 18, 2009 / NY TIMES
Chronic stress changes the brain, but relaxation can change it back.

A few notable highlights from article:

"In humans, though, the brain can think too much, extracting phantom threats from every staff meeting or high school dance, and over time the constant hyperactivation of the stress response can unbalance the entire feedback loop. Reactions that are desirable in limited, targeted quantities become hazardous in promiscuous excess. You need a spike in blood pressure if you’re going to run, to speedily deliver oxygen to your muscles. But chronically elevated blood pressure is a source of multiple medical miseries."

"Yet habits can become ruts, and as the novelist Ellen Glasgow observed, 'The only difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions.'"
A new source for information on human stress:
Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky

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