Stress It’s all around us, but what does it do to us? Consider this… the macaque monkeys: when you put them in a cage they establish a dominance hierarchy, a sort of caste system. The dominant monkeys will slightly harass the less dominant monkeys.
Macaques with less power and control are in a state of chronic stress. The evidence is in their stress hormone levels.They have higher levels of cortisol circulating in their blood. It’s the same chemical that is released in human beings in response to stress. And when it is sustained at high levels it starts having negative effects on cellular function and tissues.
When scientist looked into the hearts of the macaques they can see the damage of chronic stress. What they found was massive plaques in the subordinate monkeys and almost none in the monkeys who had control. Fifty percent blockage in the subordinates, even though they were eating the same diet! What is amazing to me is ALL the monkeys were caged, a stressfull situation for anyone. The difference was a PERCEPTION of control or hoplessness.
Scientist, Sheldon Cohen from Carnegie Mellon University, wanted to know if this applies to humans.Then Cohen wanted to test the effect of stress on our bodies. His focus: our immune system. “Basically we brought healthy people in and we exposed them to a virus. We actually do this by putting a drop in their nostrils that has a cold virus in it. Cohen’s finding? Those with less chronic stress caught fewer colds than those with more stress. While a cold virus may seem minor, it could signal more serious health problems.” The cold study is a paradigm we can use that allows us to see how effectively the immune system is operating, which has implications for not only colds and other infectious diseases, but autoimmune diseases and some kinds of cancers.
Folks, this is serious scientific proof that the mind, the spirit, and the nervous system affects what happens to your life. Take care of it.
P.S If you’re not affected by stress and you want to harass the other monkeys, send them to our stress workshop, so they’ll at least know how to deal with you.