By Robert M. Sapolsky
For a terrified zebra sprinting away from a lion, a stressor is an immediate physical emergency and the stress-response - changes that occur in the body at such times - is brilliantly adaptive for dealing with that sort of crisis. But to a surprising extent, we humans turn on the same sort of response when feeling stressed out about mortgages or relationships or our own mortality, and at those times the stress-response is anything but helpful.
When people burdened with stress start to feel bad physically, it is not just in their minds. Emotional crises bring on specific physical changes in the body. If those stress responses are prolonged or set in motion too often, the resulting wear and tear can lead to digestive and sleeping problems, cardiovascular diseases, sexual reproductive disorders, and other illnesses.
Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers is Robert Sapolsky's provocative, often amusing, look at the interconnections between emotion and physical well-being. Drawing on the latest research, Sapolsky describes the physical toll associated with emotional turmoil, and covers current controversies in the field, such as those over the role of stress in cancer and immune responses. He also discusses effective ways of learning to moderate the body's responses to stress. An award-winning investigator of effects of stress on health, Sapolsky clear and compelling scientific evidence to support his claims. His witty style, skillful integration of biology and psychology, and research-based recommendations for coping with stress make Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers a unique and indispensable book for people worried about worrying themselves sick.