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Stress – You are not a Zebra but a Primate

January 26, 2011 Stress/Cortisol, Videos 4 Comments

Worry about our social place in the world, what has happened to us in the past and what might happen in the future is a major factor in our health. Understanding this factor is going to be a major element in your health.

Our great evolutionary gift is our mind. Our greatest problem is our mind. We use our mind to worry too  much. We think all the time about our place in the world – we worry about the future, we fuss about the past. All of this drives the stress response. If you are being chased by a Lion, you need this. But if you are worry about stuff all the time, you are being bathed in Cortisol that damages your immune system and your health.

This social stress is one of the most important aspects of our health. It is part of the Trinity of the fit we need to be our most happy and healthy.

  • Fit to our evolved diet – the Insulin Issue
  • Fit to a healthy social community where we have a valued part – the cortisol issue
  • Fit to the natural world – where we experience the fullness of nature – the Circadian issue

Robert Sapolsky is one of the most accessible researchers in this field and this short video is an excellent introduction to this aspect of your health.  If you want to go deeper, here is his key lecture that goes all the way. If you find the science a bit baffling at the beginning – go to the last 1/3 where he puts it all in context with the baboons. Brilliant.

So what to do with all this chatter in our minds? Can we reduce this?

This of course is at the heart of most meditative practice – To reduce the chatter. I have found Tolle’s book The Power of Now a great help.

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. Brian McMillan says:

    Bob,
    I can’t say how excited I am that you are covering this topic next.

    There is also an interesting connection here between what the Tibetian Buddhists call LUNG and the ability to meditate well. The Tibetan (and western) meditators are constantly working with this “inner wind” because it directly reflects the chatter in your mind. One of the many ways to control this “monkey mind” is through diet. One low in complex carbs, sugar, certain beans, and high in clarified butter, oily, and other “heavy foods”. Typically this is a high fat vegetarian diet.

    So you could say unsurprisingly, that you can also use your diet to support your mind! It may may also be the case that there are “traditional” cultures which hold the Paleolithic Diet equivalent for our mind.

  2. Brian McMillan says:

    So on watching the lecture, I’m struck by a number of things. What I was not prepared for was the connection between our ability to buffer neuron damage with ketone bodies as an energy source. From an evolutionary perspective, I guess this makes perfect sense. Those who can evolve long term capacity to endure systemic stress without suffering from the effects would be at an evolutionary advantage.

    So if this is the case, and we had efficient method of providing ketones to our brain, we could repair even significant damage and perhaps eliminate the damage done by minor stresses. But the point isn’t to become good at dealing with the struggles of life is it?

  3. [...] Here is Dr Robert Saplosky explaining this in summary and here he is explaining this in depth. [...]

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Comments

  • Caroline Cooper: Hi Rob, Nice to see you're writing again. I have been thi...
  • Patrick Meadows: People, can and have lived solely on meat. Eskimos go months...
  • ike: Maybe you veggies need to eat meat so your brains can develo...
  • robpatrob: Of course - but we are talking much more recently here about...
  • Rob: "I come from Northern European stock. My genes are the most ...
  • Gemma: Don't forget regular exercise! Prevention is better than cur...
  • Daniel: Nothing can live on just meat. Carnivores such as cats and s...
  • robert: Your retarded, so why is it most vegans need pills as vitami...
  • Dario McNut: It is true that erectile dysfunction can be associated with ...
  • robpatrob: Google Richard Wrangham - His book is on Amazon - much more ...
  • A Question: Thanks for this video! Half of the urban women who had a raw...
  • robpatrob: Great questions - thanks. Just as 300 years ago a few misfi...
  • Garfield: I really like the parallels too...I live like this also. Twe...
  • nj: Rob, check out the chart here for a broader perspective on a...
  • robpatrob: Not what was said...

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Do you want to age well? Most of us do. If you are my age, 60, this is more important a question that if you are 30. But most of us would not wish to have heart disease, cancer, dementia when we get old.

Most of us think it is normal that we will get ill like this.

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We are designed by our evolution to reach a plateau of fitness in mid life. So why do most of us not live like this?

We don't because, we have strayed away from the best way of living that fits our evolution best. Our culture has got too far ahead of our biology. We eat foods that make us ill. We have lost our social identity and power and that makes us ill. And we have lost touch with the circadian rhythms of the Natural World, and that has made us ill too.

We have lost our fit with our true nature.

This site will be a Manual. It will show you what the best fit is. It will show you the science behind this. It will share with you some methods for getting your fit back with your true human nature.

So welcome to the "Missing Human Manual" . I hope that we can help you and I hope that you can help others as a result.

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