Years ago, I read “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” by Dr. Robert Sapolsky. If nothing else, the title of the book is intriguing but for nerds like me, the content was even more interesting. The book was about stress. It was about how humans deal with stress, how it affects our bodies and brains.
I remember one specific analogy he used about a see-saw. If your stress sits on one side of the see-saw, you need to have an equal amount recovery resources to counterbalance that stress. But what if you have an elephant’s worth of stress in your life. The obvious answer is that you need an elephant sized load of resources and stress management but what Sapolsky so eloquently told us was that just having an elephant sized stress load in your life will cause a problem. If an elephant walks into the playground, she’s going to step on the flowers and knock over the gates and cause trouble regardless of who is on the other side of the see-saw.
After reading “Zebras” and several other stress related books, it became quite clear that stress is the ultimate determinant of longevity and health. Stress, however, is a complex topic. Everything in the world can be considered stress. Your ability to handle it and produce an undulating wave of stress in your life will be directly proportional to your longevity and overall health. (Learn more about how the visual system plays an important role in stress processing)
Every once in a while, we hear someone interviewed on the news. A 100-year-old man telling us the secret to longevity. We want to know the tips and tricks of these age-defying wonders. What’s interesting is a lot of them will say something like “I’ve drank two glasses of whiskey a day for seventy-five years.”
“WHAT!?!?” you shout?
Everything we know to be true about whiskey shows how detrimental it actually can be to your health. How is this gentleman beating the odds?
It’s not the whiskey that is allowing him to eclipse the century mark. It’s his approach to life. It’s his ability to control and manage the stress in his life. (Start learning more about how to manage stress with my blog post on being deliberate and different)
At 4A Health, we have developed a strategy for understanding stress and managing it. The first step to chasing the elephant away is learning how that elephant grew so big in the first place. With this knowledge, you can begin to get to work in the gym. The genMAX Seminar is designed to show you the exactly what stress is and give you actionable steps towards building resiliency to the stress in your life. If you’re truly committed to understanding longevity and health, this is where your work begins.