Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping - Now Revised and Updated

Robert M. Sapolsky

Holt Paperbacks

From Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers:

Regardless of how poorly we are getting along with a family member or how incensed we are about losing a parking spot, we rarely settle that sort of thing with a fistfight. Likewise, it is a rare event when we have to stalk and personally wrestle down our dinner. Essentially, we humans live well enough and long enough, and are smart enough, to generate all sorts of stressful events purely in our heads. How many hippos worry about whether Social Security is going to last as long as they will, or even what they are going to say on a first date? Viewed from the perspective of the evolution of the human kingdom, psychological stress is a recent invention. If someone has just signed the order to hire a hated rival after months of plotting and maneuvering, her physiological responses might be shockingly similar to those of a savanna baboon who has just lunged and slashed the face of a competitor. And if someone spends months on end twisting his innards in anxiety, anger, and tension over some emotional problem, this might very well lead to illness.