Tonight I caught most of a National Geographic documentary on PBS. It is called Stress: Portrait of a Killer. It brings together sociological, medical, genetic and other relevant studies and talks about what the evidence clearly shows: that whether you are a baboon or a human, stress – and particular the stress related to where you are in the social hierarchy – affects you and lowers your life span.
Jesus is supposed to have said “Can any of you add an hour to the length of your life by worrying?” (Luke 12:25). It seems that this insight doesn’t go far enough – by worrying, you can actually reduce your lifespan, and by significantly more than an hour.Someone has uploaded the documentary to YouTube and so here is the first segment (the rest can also be found on YouTube):
I strongly recommend watching it, since it shows how even things like weight gain, and not merely ulcers or high blood pressure, can be connected with stress. And of course, memory is affected, and it is important for students to be aware of this as the new academic year starts and they may be tempted to cram and pull all-nighters. And so that element of the documentary seems particularly timely. But the whole thing is important for everyone to watch, and so if you have never seen it, I strongly encourage you to watch it.