So I've been a high stress person for most of my life. At 25 I felt like I was 65. It was horrible.
I've been learning to live a bit better, but somehow I wasn't paying attention (due to stress) and this title came through my queue on Netflix:
National Geographic: Stress, Portrait of a Killer
A great excerpt that immediately brought this forum from about two or three years ago to mind, and of course various other situations in life:
So maybe, connecting with and helping others can helps us to mend ourselves and help us to live longer healthier lives.
20 years ago Robert got a shocking preview of this idea.
The first troop he had ever studied, the first baboons he felt closest to, suffered a calamity.
It would have a profound effect on his research.
“The … troop is the one I started with 30 years ago. And they were your basic old baboon troop at the time, which means males were aggressive, and society was highly stratified and females took a lot of grief and your basic off the rack baboon troop.
And then almost 20 years ago, something horrific, and scientifically very interesting happened to that troop."
The … troop went to foraging for food in the dump of a popular tourist lodge [in Kenya].
It was a fatal move. The trash contained meat tainted with tuberculosis.
The result was that nearly half the males in the group died.
“Not unreasonably I got depressed as hell and pretty damned angry about what happened. You know, when you’re 30 years old you can afford to expend a lot of emotional energy on a baboon troop, and there was a lot of emotion there.”
For Robert, a decade of research appeared to have been lost. But then he made a curious observation about who had died and who had survived.
“It wasn’t random who died. In that troop, if you were aggressive and if you were not particularly socially connected, socially affiliative, and you didn’t spend your time grooming and hanging out, if you were that kind of male, you died.”
Every alpha male was gone. The … troop had been transformed.
“And, what you were left with was twice as many females as males, and the males that remained, and, just to use scientific jargon, they were good guys. They were not aggressive jerks, they were nice to the females, they were very socially affiliative and it completely transformed the atmosphere of the troop.
When the male baboons reach adolescence they typically leave their home troop and roam, and eventually finding a new troop.
“And new when adolescent males joined the troop they come in as jerky as male adolescents elsewhere on this planet, and it would take them about 6 months to learn, ‘we’re not like that in this troop, we don’t do stuff like that, we’re not that aggressive, we spend more time grooming each other here, males are calmer with each other, you do not dump on a female if you’re in a bad mood’, and it takes these guys about six months and they assimilate the style and then you have baboon culture, and this troop has guys with very high levels of assimilation and very low levels of aggression and they are doing this 20 years later."
Baboons can do it...