Escape the World Trade Center on 9/11 or be a meanie --- which would you choose?

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Chapter 12 covers the body's response to disruptive stimuli, more familiarly known to us normal humans as stress, and the various effects and causes that go along with it. The first thing you need to know about stress is that it can have some very harmful effects on your health. There was a study done where the mere suggestion of poison ivy caused enough stress in participants to cause a serious skin reaction, for instance. Cardiac problems, lack of success at work, and even the pre-maturity of babies has been shown to be effected by a high maintained level of stress.


So what actually causes stress? Well, it can be just about anything when you get right down to brass tacks. Obviously in terms of stressful events combat or sexual assault are some of the most powerful one-time causes for stress. However, scientists found that most people are actually quite resilient to one-time events, becoming temporarily grief-stricken but then returning eventually returning to normal function. After 9/11, for instance, only 25% of the people who escaped from the tower that day developed "probable PTSD" and over half were completely "resilient" which is to say they had no symptoms to indicate the development of a stress disorder. Hostility, however, generally has a very large effect on patients' health. When researchers taught patients with coronary heart disease techniques to reduce their hostility levels, deaths from heart-attacks decreased by 37% in one study.

Of course, that statistic is a little misleading. 37% of normally hostile people don't necessarily die of stress-related heart-attacks, rather the percentage of people who died of heart-attacks decreased by 37% after being taught hostility-reduction techniques. We do know, however, that general hostility and the anxious, driven behaviors associated with it can have numerous negative effects on a person and manifest themselves in everything from immune suppression to susceptibility to emotional problems. The people who ran out of the World Trade Center that day had one very bad day and, for the most part, were otherwise fine. People with general hostility live with that every day of their lives. So I leave it up to you, would you rather be in the World Trade Center during the attacks on 9/11 and escape (assuming you don't know they're coming, that would be informational control, which is a type of coping) or live be a type-A hostile person?

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This page contains a single entry by spaet061 published on January 25, 2012 5:35 PM.

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