Why don’t Zebra’s get ulcers ?
Did you know Zebra’s don’t get ulcers?
Zebra’s don’t get ulcers because they let go of stress as soon as the crisis or threat is over.
They don’t waste time or energy worrying about past events.
Imagine if the zebra thought after a close shave with a lion –
Wow, I almost lost my leg!
The lion could have killed me!
What if I hadn’t hopped to the side?
What would have happened to my children?
I would have lost my spot in the pecking order of the herd.
Thankfully that didn’t happen.
But what if it happens again?
It could be a hippopotamus tomorrow!”
And so on.
It is easy to imagine that catastrophic line of thought a zebra could have if it had a human mind.
Thankfully zebras are completely different.
After a close encounter with a hungry lion, the zebra slots back into the herd as if nothing has happened.
According to Prof Robert M. Sapolsky who wrote the book: ‘Why Zebras don’t get ulcers’, the zebra’s stress response is short and sharp.
It is acute.
It is never chronic.
When in danger, the zebra reacts.
When the danger is passed, the zebra is calm.
When we stress, our body turns on the same fight and flight responses that an animal’s body does, but we don/t turn off the stress response in the same way, through fighting, fleeing, or other quick actions.
Over time, this chronic activation of the stress response can make us literally sick.
Most people don’t lie awake at night worrying about whether they have leprosy or malaria.
Instead, we lie awake thinking how we are going to pay the bills, or how we are going to have the energy to show up for our kids or the board meeting at work.
We carry the burden of unresolved traumas in our tissues.
Here are some of the biggest fight and flight triggers:
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