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You were up late with a sick child. Then you overslept. Now you're creeping along in traffic [Muscles-TENSE] rehearsing today's pitch to a finicky but lucrative client. Traffic's come to a grinding halt. No one's moving [Blood pressure-UP] except the cops barreling down the highway shoulders. You're going to be late [Respiration rate-UP] to the most important meeting of the year The cell phone rings. It's your daughter. Her day care hasn't shown up [Blood lactate level-UP] and your husband is on a business trip. And it's barely 7:30 a.m. Welcome to your body's response to stress.

Man has lived under stress for time eternal, and as you will find out in this Body & Soul edition, evolution has, in some ways, prepared us well to handle it. But not entirely.


Dr. Herbert Benson, the founder of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, tells Gail Harris that our bodies invoke a stress response that was more suited to our Darwinian ancestors than to the pressures of our industrialized society.


He explains the components of this fight-or-flight response and how it effects our health.


You will also learn about Benson's discovery of the salutary effects of meditation on the body's response to stress, and how to elicit the relaxation response that can help you beat back one of the primary causes of heart disease.

 

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Body & Soul is currently airing Monday-Friday at 7:00pm and 8:30pm on PBS YOU.

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