Understanding stress This Emotional Life - PBS

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Stress and Anxiety / Video

Understanding stress

Dr. Bruce McEwen, Director, Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at Rockefeller University, answers the questions, What is stress? Does stress harm the brain? and, What can we do to protect ourselves from stress?

Love's intensity

  • John Leguizamo
  • Actor John Leguizamo talks about the intensity of youthful passion and how those feelings mature over time.

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Asperger's Syndrome

  • Jason
  • Jason, who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, talks about his struggle to overcome his problems with social interactions.

    Dr. Ami Klim explains the challenges people with Asperger's have with intuitive behavior.

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The Tap Code

  • Bob S.
  • Bob Shumaker, a former POW in Vietnam, describes how he and his fellow prisoners developed a social network that was crucial to their surviving three years in solitary confinement. They succeeded by creating a tap code that allowed them to communicate through their cell walls.

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Shopping for stress

  • Peter Whybrow, M.D.
  • Dr. Peter Whybrow, Director of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, comments on the effects of our consumer lifestyle. Saying that “(People) have been told somehow that if they gather material goods, they will feel better…in the process of gathering these goods they’ve stressed themselves to the point where they’re extraordinarily anxious, depressed.”

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Eat, Pray, Love...and Relax

  • Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Elizabeth Gilbert, the best-selling author of the book, Eat, Pray, Love, talks about why divorce produces such a high level of stress, how she discovered her own pathways to happiness, and why we must stand firm against the river of forces of stress in modern life.

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Positive and negative stress

  • Robert Sapolsky, Ph.D.
  • Neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky explains that stress in the form of stimulation is a positive force in our lives, but too much stress can have adverse affects on the brain. He explains how chronic stress affects our memory and decision making, saying that “Your memory goes down the tubes with chronic stress."

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